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Pink Sugar

Book illustrations

Created a series of illustrations from generating concepts and roughs and then editing and clarifying them. Focus was on broad and structured research, drawing skills, own personal voice and convictions, playfulness, process, observation, imagination, figuration, the use of reference, technique, props and models. Created the appropriate atmosphere and mood and empathize with the text.

Traditional print processes was used to create the illustration, which include: Mono, lino, collage and dry point printing. I experimented with these processes alongside developing the illustrations for the final outcome. Consideration to the typeface used is also an essential element of the overall outcome.

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Brand background

Learning Outcomes:

• Designing various advertising media

• Analysing the advertising potential of design

• Design theoretical and historical consideration of drafts

• Dealing with illustration and image composition techniques (drawing, painting, collage digital/analogue, manipulation of photographic motifs)

• Use of writing and its combination with image design

Assessment requirement:

• Development of printing processes (sketchbook)

• Development of illustration subjects (sketchbook)

• Typography development and experimentation (Sketchbook)

• Final illustrations (min 5)


Target audience

Any form of picture or ornamental work made for publications specifically meant for a young readership is known as children’s book illustration. Children’s book illustrations frequently improved or explained the content.

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Inspiration: Symbolism:


Raven, vultures, ram, black cats, bats, Red poppies, Cypress trees, Hyacinth, Chrysanthemum, Lily Candles, clocks, black, skulls, scythes, tombs


Guillotine, regal, 

Chrysanthemums (death’s flower), blood, red, public display, shattering bone, mourning, loss

Worn out shoes:

fun, energy, perseverance

Drugged drink:

poison, death, black/green, psychedelic


magical, engulfing, colourful, layered, sparkly, secretive, staircase, transformative


magical, moving, flowing, transport-transformative


youthful, fleeting, energy, light, joyful, bright,


bond, trap(ed), white, elaborate, forever


Worn out shoes, 2: Decapitation and 3: Poison

Experimentation & decisions made

The first illustration was in planning until the end of the creative process. It took so long, as I wanted it to set the scene for the rest of the illustrations. As such, illustration 1, 2 and 3 will be discussed in the same area of discussion. The story starts with the king finding his daughters’ shoes worn out every night, as they secretly go dancing every evening. He then sets a inquiry to all the land, that whoever finds out where the princesses go at night, would be greatly rewarded, however, if they were to fail, they would be killed. This sets the scene for the main tension of the illustrations. I wanted to make the distraught quite clear.

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Worn out shoes, 2: Decapitation and 3: Poison

For the death sentence, I originally had a very detailed piece in mind, but it came to my attention quite quickly that the processes used for this assignment, would not have worked for this piece. I had to change my mindset from fine art illustrations to graphical illustrations. Moving away from the dramatic scene, I opted for a symbolic piece. The flower that is used, is the Chrysanthemum, also known as death’s flower. The reason I chose the Chrysanthemum to represent death rather than Poppies or Lillies, is due to the leaves looking like blood spatters, allowing the illustration to still be quite dramatic, but simplified. The decapitated head I cut out of a magazine and used a Jack Carden style to deface it. The style drew me in as it is completely making the subject irrelevant, just as in the story, where all the failed suiters were just another failure, no longer a noble.


Process and final illustrations

For the worn in shoes, I created dancing shoes from old rapping paper cut-outs. In olden times, shoes were an expensive gift to receive, however the princesses wore these expensive gifts in after a day, showing their careless nature. As such, the careless nature of crumbled up old wrapping paper shoes their careless and selfish nature. With both pieces finished, both with their deeper meaning, I ended up choosing to go with the murder. It has much darker undertones, and the illustration itself is much darker. It allows for a smooth transition into the following illustrations which is darker and in inks

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In the story, the princesses can visit a magical kingdom under the castle floors by going down a trap door that appears when the princesses clap their hands. For this illustration, I wanted to explore the dark and mysterious. With these adjectives in mind, the first thing that comes to mind is the illuminati. The patterns and concepts that were explored in the sketshes show these thems. From hypnotic patterns, emerging portals, to the all seing eye acting as a staircase. In the end I decided on the portal sketch, as it is the most emersive. It’s design would allow for the most effective use of colour to draw the reader in and create the feeling of strong mysterious magics.



With the sketch planned out, I decided that the best way to illustrate a magical trap door would be trough collage and layering the paper to form a depth illusion. First the colour direction was tested, from light to dark, or dark to light. From scrap magazine paper, the pattern of the portal was drawn and torn out. I opted for tearing rather than cutting to create a natural effect. Each page was then painted and left to dry. To create the illusion of depth further, a tiny castle was painted and stuck in the middle, illustrating the kingdom they escape to.

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In the story, the princesses embark on magical boats, that transport them from the castle, to the the kingdom under the castle floors. These boats are described as magical, and the water on which they travel, enchanting. In their home, the princesses are not happy, so until they reach the magical kingdom, things are still quite dark. This is their first interaction with the magical kingdom, so the first parts of colour/ fantasy elements will be added in this scene.



In the planning I wanted to make stamps (mono printing or potato based) for the magical plants, but again I had to simplify the design, so these ideas where scratched. The river was made with mono printing. With some creative scratching tools, the effect of waves and river flow could be created., though a messy process, it yielded some unique results. To find a more collage element I originally wanted to create inked boats, but the black on black would have resulted in unsatisfactory results, I first explored simple paper collage, but I disliked the texture. Next I explored folding paper boats with origami, but it was too three dimensional to create the illusion. In the end I used pressed flowers to create the boats. It is a pop of colour, but still muted, showing the transition from palace life to the organic, colourful underground kingdom.



Fleeting youth

This was planned to be the most elaborate of all my pieces. It represents the princess at their happiest, but also their weakest. Dancing is the purest form of happiness and represents youthfulness. In the story, while they are dancing, they are free from the responsibility of royalty, and can just get to be young, but youth is fleeting and soon they would have to return to responsibility. Both as facing the consequences of once again wearing their shoes out and sneaking out, but also the looming truth that they are the future rulers of the kingdom. Youth is beautiful. It is but a fragment of one’s life, and people are always told to enjoy their youth, but as royalty the girls do not have this luxury. Their youth is being snubbed (stolen, candle light dying) away from they, just like a candle light. This piece is planned to have the most colour and fantasy


Fleeting youth

The candle was inked with the process of lino printing. It started with yellow, orange, reds for the flame and black for the outline. This process took a few hours, and as tedious as the process was, it was quite relaxing. From here I started with figure drawing of the princesses dancing. These were then used as stencils to cut out the figures from coloured paper. From there, dress designs were cut out from different magazines and scrap papers. With collaging, these characters were assembled. Originally, I planned on just photoshopping these onto the candle area. Although this idea was originally approved, near the end of the project, the idea was turned down. The alternative was to add the princess with mono printing. The result was an explosion of ink. The detail was too small to print, so the dancing figures where drawn by hand with markers. The result is the princess portrayed as the candle wick, dancing and burring up her youth, her kingdom’s wealth. The candle represents the youth she must live. The flames, which represent society and responsibility, would soon engulf the youthful dancing figure. The combination of the scenes that prior (the river) and follow (the wedding) this illustration becomes more apparent of how short youth is, how fast the candle would get snubbed.

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The last piece in the illustration collection is quite experimental and suggestive. There are two meanings attached to the illustration. The first represents the darker reality of “happily ever after”. In the original tales of the brothers grimm, all the fairy tales ended in quite dark endings. The tale of the 12 dancing princesses is no different. The eldest daughter of the king is married off to the first man who was able to find out where the princesses went at night. With the man only being after the crown, as husband of the princess. The illustration shows the abuse, deceitfulness, and unhappiness of royal marriage. The alternative interpretation is more suggestive. Some stories tell that the brothers grimm was in service of a devil who aided in their success and untimely death. These stories explain why many themes of the original tales were otherworldly, and the magical demonic themes some of them carry. In this piece, the “happily ever after” is created with colourful collage, while the shadow meaning is done with inks.

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Final thoughts

The process of hand rendering all the illustrations for this project, created a newfound respect for the historical artists who did illustrations in this manner, and carved the way for the medium to have evolved to where it is today. The experimentation with textures was quite an immersive experience. The inking processes, though informative, is a process I would leave to a printer, and for a more hand rendered look, a mechanical press.

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