Friday, 22 March 2013

Final BA Project week 6

Week after a week I'm getting closer to my goal and facing more and more challenges along the way. There are so many things to keep in mind when making your own picture book. It's not a quick process, indeed, but at least it's enjoyable.

I'm halfway through with my BA project and for now I have established a basic storyline and made a small dummy book. The text will be integrated in my illustrations and will be an important part of design. The spreads you see below are quite experimental and although I want them to be playful, I'll have to work on the overall feel of my book. Even a total chaos should have some harmony in it.


I think it's a perfect time to step back from this project and take a short break. Next week I'll be visiting Bologna Children's Book Fair together with my sister. I'm really excited because we've never been there before and this year the fair is celebrating its 50th anniversary. We'll get a closer look at the publishing industry and the vast variety of children's books from all over the world.

No post next week, but expect lots of photos once I come back. See you in April!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Final BA Project week 5

Yesterday I had a critique of my project. Looks like I've been stuck for a while with the design of my book. As much as I enjoy drawing random characters, it's about time to focus on the hardest part of book making - putting it all together.

I was advised to use a sketchbook format for my book. This would make sense as it's such an important part of the creative process! I was focused too much on a clean and simple presentation of my characters so it started to look dull and repetitive. Hey, where's your playfulness?

I'm still working on my storyboard, which is taking way too long. My creative process is more intuitive and spontaneous than thought-out. Not very time-efficient, but as long as I enjoy the process, that's all that matters. About ten weeks left to finish this project!

Next week we'll have a midterm review, so it would be good to have a rough dummy book printed out by then. Lots to work on this week, but at least, now I do know what I want, although it took me more than a month to figure it out. I need to make the process of creating as FUN as I can. That's the key to a successful picture book. Of course, you have to believe in your project as well. Even if it takes a lot of failures since that's part of the process too...

A great designer and illustrator Rilla Alexander gave an inspiring talk about her creative process, which I found very relevant to my BA project. She explains how "Her Idea" came to life and how strongly it was influenced by her own creative struggles. At the end of the talk, you can hear her reading this wonderful book, which could be appreciated both by children and adults. So down-to-earth and sincere, please enjoy!


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Snow, Sun and Trees

Here are some photos I took last week in the park. The days were sunny, except for a couple of snowstorms during the first days of March. It even got warm at some point, but not for too long, it's Lithuania after all.

This park is so peaceful, just like a forest. We're happy to have such a nice and quite place within a walking distance from our home. I really enjoy looking up at those tall trees against the clear sky or the beautiful light coming out through dark trees. Found some funny snowmen too.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Final BA Project week 4

It's already a month since I started working on my final project at Vilnius Academy of Arts. Still a long way to go until my book is finished, but it's working pretty well so far. Looking back at my very first sketches, I know that I'm moving in the right direction. Just stay positive until the end!

Last week I came back to painting my characters again. The technique I'm using is rather spontaneous and unpredictable so I always end up with a one-of-a-kind character. I really enjoy this process as I never know what I'll end up with. Instead of thinking what to create, ink painting allows me to follow the brushstrokes and my intuition. I love playing with colours too.

I realized that these characters are actually illustrations of various feelings while the text mirrors the author's thoughts. I was quite surprised that everything is much more simple and clear than I first imagined. My initial concept was about the author looking for the main character for his book. I'll stick to it in my storytelling, but now I know the main theme of my book too. It's the fight between thoughts (author) and feelings (rejected characters). Who will win this big fight?
It turns out that my story will be about the creative process. Just like in A Book about, where twins were struggling to create a book together. The creative journey itself is very important and inspiring to me. It's definitely not easy, but how can somebody be dedicated and not enjoy it? Learn from your mistakes and have fun!

I tried to create my first spreads mixing these characters with some hand-written words. After receiving some valuable critique, I understood that it's better to keep the text more subtle to contrast with my expressive illustrations. I'll try to work on that next time and constantly look for the right balance between word and picture.

I also don't have all of my text written down, so this is gonna be the main goal for this week. Gotta have something decent to work with instead of messing around with some random words. Time to get more professional, it's my final BA project after all!

The author of this book is getting annoyed and mad...

... those feelings are really hard to control sometimes, aren't they?
So what will happen next? Wait and see, it's gonna be one long journey...

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Panorama of Vilnius Old Town

This week was unusually sunny in Vilnius. The last days of February felt almost like spring. However, when March finally arrived with the bright sun in the morning, a harsh snowstorm during the midday ruined any feeling of spring coming to Lithuania. What a contrast in just one day! Luckily, today was very sunny and beautiful, perfect for a walk in a nearby park. I'll post some photos I took in it later on.

For now, enjoy these photos of Vilnius Old Town, which I captured on Monday, after a weekly critique of my BA project at Vilnius Academy of Arts. My sister and I decided to climb the hill of Gediminas castle to enjoy the sunny panorama of our snowy capital.

A very small Gediminas castle (now a museum)

Neris river separates the Old Town from the rest of this large city


Vilnius Academy of Arts in the middle, besides St. Anne's church

Small river passes by our academy and flows into Neris

Friday, 1 March 2013

Vilnius Book Fair 2013

Here's my review of the annual book fair in Vilnius, which I visited last week together with my sister. We didn't stay too long at the fair, but looked through various stands and exhibitions. Below I'll mention publishers and artists whose books were exhibited at the fair.

There were lots of interesting picture books on display including those by Le immagini della fantasia and Corraini from Italy and Les Trois Ourses from France. Minedition featured the playful books of the Czech illustrator Květa Pacovská, subtly illustrated books by Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zverger and a collection of small interactive books by Yusuke Yonezu, most of which you can flip through on their website. Among the guests of the fair was the Italian children's book illustrator Eva Montanari who had a workshop with kids on Friday; however, we didn't get to meet her.

We chose to go on Saturday because of the lectures about Polish comics. As a form of storytelling, comics excite me just as much as picture books or animation and I haven't stopped reading them since I was a kid. During these lectures I discovered that comics are very popular in Poland. They collaborate with comics artists from different countries in the international project called City Stories. I got a free copy of their latest book with Ukrainian comics artists for asking a question. They also hold the International Festival of Comics and Game every year. The largest comics festival in Europe is in Angoulême, France.

Another guest at the fair was the French illustrator Alexandre Clérisse presenting his latest comic book, which was translated into Lithuanian. We had a meeting with this artist at our academy, where he talked about the history of comics, creation of his comic books and did a demo of his digital collage-like illustrating technique. His recently published comic book Souvenirs de l’empire de l’Atome is a collaboration, but Clerisse's got some interesting ones written and illustrated by himself. Jazz Club, for example, was created for a website as a comic improvisation without a script. Very interesting, indeed.

Here's what caught my attention during the Vilnius Book Fair this year:

 Book projects by Graphics students of Vilnius Academy of Arts

Exhibition of new books for children

The longest book created by kids at a workshop in 2012
 Outstanding books by Katsumi Komagata


Books illustrated by Lisbeth Zverger

"Nieko Rimto" - Lithuanian publisher of children's books

Lithuanian author and illustrator Kęstutis Kasparavičius signing books
(six of his stories were made into an interactive e-book)

Italian book character Geronimo Stilton
Presentation of a Lithuanian book for children

Origami corner

Kitokia Grafika - Lithuanian publisher of comics

EU flags exhibition - collaboration by seven Lithuanian artists