Today I have been working a new selection of sketches around my design ideas for the Big Bad Wolf, which shall be my second spread pages. Below are the
Before I go any further into the project, I believe that it is important right now to think about the intended target audience and client of my self made project, before I miss the opportunity to discuss the point of my designs or fall flat on my face when the ideas I have do not support themselves for a real life audience to see.
From the start of the project, my main target audience with these illustrations is people who enjoy the tales of mythology. For people, like myself, who love the mystical tales of dragons, monsters and spirits which were (and still are) believed to wonder our world so many years ago. However, I also want to push forward and tell people about the creatures of not just our cultures, but other ones as well, as I want to also teach my fellow mythology fans about stories taking place across the globe, as I find many of those stories to be just as, if not even more interesting than the legends that we made over in England. Notable cultures I wish to possibly include are European, Japanese, Mexican, Norse, Aztecan and Egyptian mythologies. There are so many different mythologies around the world that possibly including such a diverse amount of stories my attract fans of foreign folktales as well as local ones, allowing them to learn about our own as we learn from theirs.
The second half of my ideas are aimed towards animal fans, which should be pretty plentiful due to the amount of pet owners sound the world. While it would be interesting just to write about mythology in general, I feel that having a more focused audience by using animals as the main topic will attract more attention towards the actual mythology, as well as serve to simplify the overall size of the book so that people who are not normally interested/knowledgeable in the stories of mythology can easily get into it and understand.
The main idea I have in terms of a client would likely be somewhere similar to the client we would of had during the Conspiracy Theory project in which we worked for a museum holding a conspiracy themed exhibition which are our books were made to promote. In this case, my designs would be given to either a museum who has an exhibition or event based around mythology and folklore, or an educational company/group who wish to produce a book for children/young adults to expose them to new and interesting folklore, myths and legends across the globe.
With my research on Kitsune ideas still underway, I believe that I should start getting straight into researching my second animal within mythology: wolves. Like foxes, wolves are another one of my favourite animals, and thus I feel a bit more of a personal connection to them compared to other ideas. Plus, wolves are a massively popular animal within dozens of folktales and mythologies, many of which are still widely known and still read today.
Wolves have always been well known for their predator/hunter status across every culture they existed within, which often led to them being fairly hated out of fear of people and their farm animals losing their lives. One of the most famous stories featuring said depictions of the wolf was the classical European story of “Little Red Riding Hood”, the story of a little girl in a red hood and her dangerous encounter with the “Big Bad Wolf”.
The story itself originated somewhere with the 10th century, either within Europe and Italy. The story itself has had over a dozen variations of the original with elements and characters added or changed with each new edition. The most famous version of the story were written by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. The typical storyline however goes as follows:
Litte Red Riding Hood (or just Red Riding Hood) is asked by her mother to bring a basket of treats (bread/cake/wine) to her ill grandmother. During her journey she is secretly stalked by the Big Bad Wolf, who wants to eat both her and the basket of treats. After approaching Red Riding Hood she naively tells him that she is visiting her grandmother and thus he tricks her into picking some flowers while he visits her instead. After either swallowing the grandmother whole or locking in a cupboard (depending on the story) he disguises himself as her and waits for Red Riding Hood to arrive. After finally reaching the house, Red Riding Hood begins to note her “grandmother’s” very large features before noting her very large mouth, at which point the wolf reveals himself.
Depending of the variation of the story you are reading, there are 3 operate ending which could take place. In Charles Perrault’s version of the story the wolf eats Red Riding Hood and falls asleep before the story ends. In the French and Brothers Grimm versions of stories however, Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are saved by a nearby woodcutter/hunter, who slices open the wolf’s stomach and free the two (or he simply steps in before the wolf eats Red Riding Hood and frees the grandmother from the belly/cupboard).
Being possibly one of the most iconic storybook fables of european history, it feels almost right to use a piece of folklore like this for my final piece. I honestly originally forgot that the story of Little Red Riding Hood was even folklore, as I grown up so used to the idea that it was just a storybook fairy tale read to children. It was only until I talked to someone about the project that I was reminded about how many modern stories were originated/inspired by classical folktales used to entertain/educate/frighten young children from doing misdeeds.
Not only will the story of Little Red Riding Hood be a fitting edition to my current illustration ideas, but it will possibly be (one of) the most recognisable of them all, as practically everyone knows the story within this county and the visuals of a large menacing wolf and red hooded girl will immediately be understood by anyone who has ever been read the story as a child (or any other point in their life).
While looking for some inspiration for design ideas for the fox designs for my project, I suddenly remembered one of my biggest inspirations for design style that I came across prior to even starting the course. Sarah Graybill (aka Tea Fox Illustrations) is an online artist from america who I am a personal fan of (having bought several of her pieces myself).
Her style (as the name implies) is based around the use of tea stained paper, pencils, ink and other interesting medias with most of her works being related to the mythical kitsune (as well as some other oriental creatures (some exciting, some original)). She also creates depictions of already existing characters from games and shows in her unique style.
Original attempted to take inspiration from her works during a pair of projects before a arrived on this course, however, both ended up taking different paths to what I expected. The one of the main aspects of her designs which grabbed my attention after first seeing her works was how the foxes themselves were designed in such a way that they no long appeared as normal foxes. All of them had very stylised forms, with some looking like other mythical creatures by themselves as some could have horns, stand on their hind legs, have skeletal body parts, or even posses human-like features such as long, flowing hair. Colouration of the foxes also often consisted of mostly dark browns and pastel whites, rather than the traditional oranges of real life foxes. Almost all of her foxes also possessed white, featureless masks or fur around their faces which created the illusion of a mask.
The second reason why I took an interest in her designs was also due to her (from what I can assume to be her mascot figure) character designs of “fox women”, Kitsune in human(like) form. While other depictions of fox women would be limited to just a normal looking girl, with just the ears or tails visible (as foxes were known for sometimes having imperfect human transformation), Sarah’s depictions have much more unique features, such as the women having the legs and paws/claws of foxes instead of human hands and feet. I felt like it honestly gave the foxes a much more fitting and attractive style to the works as Kitsune were well known for their shapeshifting, so having unusual/varying appearances seems just fitting.
Considering all of this, I would very much like to use a design for the Kitsune spread inspired by the works of Sarah. I will of course have to take my own spin on the overall designs of the Kitsune as to push myself away from being a flat-out copy cat designer as well as to make my own depictions of Kitsune.
The second image which we were tasked of viewing was another video about the concept creative thinking and how to use it effectively. This time, the video is a clip taken from a much longer presentation by a speaker called Tom Kelley. In the clip he goes on to speak of one of the many habits which he came up with that help people see the world with more clear ideas.
The idea itself was to “think like a traveler”, to see the world around you with a fresh set of eyes by imagining yourself as a traveling foreigner/visitor, as he mentions how when people go on holidays to new places, their brains go into an adrenaline-like state where the notice everything around them due to being in an unfamiliar location. He says that by forcing yourself into this state that you can become more self aware of the world around you and improve your way of thinking.
I honestly find this idea to be a very interesting concept as the idea of seeing a familiar place with new eyes can lead to some odd discoveries and ideas you may have never noticed before. This concept could be very helpful within the future for projects/tasks that require me to “notice” more, such as describing a location at home or such. I also enjoy the conviction of the speaker Tom as well, as he puts a lot of emphasis on his ideas as well as how he try to communicate and convince the students he talks to to also pick up the good habits he mentions.
As one of the recent tasks given to us after the return from the easter holidays, I was asked to watch several videos about various environmental and thinking related content. This video was about the mental (and physical) health benefits of going outside and just sitting/walk within a beautiful part of nature, such as a forest.
The video was very thought provoking in terms of how we live our daily lives mostly indoors, with very little time spent outside in the fresh air away from any forms of electronics. The main “character” of the video is an office dweller who talks and performs various relaxing activities with eco-therapists in order to learn the importance of spending some time in the outdoors without touching their phone.
Some of the realisations that I made while watch this video is that I may spend way too much of my time indoors, and that as of a result feel fatigued and somewhat unhappy because of this. From some moments of my own experience, going on walks in parks or on beaches (etc.) has always given me some help to think, as the fresh air combined with movement have improved my mood for when trying to come up with new ideas. I’ve also felt that the simple act of walking can help my mind gain some momentum for imagination, something which I regularly do at home.
Having watched this video, I have noticed that I may need to rethink how much time I try working at home or in college, I may possibly have to find some times within the week to sit outside to brainstorm for my ideas from now on. I find many of the concepts brought up with this video to be very relatable and true when it comes to creative/effective thinking and I will have to take it to heart about subject of my own mental health.