Age range changed to 7 – 9 year olds.
Story Plan: Free Tilly
Story Plan: Free Tilly
Free Tilly – an educational picture book for children aged 3-6.
Free Tilly is a picture book that looks at an orca in captivity, it documents his life of confinement. From the beginning of his life he has been in captivity and this book acts as a biography as well as explaining the effects of animal captivity to a young child’s mind.
The main aim of the book is too educate young children on the animal’s natural life and how captivity effects an animal physically and mentally. Giving a child an opportunity to learn about wild animals through a different approach rather than taking a visit to a zoo or aquarium.
After studies showing that children do not necessarily learn from the zoo experience, this book will provide them with a platform that is cheaper, easy to access and most importantly feeding them the correct information.
Recent research on zoo studies (psychologyandsociety, 2010) has shown “Children are often excluded from studies taken about zoo impact when they are said to be the main reason for zoo’s”. This is reiterating how the captivity of animals is in fact not benefiting the younger mind nor is that the main purpose. Studies are only showing the learning aspect of an animal enclosure from an adults point of view which is defeating the main objective for preserving zoo’s.
Developing a child’s critical thinking at a young age is very important and a huge aspect of their maturity, teaching a child what is right and what is wrong plays a large part in developing their minds.
Studies show that children are constantly absorbing what is happening around them, simple every day tasks affect a child more than they would affect an adult.
For instance, Bright Horizon’s Family Solutions (n.d) has written and demonstrated “A seven-year-old speculates: Several of my friends are teasing a kid in our class about his clothes. Do I join in, not participate, or tell them how I really feel about what they are doing?” As adults we would know what the correct thing to do was but as a child, it is these types of situations that help them to develop into their future self. Proving that what a person learns as a minor reflects on future life.
This picture book also challenges the norm of campaigning for animal welfare, most campaigns use photography or film to voice the message they want to portray. Where as the concept of this book is unique, as well as challenging a different demographic.
Animal welfare campaigns are usual aimed at only adults, for example the concept behind David Kukla’s ‘Captive Landscapes’ is too complicated for a young mind to understand. A child would just see his photography as what is it: an image of an enclosure. To a child the image will not be seen as the thought provoking image David is trying to achieve. They would not understand that these images created by Kukla are trying to cause opinions within the viewer, to make them question the whether animal captivity is right.
Nina Cosford is a freelance illustrator from Hastings, she covers a range of areas in illustration.
I first discovered Nina when reading an article about her latest work, ‘Girls Illustrated’.
I admire Nina’s work ascetic, this reason being why I contacted her asking for some advice.
Here are the main points of the email, she reply was really helpful.
1. Self Promotion and Image
Whenever possible, update your website, blog, social media etc to show you are busy. Even if you feel
at a stand-still or if work is sparse, there are a number of ways to make yourself look busy, productive and
prolific, even if that’s not entirely the case. Bear in mind that people will start to have an idea of what you
are like by what you are projecting online. It’s good to try to be positive, pleasant and inquisitive as this will
create a positive and energetic self image. I have learned that you don’t have to be 100% confident in
yourself to give off the impression that you are.
Similar to my point above, confidence builds gradually and it’s only by taking risks and trying things out
that you will gain any. Each project you complete, each job you finish, each piece of good feedback you
get, all goes back into your practice. I personally feel it’s good to maintain a clear style that a) you enjoy
and feel expresses your own unique voice and b) other people can come to recognise as you. Again, this
does come about gradually with job after job but you have to start somewhere. Consider the identity you
project when it comes to your final major project / portfolio etc because this is one of the first glimpses
people in the industry get of you. I struggled with my degree show in choosing what represented me and
my way of illustrating. I decided to do something really simple and showcase all my drawings I liked best,
all together as a set. I love drawing buildings so made a montage of all the ones I’d drawn. This was seen
by art directors and publishers and because of it I was commissioned to do my first book, which entailed
drawing lots of buildings. Kind of obvious but it showed my work in context and was applicable to real life
jobs. With your projects, consider; would someone commission me to make this? Who is my audience,
what is the demographic I am trying to appeal to? How do I set out my projects and structure my time?
You should always take your work seriously and professionally – if you don’t then who will? Whether it’s a
self-initiated project, a sample, a collaboration or a commission, it’s still you and it’s still your work. Taking
your work seriously and professionally is one of the biggest contributors to self-confidence in my opinion.
If you value your work, others will too!
3. Costs of Living
All of this is well and good but you still need to pay the bills and make a living! The best thing I can advise,
is to not pressure yourself too much into living where you think you just should. For a few years I was
telling myself I’ve got to move to London, to the city, because that’s where the work is. In some instances
that can be true but for freelancers, we can often be remote. There’s quite a lot of freedom, so you should
live where you feel happy, within your means and still in touch enough with the things you want to be
in touch with. I’m only a 90 minute train journey from London and still keep in touch with a bunch of London
friends and peers from uni so I still feel connected. One thing to remember though, is that only you are
responsible for your lifestyle and it’s up to you to maintain contact and still get yourself out there. As for
everyone, there are always ups and downs to being self-employed and of course, creative! Like I said before
though, it’s up to you which image of yourself you project. It doesn’t matter where you live, it comes down
to your energy and your image of self-confidence because that is what people pick up on.
4. Professional Practice
Ideally, you want to have a good studio environment to work in. Many people use a spare part of their home
but it can be great to have a workspace which is separate from your living space. I worked in a box room at
the end of my bed for about 2 years before finding a studio to rent which I could afford. It made such a huge
difference moving my studio out of the home – I felt ten times more professional and felt like I was actually a
full-time working illustrator. For ages, I didn’t actually realise I was making a living purely out of my illustration
work, I felt like it was temporary or something I was just having a go at. It wasn’t until I started renting a
studio that I saw how achievable it was, especially if you share with people. Always try your best to network
locally and keep your ear to the ground to see what other creatives around you are up to. It’s great to
cross-over wherever possible and can make a really supportive and inspiring work environment.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quickness of the reply from Tiger Print, that along with the company taking the time to tell me they like my work although they don’t have any placements at the moment gave me a little confidence boost. They also told me to keep in contact and try again in the future which I definitely will be doing!
My first real life illustration brief! I thought it was about time I got stuck in contacting clients and companies on whether or not my work is good enough for the working world.
I decided to contact Dazed and Confused magazine to see if they were in need of any illustration for upcoming events, as I know in the past they have used illustration from press purposes.
I managed to get a reply from a lady called Alisha who said she was willing to consider my illustrations for an upcoming event they were running for the new channel 4 program Music Nation.
I sent over some of my illustrations and she gave me some idea of the artwork they usually use on e-vites for events, this way I had an idea of what demographic to aim at.
I am currently working on some rough ideas and sketches and so far so well.
After having a maniac week of stress and procrastination I realised it was about time I got myself into gear and started contacting some successful illustrators. Of course I had to try and get in contact with my favourite artists, getting advice from them about the illustration world would be the best inspirational push for me at the moment.
One of the first illustrators I contacted was Sally Spratt, I find that I have similarities with her work and therefor could really benefit from her advice. Aswell as being one of her fans, I have been following her artwork on instagram for over a year now.
I tried to keep the emails short and sweet yet getting in as much information as I could without sounding annoying! I understand that they are all established and busy working illustrators and I did not want to come across as if I was too eager and taking up too much of their time.
I also contacted Liz Clement, Charmaine Olivia and Nina Cosford, I wanted to make sure I contacted illustrators who’s work I admire of course but also make sure that they were unique in style and work ascetic to eachother, that way I will get the most variation out of their replies.