Final Author Conference

I sent a couple of the illustrations to Freya before binding the book to see what she thought.

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I sent her photos of the finished books and she seemed very happy. I think I have successfully represented her work how she wanted it to be done which is exactly what I was aiming for.

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It has been so amazing to collaborate with Freya on this project and it’s only been made better by how much she loves the end product.


Making the cover

Once I’d laser cut the type I wanted, I had to decide on the alignment. While experimenting I discovered that I liked it in all three alignments but I liked central the best so that’s how I ended up sticking it.

Cover type tests

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I decided that plain type was the best bet for my cover so I experimented with font and alignment to see which worked best. I think the cursive ones are definitely the most beautiful of any of them and I definitely want to use one of them for my cover.

Cover Ideas

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I gave myself pretty strict guidelines for the cover. I want it to be simple, not repeat any of the inside illustrations, not give away too much of the story, keep with the palette and theme of the inside of the book and look natural.

Within these guidelines I felt the best ideas were to just have the title or a simple illustration of a butterfly.


I tried cutting into the cover and sticking something over the top but neither captured the elegance I was looking for.

I think laser cutting whatever I decide to put on the cover will look eye-catching, beautiful, keep with the palette and natural theme and just generally stick to my guidelines.

InDesign – Laying out my book

Once I had cleaned up my final illustrations in photoshop, I began to layout my book in InDesign. Because I sketched where I wanted my illustrations to go and planned around that, it was simple enough to put them into InDesign. However this meant that my options for layout were pretty limited so I just had to fit the text around them.

I really liked the simplicity of Minion Pro contrasting with the complicated, metaphorical narrative so it was a perfect choice for the text. The arrangement of the text was completely dependent on the illustrations. Where there was no illustration on the page, I put the text central, but with all of the others, I had to go off what fit around the illustrations best as I knew what I wanted them to look like and how I wanted them positioned

I knew exactly what I wanted from my book once it was in InDesign, thanks to extensive development and detailed talks with Freya, it was easy to just put it all together ready for printing.

Book binding workshop.

We had a book binding workshop with Becky in the Vernon Street print room where we got to practice making the same style book that we’ll be binding next week. I did Becky’s workshop on foundation last year but it was good to get a refresh so I could remind myself about all the techniques I need to bind my book next week.

I used the book I made to work out the layout of my illustrations before I put them in InDesign. It was far easier to work it out with a physical book in front of me and will make the InDesign process so much easier.

Final illustrations

After the revisions Freya asked me to make, I finished my illustrations, scanned them in and began to clean them up in photoshop so that I could put them into the book.

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I’m really happy with these and I can’t wait to bind this book. I think it’s going to be something both Freya and I are proud of.

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Author Conference

Over the holidays I sat down with the Author of The Butterfly Soldier, Freya to see what she thought of what I’d done so far.

In general, we both thought that getting too literally could make it look very comical which would completely take away from the serious nature of the story. We also thought it best to avoid clichéd imagery when designing it.

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Because I only have a few sketches I showed her my original brainstorm first.

She liked everything except for the ideas for the fourth paragraph. We both agreed that they all sounded cliché and amateurish, like something an angst 14 year old would draw so those were scrapped. But then we both began to struggle with what we wanted from that paragraph. Freya said the line she felt was most important was the one about the silverware so I think that’ll be a focus going forwards.

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The next one I showed her was this one which she completely loved. However she wanted to remove all colour except on the wings so I’ll have to redraft it that way and see how it works.

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Freya also loved this one but she said it took her a minute to realise that the smoke was in the shape of lungs and suggested rotating them so they were correctly orientated as that would make it more apparent.

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When I showed her this one, we both weren’t sure about the text on the mirror. It didn’t quite fit as in the piece, the liver is the only one that is apologetic for leaving, it needs to be a bit more sentimental. We agreed it needed to be changed to ‘I’m sorry’, keeping it simple but still echoing the sentiment.

In general, colour seems to be working, but only in small, carefully considered segments and only in places significant to the story.

Talking to Freya gave me a new perspective on what I’d drawn, it was good to both get a fresh pair of eyes and see if I was representing her work the way she wanted me to.


Initial Sketches

I started to get going on sketching out my ideas so I could play around with them and really develop my drawings.

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Originally I just started pencil sketching brainstorms of quick drawings to see what could work and how I wanted to get going on these illustrations.

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I looked at colour and media to see what worked and what I wanted my palette to be.

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Finally I did some rough copies of what my final illustrations could be. I’m quite happy with how some of these came out but I think others could do with tweaking. I’m going to send these rough copies of my final illustrations to Freya, the author, to see what she thinks and show her my original brainstorm so I can get her opinion on my work so far.