Monday, December 14, 2009

Poster Feature

I forgot to post this image. Instead of editing a post, I figure I'll finish off tonight's post with nice imagery instead of text and manual instructions!

Alice, the Final Product (pt. 3)

Finally, this is a post showing how the booklets fold back together.

After unfolding:
1.) the first step is to fold in the two smallest flaps towards the center.

2.)Fold in half

3.)Turn the paper over, you'll notice there is a hole on the top. Push the paper together so that the top view looks like a + sign

4.) Find the cover image and fold that over

Alice, the Final Product (pt. 2)

Onto the booklets. It's been explained previously that each booklet will fold out into reveal one quarter of one larger poster. The booklets vary in style and content, though all show visuals and quotes from the book. What I found the most appealing of the original text was the colourful characters and the great quotes and wit of Carroll. These booklets showcase those attributes. The first booklet looks more traditional. It has a cover and actual text/body copy of the first chapter (before Alice enters Wonderland). The second booklet featurs John Teniel's classic illustrations (in colour), paired with quotes. The third booklet shows my own illustrations with quotes from the book. The fourth booklet is a poster featuring one quote. The main (larger poster) shows all the most memorable characters (at least in my opinion), with the quote "We're all mad."

Another tidbit, the Chesire Cate is featured, or even hidden, throughout the booklets.

Here is a feature the second booklet, which contains Teniel's drawings.
This booklet starts off with the door that Alice tries so hard to get into, and it leads to the Queen of Hearts's couryard.

Oh but what's this? Looks like we found the Chesire Cat. By turning the booklet, anther book is revealed, showing the Chesire Cat dissapearing with his great quote "You may have noticed that I'm not all here myself"

I decided that this version of the book will have the large 'back' poster as one of the mini booklets. I may change it permanently like this... only time will tell!

...and in this format, it is the same size as the rest of the booklets, and is similar to the fourth poster booklet.

Here is a feature on that very picture.

Alice, the Final Product (pt. 1)

Enough process, let's see the final hand-in product! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to the world, Alice, a redesign and visual retelling of Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Tada! I wanted this book reading experience to be extremely playful, whimsical and tactile. The idea is to make the reader relate to Alice's experience. I wanted to capture the feel that I got from the book when I first read it. The book is suppose to show the reader the sense of wonder, nonsense, playfulness and confusion that Alice experiences in the story. This is why the book does not necessarily come with instructions (besides "read me"). It's up to the reader to figure out what to do with this visual Wonderland, and take charge, just as Alice had to.

The red object in the middle is the 'book'. However, this is no ordinary book. It consists of six blocks, which contain mini-books (which also fold out posters, but more on this later). The cover is made of suede to give a soft, pleasant and luxurious feel. The immediate impression I intended to create was that of a classic book, but with a second look the reader would think "Wait a minute, what's this? This isn't a normal book", which is what I wanted to convey and represent: a classic that sparks curiosity and the imagination!

Here it is again at another angle. The lighting on the suede makes the title appear lighter than it is. I hope to do a proper photo shoot with a better camera and lighting when I get it back. The title is an impression made with a thin layer of white ink to create a very subtle and mysterious look.

The book can open in a page-by-page fashion in a vertical manner OR

The book opens up fully, length-wise and transforms into a jacob's ladder. The book is now even more tactile and playful (and fun!). The images show alternating pictures of Alice falling, and subtle features of various characters. This is to mimic her seemingly endless fall down the Rabbit-hole in Chapter one. It also represents the great characters that, to me, make the book so endearing. You can also see the back cover here, which is a mimic of the cover, but instead of white ink, there is a subtle embossing of 'Alice'

the Process.. of my process

I was going to post the original sketch, but I decided to put up my digital inking process. You can see the edits mostly on the top right corner.

Originally this image was suppose to be the big poster that would be visible after opening and placing together the 4 smaller booklets (each booklet with one quarter of the image on the inside). In the final however, included this last image as a final booklet. I may reprint it later as the big image or I might strive to make a better image.... We'll see!

Now to share my magical journey of construction! I took my camera with me the York/Sheridan Design facilities and took pictures of my time in the wet media room! It's just a point and shoot camera, so they aren't exactly flattering to the area... just saying, to those who have never been here, it really is filled with much more interesting things than what I've shown.

I made a polymer plate in order to emboss my suede cover. I got the negative done at young flexographics in Toronto, they were really nice and I definitely recommend them to anyone who needs a negative done. Even though they didn't charge me, they were really helpful and the negative turned out great. The polymer plate, I made myself with the machine found in the wet media room! Very very cool, and I hope to use it again. I love how the plate looks... I almost wanted to hand the plate in as the cover as you see here, but that makes the suede texture pointless.

I just thought the negative looked so cool.

My new love: the guillotine. This beautiful, beautiful machine saved me hours upon hours of cutting and a sore arm. I love it. I love it so much.

Part of my work area. This is the manual press I used for the embossing.. yep, did it all myself with classic and foreign pieces of equiptment: the press, the plate... the design textbook I bought but use as a paper weight... (just kidding!...........)

More Specifically...

Okay! So I just handed in my book project, so I just feel like bursting out in Christmas break squeals of excitement... I'M DOOONE!!! :D :D eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! but not really. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with how my book turned out, but I wanted it to be so much more. I want to keep adding to it, or even (maybe, in an ideal world) make the second Alice book (Through the Looking Glass)and put them both in a box as a set.... Realistically though, even over break, I still have assignments to do (evil), I wonder how much I will get done....

So, I think I'll just work on pictures. It's something that I want to work on (and improve on), on a personal level, so I think I'll do that over christmas break, if I have the time.

Anyways, I do realize it has been a while since I've been-- Side note: I've found a new freckle (...I should be tested for ADD)........on here to update, but I do assure you lot's have happened (must have, if i finished the project!). So even though it's not required to put up process posts anymore, I think I will, because I do want to record the process, for personal and interest reasons.

To start, I think I'll put up some sketches I've been hoarding in my lair.
This was a concept sketch for the title. Hand lettering all the way :) I like the texture the paper created, but it's not included in the digital version I used for the final...

I'm Doooooooooone!!

sort of... for now. Now to update... :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

colour vs texture

Why can't things just work out for once... Why am I so indecisive.

I didn't realize how unfinished the rough dot texture on the blue suede looks when placed next to the wood. The red suede looks beautiful, and is so smooth and nice...however! The blue suede is in a navy blue, and I have a light "Alice" sky blue ribbon that would look beautiful next to the blue and light golden wood. Matching the ribbon to the red is a little tougher.

I could use the Navy ribbon I have on the dark red suede, but it's not as harmonic as the blue... I also have a sheer white ribbon, which is quite nice and it almost disappears against the wood. I'm not sure if that's a bad or good thing, since I've imagined clear ribbons showing in the open "spine" since day one. Ugh. I should sleep on it and look at it with fresh eyes.

UGH OR I could go back downtown and try and find a better piece of blue. Unrealistic and inefficient use of time, though... I'll just make a mental note, if I'm down there I'll swing by the store...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Half Resolution

Okay, so I'm going with the suede, I just haven't decided what colour yet. Time to colour match with my ribbons and materials. This is good, I won't have to go back downtown again... One day I'll use that fancy nice leather for something. A bigger book maybe.

I'm starting to question what my book is going to look like. Originally, I had wanted this book to look very... classic and nice, but only from the front and back. The spine will show the wood, nails and other... hinting at the uniqueness of the book. But maybe it will come off as unfinished? :s I didn't think of that until today...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leather goods or leather bads

So I went leather shopping, and I realized that I need to know more about how to use the leather before I can really decide what leather to cover my book in. I went the Perfect Leather Goods downtown on King St. They were very helpful even though I was being very annoying and indecisive for a really (really) small purchase (I'm SOO annoying, I'm soooorrryy >_< :s).

There's this rack of small, single pieces, all only $2/square foot. I ended up buying two types of soft leather (suede-type material), one blue, one red.. just so I can decide on the colour later. However! Since it's so soft, and the because of the colour and suede texture, it's not going to give my book that distinctive classic "fairy tale" look. I planned on embossing the title (probably with no ink...) into that nice brown leather, but I cheaped out.

Actually, that's not true. The lady there showed me this absolutely beautiful, smooth, perfect piece of leather. It was goat skin, soooo nice. It was a rich marble brown. The problem was, she wouldn't cut it for me, so if I bought it, I would have to buy all 7 square feet for it.... all to cover a book that's not even half a square foot. Also, the hide was relatively thicker than the soft leathers I bought, so it's a bit bulkier to fold, especially around the corners of the eska board. Because of the small size of my book, and how I'm putting it together, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to use it, since I don't know exactly how to glue it on, and I'm not sure if it will be too bulky (at the corners). The person there told me if it's my first time using leather, try it on the cheap stuff first and next time use the nice stuff.

It wouldn't be terribly expensive to buy, but considering I don't even know if it's a good idea to use it on my project, I figured I'd ask for some advice first. I'm actually quite convinced that I'll have to go down there again to buy it, because in the long run, I'd rather pay a bit extra, for extra material than not having the best project I could.

I just don't know what I'll do with the other six feet of animal epidermis. I guess I can just use the rest of the leather to...... ........keep warm.. in the winter. Who doesn't want a goat skin cape, am I right? :p

Friday, November 6, 2009


Three Questions I pose about my book (experimental Alice in Wonderland book):

1.) Should I make my book very narrative or just glimpses and famous scenes more abstract? Should the art look more cartoon-ish (probably with the story telling) or more abstract and collage-like (for glimpses of scenes)? or both?

2.) Dimensions: Should make my book 'normal' rectangular (approx 4.5 x 3) or panoramic (8in x 2.75)?

I feel that I want a bit of shock value, when you see open the book (if its regular size). I imagine a simple cover and then you open it and it cascades...), but the idea of a panoramic book would be easier to hold (two hands) and would look very cool. A panoramic dimension would tell you from the beginning this is a different kind of book. I don't know if want the book to be too experimental though, because I want a good portfolio piece with substance.

3.) How much text should be in this? I'm thinking of doing most of the first chapter in full on the first "block" then getting more abstract with quotes and illustrations/pictures for the rest... I'm not sure if that will give the book enough substance though. I don't want this to be so gimmicky but it keeps heading that way. Also, I'm a bit worried. I wanted to do various illustrations with quotes, but with time constraints and the hand-done illustrations i was planning, I'm not sure if I can still do so many... I don't want to do photography... would having a minimal amount of content be... enough?!?! :s :s :s

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blue Print Revised

After a very inspiring and helpful discussion, I've come to see that I have so many options and decisions that I need to consider. The potential in this idea is great, but overwhelming and I would hate for the product to be a let down. The idea of doing a highly experimental book is very tempting, but I have the fear of producing something too gimmicky. However, done correctly, it could be something very new and different. Facing these decisions have been very challenging, but hopefully I've made the right ones...

Here are some character concept sketches... Nothing fancy yet, just trying to get a feel and look for what I want to do...

Here's Alice... just ignore the face on the top left. I gave Alice bangs, I think it makes her look cuter, but now she doesn't look like the Classic Alice from the original illustrations. Not that I mind that, just a side note. Right now I like the one on the lower left the best, though it may be too cartoon-ish. I'm a fan of the over-sized bows though.

Here are some Mad Hatter Sketches. So far I like the one on the very right the best, but I think it's a little/very inspired by a certain cartoon character or two from my childhood....

And here are some sketches I had done for the Red and White Queen in Through the Looking glass. Too bad I decided not to include that book anymore (probably). The Red Queen is the bird-like one on the left, and the White Queen is on the right (...and the girl in the middle looks a lot like Nicole from America's Next Top Again, I'm probably not going to use these, but I thought I would include them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Aha! So I solved the ribbon problem (yet again..)! Instead of constructing a four-ribbon jacob's ladder, that I'm not entirely sure will work... I went material shopping! Yay! I'm going to stick with the three ribbons, but I bought these sheer ribbons that you can sort of see through. There is also the option of using very thin lace, but I felt that was a bit much, and not as child-like. I also bought this really nice satin ribbon in that beautiful 'Alice blue'. You know what I'm talking about, that light sky blue... So nice! I'm still not sure what I'm going to use it for, maybe exteriour wrapping...

Again, the blue is only a connotation of Alice because the Disney classic (her dress)... but this time, I don't care. The colour just screams Alice to me :)

I also bought some fabric. I love wrapping my books in fabric, but I did that for the last book I made. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the fabric yet. I bought some white soft, but canvas-like fabric, as well as some cream-coloured fabric. I was thinking I could wrap the entire book in it, and tie it together with the ribbon? The last book I made had the fabric glued to the cover, so this could be different in that sense. Or, who knows. I might end up putting the book into an open tea pot, and just set that over the fabric. It doesn't really make sense, but that's the point.

As for the illustrations, I was thinking of putting them on a wood texture (via photoshop) to stay true to the jacob's ladder's original form.... or not, but it's an idea. I'm also thinking the paper should be white, to match the blue ribbon. I was originaly thinking cream, (because I do love cream paper) since the book is a classic, I thought that aged look would be appropriate, but not necessary.

OH. OR. I could glue/wrap the fabric around the block-casings, and illustrate on the fabric, AND then SEW the ribbons onto the fabric. That would solve my ribbon attachment problem, because I know that pH neutral glue stuff won't work. I wonder If I can print on fabric. Sounds like a fire hazard. Maybe I can get that iron-on stuff, but I wonder if that will look tacky. But how does one glue fabric to ...whatever material I'm going to use? I guess if I solve that, I solve the ribbon attachment problem (maybe), eliminating the need for the fabric. Hm. Curiouser and Curiouser.


Okay soo.. I know I wasn't suppose to... but I read the first Alice book. Aahh, I know, I know, such a inefficient use of time... but it's reading week... and come least I got something out of it. Robert Bringhurst would disapprove if i designed a book without reading the content (and reading it at 9 years old doesn't count)! He's right though, I wouldn't have gotten the feel of Carroll's writing if I only read chapter summaries online. "Alice went down a hole.", "She met a cheshire cat that disappeared bit by bit." Okay, those aren't real quotes, but you get the point! Plus, it always bugged me when I was little and the cover illustrations had little or nothing to do with the book or characters.

Also, I read the Annotated Alice (Notes on the book by Martin Gardner).... very interesting! I had no idea that Carroll was so witty. The whole book is bursting with so many puns, parodies and cultural references I had no idea about. He's like the SNL of his time. I also didn't know that Alice was based on a real girl, named Alice Liddell, that he wrote letters to, and played with etc...... which is a little creepy, even though Gardner said Carroll only had the purest affection for this girl (but it's still creepy). Apparently Alice's mother originally kept Alice away from Carroll... but only in the beginning, so he can't be all bad.

Okay, this is all getting very irrelevant, and I'm just starting to gossip, so I'll stop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fighting Influences

The further I go into this... I'm starting to realize that I don't think I've ever watched Alice in Wonderland (Disney version). Or if i did, I only watched part of it and don't remember the rest. So here is the caterpillar scene; I only realize its brilliance now...

Who Are You?

I love it. The way they interpreted Carrolls writing, and the type that he blows when he's speaking... I'm excited to put that into a graphic illustration. Then again, I don't want to take too much inspiration from Disney, because I want this book to be my interpretation. However, there are some things that are just so charming about the Disney version.

I remember reading the book when I was 8 or 9, and not liking Alice because she seemed like such a little know it all, snot nose kid, who lost her temper too quickly and abused poor animals that were smaller than her.... and now that I'm reading it I find a lot of the creatures in wonderland are just very strange.... *cough*jerks*cough*. In the clip, I see that Alice is a more loveable, only gets angry in an adorable fashion. I really like this darker side Alice in Wonderland (it's not all just happy sunshine, and the characters are so mean to each other), but then again, I don't want it to resemble Tim Burton's upcoming movie... UGH We'll see how it goes

But how will it look?

So I've been very inspired by this japanese artist, Marumiyan. Since last year I've been wanting to integrate illustration into my design in a really cool and graphic way, but before I got very far pursuing this personal style... I found this guy (lol) who does it SO MUCH BETTER (sigh...). It's okay, I still want to do illustration, and I know I can't make anything that looks like his work... so hopefully his inspiration plus my abilities can help me further achieve what i'm hoping to develop... my own graphic style.

For now, here are some pictures of his truly amazing work. I probably won't do illustrations quite as complex. I would like to finish all my illustrations by the beginning of November. I'm going to start my first illustration today, hopefully. I need to set deadlines. Good god, I don't want to think about it.

Blue Print instructions

I forgot to post this!
....I went for an instruction manual feel.. and It somehow ended up an info graphic haha..

Friday, October 9, 2009

Flipping Instructions

Haha, by the way, if anyone doesn't know what a jacob's ladder is, below is a link that shows a rather amusing video... just shake your head and laugh boys and girls.


Also, I've been rethinking the book format, I wonder if I should stick to the idea of a story on either side... that only involves one flip to read the book.. OR.. maybe after you finish with one block, you flip it, to read the next sections...? That's probably too complicated... but it seems that one flip of the book doesn't make use of the format all that much......of course you could always just flip the book for fun...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Okay so here's something I didn't know, (maybe I should of, maybe I'm not well versed in my mental repertoire of classics buuuut...) Alice in Wonderland has a sequal...? It's called Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Plus, the first book is actually called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.. at least from what I gather. So, I think I have tentatively changed my idea to including both books into my final. Since parts of both the stories are combined into the movies/the Alice story we're famliar with, I think it's a nice idea to put the literary versions together.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Oh boy, I found a Jacob's ladder that doesn't have a ribbon going down the middle of the block.. this could help me solve the ribbons-getting-in-the-way-of everything problem....

Antique Toy

Monday, September 28, 2009

Playful or too gimmicky

Okaaay, So I'm 99% sure I'm going through will Alice in Wonderland. However, sticking with my Jacob's ladder idea, i would need to split the book into either 12 , 8 or 6 sections. Or, I could stick with the original idea of 12 sections (one per chapter) and not necessarily have long text for each chapter...? I'm thinking maybe for the card chapter, I could make Alice, the Queen of Hearts (etc) cards and stick them into that section and either REALLY condense the chapter into ...oh say... a page or two... or not have words at all.. since so many people know the story...

Perhaps I have have one or two chapters with no text....? I think it can turn out to be a really playful book....Or is that too gimicky?

Otheriwse I'm looking at the work load for this book and I don't think it's very realistic...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If Alice was a book designer...

'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'

- Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Phase One

So I think I want to make an experimental book... I'm just not sure how experimental I should go. I want to challenge the traditional book reading experience, but I also don't want to look like I'm trying too hard, or push the envelope so much that I'm falling off. The traditional book reading experience is nice enough by itself, really...

Oh what to do what to do.

Right now I'm deciding whether or not I want to take on the challenge of constructing such a book AND writing a 8-12 chapter/part book for content. Seems rather ambitions, especially if these (preferably) twelve chapters are part of a longer story... it seems that it should be an epic. An epic children's story, of twelve volumes... or not. My other option is using Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland, conveniently written in twelve chapters. Reg suggested that I edit it or redo the story so that I can really play with it. However, it would be quite the challenge to write my own story.. I do have a couple beggining concepts that I might try writing out... but I'll save that for my next post.