We began this task with a workshop, to bring in NACCC to help us understand what they need - their goals and vision - as well as their expertise on the psychological needs of children. It gave us the launching pad to base our research on, going away after the workshop to conduct our own style research, reflecting on the children’s picture books already out there. The challenge with this task is that NACCC wanted books that would appeal to all ages of children. We needed to find examples of books that manage to do this, rather than a select age group, and use these as inspiration.
We realised that in order to appeal to all young people, we were going to have different styles to appeal to different age groups, because of budget we agreed upon two different styles. A style for under 7s, and one for teenagers. We needed to do this in a subtle way that didn’t look too different from one another. It was also important that there were alternative stories, one where the children’s mum had left, and one where the Dad had left - to best reflect the individual child's situation at the time.
With all this in mind, we drew up rough storyboards, style directions and initial sketches which we thought worked well based on previous research.
After presenting the concepts to NACCC and also a group of children that represented their audience, a style direction was chosen and it was decided the characters would be animals, as this creates a slight emotional distance for the reader whilst reading something which will be very personal and possibly painful for them in the moment.
These characters, as well as, background props were then refined and fleshed out more so that we have a library of building blocks to help construct scenes with.
After drawing all the important elements, we now needed to drop the illustrations into the page layout. It was important that the text and illustrations worked well together in harmony, and that the page layout encouraged readers to keep reading. The added challenge was that NACCC required the book to be in both English and Welsh, so we needed to ensure there was enough room on the pages to accommodate both languages and their varying word lengths.
Each of the four books was then proofed and sent to NACCC for one last round of feedback before sign-off, giving them the opportunity to bring up any small amends that needed to be made.
He / him. Chris is a co-founder of Rusty Monkey. Chris would like to think of himself as a branding philosopher but in reality it means that he can sit in his hammock and come up with great ideas around business and branding problems. He’s also a BBC-trained camera operator and has worked on many large scale TV events. A technophile. Loves the outdoors and will often head into the countryside with his wife, daughter and camera drone. Really interested in ethical thinking and business.
She / her; red / blue. Mel is a writer, editor and designer. Equally happy hiking a muddy trail as playing tabletop roleplay games by candlelight. Will seize any opportunity for a party, as long as said party features copious food, prosecco and hits from the 1980s. Her true passion lies in words. A student of literature, she is fascinated by enduring myths, etymology and science fiction. Kurt Vonnegut is her hero. “We are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
She / her. Iulia is Rusty Monkey’s animation, illustration and 3D expert. Responsible for making everything beautiful, she also dabbles in graphic design and UX design. Among her credits is an animated music video for local parody heavy metal band Evil Scarecrow. A talented artist, she showcases her work on her Instagram channel. She usually spends most of her time in some random corner of the house with a drawing tablet and a pen, scribbling away. Cat obsessed. Professional house plant killer. Autumn lover. Maker of things.
He / him; yellow. Creative jack-of-all-trades, Matt is "dangerously knowledgeable" in almost every facet of marketing. His favourite field is branding, and he loves developing inspiring, daring brand identities for organisations who are ready to do something different. But he's equally talented at front end web development and developing digital strategies. He's also the front man and guitarist in local parody heavy metal outfit Evil Scarecrow, plus a huge fan of music, eating in nice restaurants, and going on holiday.
Workshop to understand the psychological needs of children
Style and children's book research
Style development and character initial sketches
Rough script and storyboard drafted
Character and background prop illustrations finalised
Illustrations and text layout for each page finalised
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