(Part 5/Words and pictures/Assignment 5/Seven days)
Initial thoughts and decision making
Before settling on a specific brief I gave due consideration to the title in its wider senses. I drew a selection of spidergrams to consider different aspects and possibilities of the title for me. I wanted to do this before I did any research into the subject. I need to think of my own ideas first as I do not want to be influenced by having seen other students’ ideas first. That will come later. To me, this is important.
This was the first spidergram based on personal aspects. I considered 7 days in the past 7 good consecutive days and 7 bad consecutive days. I also looked at 7 hypothetical days which may happen in the future. At this stage I was not prioritising how the 7 days would finally be manifested – looking at the diagram now I suspect I was thinking of a picture story.
Ideas here include the first seven days of owning a puppy (amusing). The 7 days after the death of my mother (sad), 7 days preparing for a celebration (exciting) etc.
This spider gram explored the idea of producing a set of 7 paintings. Many years ago now, I went trekking in the Himalayas for 29 days. I have many photographs of the event and could take 7 particular days and paint the scene as I saw it. These would be in the style I use to create my paintings of the Yorkshire Dales.
Below is the third spidergram showing some ideas for maybe fabrics – tea-towels or cushion covers, or for paintings. These ideas are inspired by a previous exercise to design a CD cover with an abstract pattern which I enjoyed doing.
These images are based on the traditional ‘jobs’ of the week. On Monday, washing is hanging on the line, Tuesday work in the garden, Wednesday is exercise day, etc finishing with a long country walk on Sunday. These would be enjoyable to do but I cant think of a good commercial outlet for them.
Above is a further development of the last diagram. Here I have tried to start with the commercial artefact then work out what to put on it. Examples are; A turn-over day calendar for Alzheimer patients, a wall chart for a French language class, wallpaper for a child’s bedroom, a set of beakers one for each day of the week, a duvet set for a child with the ‘Monday’s child’ nursery rhyme on it, a classroom chart showing the history of the names of the days of the week.
The idea of classroom wall charts inspired further consideration as on the diagram below. Here I have looked at 7 random, but memorable, days in history, all from different centuries. These could all be on one informative educational chart for younger children or maybe an amusing set of 7 cartoons illustrating the best or worst of that particular day for older children. Signing Magna Carta, Battle of Hastings, Death of the Dodo (remembered from my extinct cartoon character in section 5), the moon landing, the death of Queen Victoria and the French Revolution.
I have returned to looking in more detail at the above spidergrams and have decided to further explore the idea of the nursery rhyme ‘ Monday’s child’. I am sure this will be a popular choice for this assignment so I am deliberately not going to look at other people’s work. I will, however, do some visual research on the commercial offerings based on this rhyme. I am thinking a set of 7 beakers – one for each day would be a marketable product. They could sell individually or as a set. I will have to consider how to sell them to/for both sexes and make them different to what has gone before. If I decide to follow this path I am thinking of a modern version.
Design and produce a set of 7 beakers/mugs using the Nursery Rhyme, ‘Monday’s Child’ for inspiration.
Mugs to be for the mass market with distribution anticipated in gift shops, tourist honey-spot outlets and on-line.
RRP to be around £12/14.
Each mug to be distinctly different but of a recognisable set. Will be offered for sale individually.
A modern interpretation of the images is expected.
Target customer – all age groups, both sexes, suitable for personal purchase or as a gift.
At least one line of the poem to be included.
On the left is a set of china beakers designed by Sue Scullard for Royal Worcester. They are in the traditional Victorian image style as might be seen in a Victorian child’s nursery rhyme book. The activities and settings on the mugs are all true to that style.
Sue Scullard is a wood engraver specialising mainly in very traditional engravings. She does, however, produce modern ones at times. Such as this one for the History of Information Technology. (Below)
Monday’s Child poem is an old English nursery rhyme poem first recorded in 1838 Traditions of Devonshire.
Numerous versions of the poem exist, with both positive and negative connotations associated with each day.
Royal Worcester seem to favour this rhyme as they have done at least one other set of beakers using it. The style is different, more simple on these with no background scenery, just the characters. In this instance again, the children are dressed in Victorian or Edwardian costume.
The mug left above shows Thursday’s girl. In this set there are two different mugs for each day – a boy and a girl. The drawings are simple, a style I like.
Above right is yet another set. That uses two characters and also has toys illustrated around the spaces. This one does not use images of children.
Royal Worcester have also produced collectable plates and figurines all based on this nursery rhyme.
Currently all Royal Worcester designs for mugs are birds and (mainly fluffy) animals. They do not seem to have any featuring people. This may be a good time to re-introduce that concept as competition is lower.
I found this mug for sale on Zazzle. It has the words but does not seem to have a picture. I find the price interesting as it closely resembles a Vistaprint mug available for around £6.50.
The one on the left just has the poem on it and it is £18.50 to buy.
I have found other websites which put your own design on mugs of different shapes but the best price so far is from Vistaprint.
I have found websites with Monday’s Child T-shirts but I have not been able to find any producing or selling the style of mug which I have in mind.
So I will continue with:
Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living.
But the child that was born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
The poem or Nursery Rhyme first appeared in the Tales of Mother Goose in 1695. The book was written by Charles Perrault but I can fid no clear indication whether he actually wrote the verse or just recorded one from folklore. Mother Goose was a fictional character.
I presume the book was popular in Victorian nurseries as the drawings which accompany it are almost always in the Victorian/Edwardian style.
The Woodcutter Family in the 2002 book Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
The Woodcutter family are reminiscent of the drawings by the great Lucie Atwell – rounded with large heads and dressed in the 1940s/50s style.
I like the line drawings but want some colour in my mugs. I do not want the clutter of scenery though like the Victorian style ones. These images are inspiring in a sense.
EXECUTING THE PROJECT – Logging the action
First Thoughts – Thumbnails
I want to produce some sketches in the style which I have been developing throughout Section 5 with echoes of Fell-man, Anna, my biscuit characters, Sabre, Dodo and Will and particularly Janet and John in the final exercise for teenagers.
The brief is to invent characters that will appeal to any age. Young adults appeal to children and the rest of the population likes to think they can connect with their younger selves! I will therefore try and keep my ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ looking around 25(ish).
Above are my first thumbnails where I am considering using the same two characters to represent every day of the week in different poses or occupations.
I have done the large head as I did in the ‘Anna image’ which I liked so much, however, I don’t like these two so will try others.
This is my first sketch for Monday. Here are two modern people obviously ‘fair of face’ taking selfies.
This seems normal but also mildly amusing. It is up-to-date.
As Noble and Bestley remind us, ‘Designers have a responsibility to create work that is both accessible and understandable to its intended audience’ (Visual Research;case study3 )
Trying to think of a modern way of interpreting ‘full of grace’ is quite difficult. Grace is not a word in common use.
At first I though ‘graceful’ and then ‘dancers’. However, having looked up the dictionary meaning I decided to use the actions of bowing and curtseying to to deliver the word. I may have second thoughts on this.
Here are Wednesday’s children displaying childish anger with their phones. He is throwing his away and she is stamping on hers.
‘Full of woe’ in the rhyme actually refers to Woden the God after whom the day is named and originally it meant something more like ‘concerned’ rather than ‘morose’. I have, however, chosen a simple iterpretation with which people may identify (even the 25 year olds).
As we see here, Thursday’s boy is off on his travels with a rucksack and, of course, his phone.
His female counterpart on the other hand is obviously going to work. She has on her uniform and her flight bag is beside her. She is an Airline Pilot.
She too is consulting her phone. This seems to be a theme running through all the pictures. Do all 25 year olds have a phone permanently in their hand?
Fridays children are ‘loving and giving’. Friday is named after Freia, Norse Goddess of love.
He is rushing off with a bunch of flowers while she is actually offering you her phone – how loving and giving is that!
This image needs a bit of work on it. Maybe her arm could be raised higher and the phone made bigger.
Saturdays children are busy working.
He is busy with his sheep in bad weather judging by the jacket, making it very hard, and she has her head down over a sewing machine.
The sketch of ‘her’ is very rough and certainly needs modifying/tidying up.
I am not sure to what extent men can identify with a shepherd or a woman who is a machinist.
This was by far the most difficult image to create.
How do you draw someone who has it all.
I have made him into a dancer because they are usually carefree (blithe and gay). It could be any kind of dancing but I thought folk dancing looks celebratory and cheerful.
Sunday’s girl is a winner, she has run a race and is pretty and ‘has it all’. This day certainly needs more consideration. It’s supposed to be the special one which is better than all the rest.
Having thought more at length about the brief for this task and the fact that it needs to have a modern connotations, it needs some more exciting visual literacy. I want to promote audience interaction when they see these mugs in the form of getting out their money and buying them. I need impact. Following this evaluation I have written some additional lines to the poem. At first I rewrote the poem in a more up to date way:
Monday’s child starts off the race
Tuesday’s child hots up the pace.
Wednesday’s child knows where to go,
Thursday’s child is just too slow.
Fridays child has lost his living,
Saturdays child helps charity giving.
But the child that’s born on the Sabbath day,
Is retired, cashed in, and gone away.
I did some more sketches for Monday and Tuesday to show a girl setting off for primary school, then an adolescent boy setting off for university. I used the same (modified) chap with the rucksack for Wednesday as previously. Thursday’s child was to be the woman in the chair who I did for Mondays child originally but with a woeful expression.
Friday was to be either the man throwing away his phone or a down-and-out begging.
Saturday Was the woman from the previous layout and Sunday was a man leaving for Bermuda next to a Porsche.
Then I thought perhaps young adult of today would not know the original rhyme so they would not see the relevance, or relationship to, the new one.
I tried combining the two poems; they work reasonably well together and there is perhaps a little more depth to the meaning. However, I don’t think adding the extra lines is practical as it is an awful lot to include on a mug. It would certainly mean there could only be one picture per day (unless they were tiny).
Having come this far, and explored an extended poem, I have decided to go with the original verse which has been well-known. And create /improve/modify some figures to express the thought behind each line.
Here is the extended version which I have decided to scrap.
Mondays child is fair of face and she’s the one who starts the race
Tuesdays child is full of grace and he’s the one who ups the pace.
Wednesdays child is full of woe for she’d the one who is too slow.
Thursday’s child has far to go but he’s the one with seeds to sow.
Friday’s child is loving and giving yet he’s the one who’s lost his living.
Saturdays child works hard for a living but still finds time for charity giving.
And the child that’s born on the Sabbath day is blithe and bonny and good and gay
He’s also cashed-in and gone away.
My intention is now to finalise the drawings I want to use. They need to appeal to my target customers who are if fact, everybody. Therefore there can not be any highly specific characters eg the airline pilot or the shepherd, as many people will not be able to identify with them.
So, I need to concentrate on the emotion in the images;
Monday – happy (because fair of face)
Tuesday – confident (because of natural grace)
Wednesday sad/distressed – because full of woe (in the modern sense)
Thursday – resigned/stoic( because of journey ahead)
Friday – kind (loving and giving)
Saturday -weary (working hard)
Sunday – smug satisfaction
Some of the original drawings will be ok and can now be refined. Others will have to be redrawn. I will leave out my pilot and my shepherd (in spite of liking those best!) As they are too job-specific.
I think the phones are a fun thing to include so I will work on getting one into each drawing.
I have done some more drawings and now have a selection of ones to choose from. However, I am drawing at A4 and these images are going to be printed at around 7 cms – less that an eighth of the original. It therefore occurs to me that there should be no really fine detail apart from the faces as it will not be visible. I will print a scanned copy of one of the sketches to the right size to see how it looks.
I have found a mug the right size and tried some paper versions of them on it for size.
I think they are going to look ok. But I need to go through all the drawings to make sure they are not too complicated. I will then have to colour them. The mugs are available with different coloured handles and interiors and white outside. So, I intend to use a different colour for each day and use that colour as the dominant one on the relevant images.
Here are all the images redrawn at A4 with the lines tidied up and most fine details removed apart from the faces. One or two are different such as Tuesdays children which now exude confidence as well as grace. Sunday was still the hardest to do but I have settled on ‘welcoming’ as the key word but tried to make them look blithe and bonny and good and gay while doing it.
I think it is evident that my personal style seems to be developing and becoming recognisable, hopefully.
Here are two young people taking selfies because they are ‘fair of face’ and naturally want to share that with friends.
Tuesdays children are full of grace and confidence and elegance.
The girl is dancing or doing aerobics or just gracefully moving. She is also checking her phone.
The boy is showing confidence and general panache. His phone remains in his pocket
These children are woeful indeed, they are having problems with either their phones or with the messages on their phones. Whatever the reason they are both showing aggression towards their phones, him by throwing it away and her, by stamping on it.
Our Thursday girl is pregnant and already has a toddler. She certainly has a long way to go in terms of
bringing them up. The toddler is eating her phone.
The Thursday boy is off on his travels. He is using the compass on his phone to ascertain the correct direction to go.
Fridays girl is so loving and giving she is actually offering you her phone.
The boy is intent in taking a big bunch of flowers somewhere. He keeps his phone close at hand.
Saturdays children are both hard workers. Their jobs are not specific but obviously busy.
She sits at a computer while he checks his phone. He has headphones on for communication, a heavyweight tool box and a document case.
These children were the hardest to sort.
They are the people who ‘have it all’ and they are also nice to boot.
I have tried to make them ‘welcoming and friendly’.
She is greeting you with a glass of something and he is outstretching his hand for you to shake. (Alternatively in the current virus situation, maybe he is clapping his hands).
The size to submit to Vistaprint for a ‘wraparound’ design is 215 x 80 mm which is just about what I anticipated. Because many young adults have never heard the Nursery rhyme I feel it necessary to print the whole verse on all the mugs. The printing will be quite small but people read tiny print on phones so I anticipate it will be fine (and hopefully ‘understandable and accessible’).
The characters have all been coloured using mixed media – coloured pencils and Sharpie pens with possibly a little digital touching up still to come.
The final stage now is to create the ‘labels’ to send off to Vistaprint with the appropriate days of the week on them.
Spacing has to be carefully worked out so that the images are on the front and the back when the cup is lifted and the rhyme is placed between them in a clear font and a readable size.
I have done some experiments with a mug and stuck on bits of paper to create these arrangements as I want them. I have decided to use Elementary Bold as the font. It is clear and crisp and simple and just has echoes of children’s printing which I feel is appropriate as it is a nursery rhyme after all.
I decided on the predominant colour for each set of images before I started to colour the whole lot.
I have obviously used other colours but there is a main one which should go with the handle and inside mug colour which I have chosen (I hope they have them all in stock!).
Monday – Green, Tuesday – Pink, Wednesday – Black, Thursday – Red, Friday – Orange, Saturday – Blue, Sunday – Yellow.
This is the first mug and this is the final arrangement of the three elements at the correct size, stuck on a piece of paper.
The black lines top and bottom are my cutting lines I am not intending to leave them on the finished images.
Assuming most people pick up a mug with their right hand I need to decide whether the girl or the boy should be on the ‘front’. I am inclined to vary them in the interest of sexual equality, on the other hand, there is better unity in the set, if they are all the same. I am guessing that most shoppers will be women so perhaps I will put the girl on the ‘front’.
The finished ‘labels’ ready for printing:
These labels have now been sent off to Vistaprint at the required pixel and physical size. I will have to wait 4 days now for the appearance of the mugs.
IMAGES SHOWING BOTH SIDES OF THE MUGS MONDAYTO SUNDAY, LEFT TO RIGHT.
IMAGES SHOWING THE FIRST AND LAST OF THE MUGS – THE DETAILS ARE CLEAR SUCH AS RED FINGERNAILS, THE SELFIES ON MONDAY’S PHONES
The excitement about the arrival of the mugs has not been in vain and I am delighted with the finished artefacts.
The mugs are as crisp and clear as is possible with cheaply reproduced beakers. To get them any better I think they would have to be printed on fine china. In my opinion they are a decent marketable product. For single reproduction they would not make me a millionaire but if they were printed in vast numbers, who knows.
If I bought 200 (ex VAT) I could get them for £5.40 each. With all the associated business costs they would have to sell at about £14/£15. However the brief was to keep them cheap and design for the mass market. I would expect them to be produced per thousand, in which case they would fall right into the desired price range. It is possible to have the design printed on china which currently costs £15 per beaker. The outlay at that price would not be practical for a sole trader, I think .
I believe the design is sufficiently sophisticated and clear that it may be possible to interest a china producer to use the design. As a quality limited edition known brand china mug, it could sell for around £30/£40.
Looking at the Course Overview criteria, this assignment has given me the opportunity to demonstrate my ability to generate ideas, develop a project and communicate the development of the process.
I have shown understanding of a range of media and selected and employed materials and artwork to create my beakers. I have worked in an area I have not previously explored in order to widen my experience.
I have worked within a self-directed brief written following research into alternative areas of development and provided evidence of critical reflection and understanding the work of others.
In my learning log I have shown my development over the period of this course by selecting a suitable final project, reflecting on it and seeing it through to a satisfactory completion.
This has been an enjoyable exercise. I have been able to incorporate many ideas and techniques from previous sections of the course. In order to demonstrate progression, I have carefully logged my methodologies having set out a plan of action at the start. In engaging with the brief I had created, I looked at previously executed ways of producing decorative mugs on my chosen 7 day theme, then synthesised my visual and historical research to focus on a concrete objective; a nursery rhyme.
I wanted a modern approach on the traditional theme. Modifications were necessary as the plan developed with my on-going analysis revealing the desirability of including mobile phones in each image and not being too specific in the detail of the characters’ actions. The rhyme is about general traits and attitudes. ( I have deviated slightly from that path with Saturday’s children. They are obviously workers but I have kept the nature of their precise job obscure) .The phones are my symbol of modernity especially as none of the characters is actually using their mobile as a telephone. I feel this visual grammar will be readable by the target audience which I originally defined as’ pretty much anybody’!
There is humour in the imagery but no intended satire or metaphorical message. These are images to amuse and enjoy in their simplest form. They are informative in that anyone not having previously encountered the Nursery Rhyme will be aware of it henceforth. It may even inspire them to seek out the origins of it.
The designs are simple but well-executed and pleasing. A colour scheme for each day has been created to coordinate with the colours available at the mug-printing business. I used mixed media to achieve the colours (a first time experience). I wanted the vibrancy of the Sharpie pens but their colours are limited and do not blend. I therefore used coloured pencils alongside for the lighter shades and more varied colours. Final ‘touching up’, such as adding a little saturation, was done on the computer. However, each day has a limited palette leaning towards the colour of the cup which it will enhance. Both characters wear at least one garment of the ‘main’ colour.
The style in which I have produced the images for these mugs has visibly developed gradually through the various sections of this course.
The tangible artefacts produced for this assignment could be prototypes for sale in local gift shops (when reopened).
Boxes, as produced for the biscuits in an earlier exercise, could be produced using the images on the mugs to fit each mug. This could enhance their value in the gift markets.
The images can be used on other artefacts, bags, towels, tea towels, mouse mats etc, etc.
Reflections on Assignment 5
This was a very satisfying assignment to do. I was able to put into practice all the things we have learned in this unit and demonstrate my grasp of the Core Concepts. I trust there is also evidence of my improved wider critical reflection as suggested.
After initial consideration, and some early research, I was able to write a concise and prescriptive brief for myself.
I was then enthused to do some further research in the direction I had chosen – to create some themed mugs. This was an entirely new field for me to work in, so apart from the actual image production, consideration had to be given to placement, size appearance from different angles, colours etc. of each image – 14 in all. It was a big task I set.
The process of production followed the path we had learned throughout the course. Planning, analysing, assessing, restructuring, and redrawing many times were all to be enjoyed and iterated in my log. There were philosophical questions which arose regarding the selfidentification of the target audience with the product. This meant further alterations to the designs.
Colour themes were important with a good balance of plain and textured patterns on the images. Everything was done at A4 or A5 for clarity but the finished images were to be only 8cms high. This meant any complexity had to be removed. Simplicity in visual grammar can be difficult. The innate message in the visual literacy on each mug had to be concise.
In the end I feel I have produced a professional set of mugs ready for reproduction and distribution. As far as I can tell there are no precise competitors currently in the field as I could not find any mugs themed on this nursery rhyme produced in a ‘modern’ style.
I have been able to demonstrate my creativity articulating my personal emerging style. Of necessity I had to analyse and assimilate research details, design, evaluate then redesign to find a unique solution to the brief and develop my ideas.
I honed a few new visual and technical skills in the production of images to enhance a cylindrical shape, taking 3 dimensions into consideration at all points in the designing. I used a variety of materials to colour the images to get the exact effect/impact I was seeking.
The context in which the exercise took place was effectively self-designated within the formulation of the brief. As a self-directed task I feel I really embraced all the criteria set for the assessment of this course.
My ideas never stop with the completion of the task, and looking forward, I visualise boxes for the beakers using the same images to make them appeal more to the gift market and therefore up-selling in a slightly more expensive style of presentation for a greater price.
Assignment 5 References
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Andrews, J Ed, The Story of Where You Live, Readers Digest, London, 2005
Beaumont S, How to draw Fantasy Art, Arcturus, London, 2013
Blyton, E, ABC with Noddy, Purnell, London, 1959
Donaldson,J, The Gruffalo, Macmillan, London, 1999
Ed, The Art Book, Phaidon, London 1994
Ed. Ladybird, The Marrow Mangler, Ladybird, London 2006
Evans, A C , Realms of Gold, Cassell and co.Ltd. London, 1934
Hall A, Illustration, Lawrence King, London, 2011
Hargreaves, R, Mr Happy et al. Thurman, London, 1971
Hawkins, C, The Granny Book, Colins Picture Lions, London 1984
Heller S & Weidemann J, Ed. 100 Illustrators, Taschen, Cologne, 2005
Hyland a, Ed. The Picture Book, Lawrence King, London, 2010
Linley M, Cartoons and Caricatures, Robinson, London, 2013
Male A, Illustratio, Bloomsbury, London, 2017B
Noble I, Bestley R, Visual Research, Bloomsbury, London, 2011
Robinson, J, Dear Teddy Robinson, Puffin, London, 1967
Scarry, R, Best word book ever, Hamlyn, London, 1964
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 26 March 2020
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 04 May 2019
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 19 October 2019
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 12 October 2019
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 15 February 2020
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 07 December 2019
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 07 March 2020
The Week, Dennis Publishing Limited, 28 September 2019
Etsy on mugs:
Royal Worcester mug:
Mugs from zazzle