The fabulous website for the summer reading program

bcsrc_website_screen.jpg

The BC Library Association recently launched the website for this year’s summer reading program. I had nothing to do with the design or development of this site (all kudos go to Shayne Letain), but it does feature all of my artwork.

What is particularly exciting is how interactive the site is—check it out to click and see some wonderful animation of my characters, vehicles, and settings!

What’s your favorite location?

 

Introducing the crew of the summer reading club 2016

sensa book a trip blk

I spent the fall working on the visual designs for the characters that will populate this summer’s reading club that will be featured in libraries across British Columbia.

During that process, I naturally created stories and identities for each character. As an author, I’m used to writing those stories down, but in this case I needed to specifically concentrate on bringing the characters’ personalities alive with the pictures.

The theme for this year’s program is “Book a Trip” and the idea is that the characters embark on adventure via the wonder of a ship called The Portal Passport—it’s the book featured in the illustration at the top of this page. It has the power to chug through the air, submerge to the bottom of the seas, and rocket into space!

Well, this past week, my contact at the library, Cynthia Ford, asked if I would provide the specific biographies for each character. So I sat down to revisit my three critters for the first time in months, and am now pleased to present you with their official written backstories.

Flying Squirrel - sketchy color - pink clothes


Amelia Squirrelheart, a
 flying squirrel

As pilot of the portal passport, Amelia doesn’t mind getting her paws dirty.

She loves adventure, whether its soaring to the top of the highest peak or diving to the bottom of the deepest ocean.

Amelia has the heart of an explorer—she’s happy as long as she has her ship, her trusty sidekicks, and the wind in her whiskers.

travelbug_sketchy
Caboodle Cogsworth, a travel bug

Often called “Cogs” by his friends, Caboodle is the navigator aboard the portal passport.

He is a rare species of insect known as the travel bug, which means he’s restless and can never stay in one place for long.

Unlike Amelia, he prefers to have a plan and is an expert in cartography, astronomy, and instrumentation.

He has many compasses, telescopes, and chronometers—some of them built-in—to help him keep the crew on course.

polarbear_sketchy
Fixxer, a polar bear

This friendly polar bear is the crew’s bookwright—or, as you might think of him, an engineer.

He’s responsible for keeping the portal passport running at tip-top shape, so is always tinkering away with his gadgets and gizmos to coax more adventure from the ship.

In truth, Fixxer isn’t quite as daring as his friends, so he’s always glad when they have a moment to pause, rest, and enjoy a frothy mug of ice-cold chocolate milk.

By the way, the BC Library Association is hard at work on the official website for this year’s provincial reading program. I’ve been fortunate to have a sneak peak at the wonderful animation being prepared by the web designer, Shayne Letain—and I can’t wait to show it!

Soon. Very soon . . .

 

Proof perfect: the material for the summer reading club

I got a glimpse at the proofs for all the marketing material for the BC summer reading club today. I was grateful (read: relieved) that everything looked so good. Since I digitally painted all of the artwork, this was actually my first time to see the colour artwork on good old-fashioned paper.

All the material turned out really well. The colors are popping on the poster and I really love how the reading record turned out. It has all these little “icons” on it and I was concerned that they might lose all their detail when shrunk down . . . but they turned out as well.

bcsrc_proofs01

bcsrc_proofs02

There’s even a fun postcard activity in which the kids draw a vehicle around the critters and then, on the other side, can write a message. The postcard is designed to Canada Post specs, so kids will actually be able to send it.

bcsrc_postcard_frontsideSRC_activity_postcard2.indd

There is still a T-shirt and medallion to come! I can’t wait to see them.

Book a trip! All the material is ready for the summer reading club!

I spent the fall working on all the illustrations for the BC Library’s 2016 Summer Reading Club and now I’m thrilled to see that  designer Roger Handling has finished all his work. He took all the artwork I produced, many of it just bits and pieces, and has assembled an array of amazing material.

You can check out the official website here and peruse all the fantastic material, but I thought I would post some of the final designs here.

Logo:

sensa book a trip blk

Poster:

SRC2016_poster

Stickers:

SCR2016_stickers

Reading Record:
(The printed version is huge—30 inches long, and accordion folded.
This is what the kids use to record their reading throughout the summer.)

SRC2016_ReadingRec-1

Bookmarks:

SRC2016_bookmarks

Building a passport to adventure

Last fall I worked on a project to illustrate all of the marketing material for the summer reading club at British Columbian libraries. Now, as a follow up to that project, I’m excited to be going to visit local libraries to conduct follow up workshops with some of the summer club kids.

I decided that I’d really like to help kids build their own “portal passports.” This summer’s theme is “Book a Trip” and as part of my designs, I created a steampunk-style book that can transform into different vehicles, as is shown in my poster illustration:

passport_transforming

This week, I started working on a prototype book that I can show to the workshop participants. It started with a simple notebook from the dollar store and then adding “greebles” to ornament it. I bought a lot of gears, beads, and clock handles from the craft store, but most of the other stuff is just “junk”, items I either cannibalized from old household appliances, or collected from the grab bins at Urban Source, a local art and craft store that specializes in recycled items. The stuff at Urban Source is perfect for the types of building projects I like to do.

steampunkbook-parts

I had to pre-paint a few items, including the notebook itself. Then it was just a matter of gluing and attaching. Mostly, I used tacks and hot glue. The big copper button is on a spring, so actually can be pressed, and the clock handle spins. The only thing I didn’t invest time in was the lightbulb—it doesn’t light up. Though, this probably could have been managed with a small LED light.

steampunkbook-sidesteampunkbook-frontsteampunkbook-frontanglesteampunkbook-side2

I love how the final project turned out, but I think this is going to be far too complicated for my kids in my short summer workshops. So, for now, I’m back to the building station to make a second prototype—one that is far less ambitious!

 

Poster illustration for the BC Summer Reading Club

I’m nearing completion of my project for the BC library system’s 2016 summer reading club. I’ve completed most of the individual illustrations and have now cobbled them together to complete one overall composition for the poster.

bcsrc-poster_illustration_2016

The graphic designer will be choosing the font and adding in the text and other required elements. I layered the composition in Photoshop so that individual elements can be nudged here and there to help accommodate the text.

I can’t wait to see the final, printed version!

I’m still fine-tuning some of the individual illustrations. I had a request to show the portal passport vehicle transform into a balloon, so here’s my current rendition:

balloon_multicoloredpages

 

Critters abroad

Here’s another series of illustrations that are a part of the project I’m doing for the BC Library’s 2016 summer reading club.

I’ve shown our crew of critters travelling through different environments in their “portal passport” (which you can check out here). Those drawings are obviously focused on the vehicle. This next set is focused on the critter crew.

Since the theme of the project is “Book a Trip”, the aim is to show the characters in a series of settings that will convey the scope of their adventures without showing specific landmarks (like the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Giza, or the Great Wall of China). So I chose a variety of zones and plugged the characters into them.

I think my favorite is the travel bug in space!

tropicalisland_travelbugspace_travelbugflyingsquirrel_mountaindesert_polarbear

A portal passport to adventure!

I thought I would post more illustrations from my project for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club.

The theme is “Book a Trip” and the library team and I came up with the concept of a “portal passport” that can transform into various vehicles that will carry our crew of critters on adventures around the world—and beyond it.

In an earlier post, I showed some of the rough pencil sketches of some of the vehicles I’ve been working on. Here are some “final” versions, inked and painted, including one image that shows the portal passport in its various stages of transformation. (I say “final” because, of course, nothing is final until it goes to print! I’m sure there will be lots of composition and colour tweaking to come.)

passport_transformingwalker_clrsubmarine_clr_lightbackgroundrocker_swerving_horizontal_clr

All of these pieces will be included in the overall poster design and some of the other marketing material for the library’s campaign. Slowly but surely, everything’s coming together . . .

 

Poster design for the Summer Reading Club

I’m hard at work on the illustrations for the BC library system’s 2016 summer reading club. In previous posts, I chronicled the development and design of the characters that are going to populate the different material: the poster, the reading record, and so forth. The theme is “travel.”

Those characters have been approved, so now I’m working on the design of the poster. (The other material will come next; the poster is the most important piece.)

Here are some of my initial concepts:

src2016_poster01

src2016_poster02

As you can see, I was toying with the idea of a vertical design and a steampunk frame. I liked the idea of the book transforming into a plane, and that seems to be the part everyone on the library team has been agreeing on.

They asked me to make the frame even more steampunk, but to try and avoid gears since gears played very heavily in their concept from last year. So it’s been quite a challenge to make something looked steampunk without the quintessential symbol of that genre. But I think I’ve got it now, as can be seen in this cobbled together version of the poster:

src2016_poster03

No gears! I decided to make the poster horizontal, to stretch out process of transformation from the portal passport into the plane. The library team asked for one additional stage of transformation between the book and the plane; initially, I wasn’t sure if that could be fit in, but I think it does work quite nicely.

In the corner of the poster, I’ve added some insets of different vehicles that the portal passport might transform into. I had originally sketched some images of our crew—the flying squirrel, travel bug, and polar bear—in different locales, but the library team wants to avoid any perceived stereotypes. So do I, I suppose. Though I did like my polar bear wearing his traditional peaked Asian hat. (For me this wasn’t meant to perpetuate a stereotype, but a homage to my own travels in Asia. I wear those hats all the time when I’m in Asia; they’re really good at keeping out the heat.)

In any case, we’re going to try and represent travel through these different vehicles being in different landscapes. Hence the submarine in water, the rocket in space, and the walker in the jungle:

src2016_submarinesketch

src2016_rocketsketch

src2016_walkersketch

Now I’m hard at work inking and colourizing the individual components. It’s all coming together, slowly but surely. Which is good—I have less than three weeks to complete!

Designing characters for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club ~ Round 5

I’ve been posting some of the artwork that I’ve been doing for the BC Summer Reading Club these past few weeks, but it’s now my work on the project is officially official.

So far, I’ve mostly been designing the look and feel of the characters that we are going to use for the material. Here’s the final versions of them—as you can see, we decided to go with a more “sketchy” look for the style of artwork:

Our pilot, the flying squirrel:

Flying Squirrel - sketchy color - pink clothes

Our navigator, the travel bug:

travelbug_sketchy

Our engineer: the polar bear:

polarbear_sketchy

I’ve also been working on the designs for the “portal passport”. My first attempt was a bit flat . . .

Portal Passport 01

So the team at the BC Library asked me to “up” the gadget factor, which I did:

portalpassport02

It’s by means of this book that the characters will take their travels. (The theme of the 2016 reading club is “Book a trip”.) I’m not sure if we’re going to use them, but I’ve sketched some (mis)adventures that the crew has in various locations around the world.

piranhaproblems-amazon

noodlenosh-shanghai

mummymishap-cairo

portraitpose-Paris

sharks-australia