Visual design – full bleed pages

This experiment explored different visual styles for full bleed or splash pages. These pages have different functions within the story, but all should have impact. They are an opportunity to create images using a different visual approach and I saw them as an opportunity to showcase a range of different visual styles and techniques.

Within the seven frame mezcal storyboard sequence there were three full page illustrations to experiment with.

The three pages in the sequence were:

  1. Page 1 – Cityscape and house exterior (this replaced the image of Dennis sitting)
  2. Page 3 – Dennis in his studio
  3. Page 7 – Explosion

The problem

I don’t know what visual style to use for splash pages, or whether the idea of making them distinctly different from standard content pages will work.

The hypothesis

I will learn what visual approaches work by creating each page in a different visual style and combining them into the design mock-up.

Expected results

I will be able to identify one visual style that will work alongside/compliment the interior content pages.

What happened

Variation 1: Page 1 – Cityscape and house exterior

These two panels replace the original full page image of Dennis sitting in a chair. I made this change at the point I created the design mock-up, because I felt I needed an establishing shot to move from the previous section in the story to this new location.

The action takes place in Margarita’s house at night time, so the establishing shots go from a wide angle city scape to house exterior. This leads the reader into the next panel where action takes place inside the house.

The images were created digitally using a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop. The images were created from photographic reference using a deliberately limited colour palette.

Each image took approximately 4-hours to make, and although this is quite costly in time, the purpose of them is to make a strong impact on the reader so there is less need to load subsequent panels with lots of background drawing. So it’s probably a good investment.

Fig 1 – Establishing cityscape and house exterior shots created digitally (2022)

Variation 2: Page 3 – Dennis in his studio

Variation 2 was painted with drawing ink. Tone was added digitally.

The different elements of the image came from the storyboard and I thumbnailed different combinations to arrive at a final composition.

Fig 2 – Pencil thumbnails for composition (2022)

The image was painted at A2 size directly from storyboard reference i.e. it was not painted on top of any rough sketches.

Fig 3 – Dennis in studio artwork with tone added digitally (2022)

I was disappointed with the result because I’d intended it to be very loose but ended up with quite a ‘realistic’ and tight representation, so there’s not really enough difference between the full page splash and one of the internal pages.

Variation 3: Page 7 – Explosion

The third variation is the climax of the sequence.

For this I worked at approx. A3 and drew heavily on the storyboard thumbnail.

Fig 4 – Explosion panel from the storyboard (2022)

I created a further thumbnail to design/incorporate sound effects.

Fig 5 – Thumbnail for composition (2022)
The final drawing was made using a fountain pen and ink, with yellow flats added digitally.
Fig 6 – Page 7 explosion artwork (2022)

I don’t think this image works in terms of the text/image combination or use of fountain pen.

It feels incongruent when viewed alongside the other pages.

What I learned

  • Using the splash page idea as a way to establish a scene is a good storytelling technique.
  • The three pages are not creative or expansive enough to represent the range of my visual styles.

What I’ll do next

This experiment was only partially successful and there is more design and development work needed to fully address the problem statement.

The three images will be incorporated into the design mock-up.


List of illustrations

Figure 1 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Establishing cityscape and house exterior shots created digitally [Digital] In possession of: The author

Figure 2 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Pencil thumbnails for composition [Pencil drawing] In possession of: The author

Figure 3 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Dennis in studio artwork with tone added digitally [Painting] In possession of: The author

Figure 4 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Explosion panel from the storyboard [Mural board] In possession of: The author

Figure 5 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Thumbnail for composition [Fountain pen] In possession of: The author

Figure 6 – Hadfield, Hugh (2022) Page 7 explosion artwork [Fountain pen In possession of: The author

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