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Features | 2020 Book Club Illustration Challenge (January - April)

Back in January I decided that I wanted to set myself an extra book club challenge for 2020. Alongside reading books to fit our list of monthly prompts I wanted to also create a design/pattern inspired by each one and share them over on my Instagram account @sawyerandscoutdesign. As we're now over a third of the way through the year, I thought it might be nice to share a roundup of the designs so far, with a little bit about the process of creating each one.

January - A Book By An Author You Love

Inspired by: After I Do (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

When I was thinking abut ideas for my January design I had just watched a brilliant Skillshare class from Teela Cunnigham to learn the basics of Procreate. The class included four projects, one of which showed how to create this type of decorated lettering design with florals. I had so much fun with the class project that I decided to use the technique for my book club piece too, and have used it on many other occassion since as it's such an enjoyable process!

I knew that I wanted to keep to some sort of colour palette for these book club pieces throughout the year and so the colours used here determined what that palette would be for the rest of 2020. I'm still really happy with how this one turned out, although less happy about how much the quality seems to have been affected when uploading to Instagram! As I have discovered a love for creating this type of design, and find them very relaxing to work on, I have a feeling this may not be the only piece in this style for the book club project.

February - A Book With A Tree or Leaves On The Cover

Inspired by: A Place For Us (Fatima Farheen Mirza)

For my February design I wanted to take direct inspiration from the cover of the book as it related to the prompt, and also really liked the idea of it representing the family tree as the book itself is centred around a family.

I really struggled with how to use my newly created colour palette for this design, and made various versions in different colour combinations before finally settling on a simple blue and pink palette. For the lettering, I drew up my own letters for the book title, something I hadn't tried before... as you can probably tell by how shaky and uneven they are! I think that the piece would have looked much better without the lettering, and perhaps with a few more details added into the branches, so I may at some point revisit it and create an updated version. As you'll see from the next two designs, this was the point where I realised I may not want to include the book titles and authors in every month's design.

March - A Book About Siblings

Inspired by: The Most Fun We Ever Had (Claire Lombardo)

I had been wanting to draw up a pattern using ginkgo leaves for a while (they're just so pretty!) so of course I jumped at the opportunity to do so for my March design inspired by The Most Fun We Ever Had. A ginkgo tree in the garden of the family home is mentioned several times throughout the novel, and both cover designs I've seen include ginkgo leaves in some way too.

As mentioned above, this was the month I firmly decided that I didn't want to include the book's title and author in each piece as the pattern felt like a strong enough design on it's own. Again, I played around with various colour combinations, but in the end really liked the idea of highlighting one of the leaves in each bunch with a pop of yellow. This is another design I think that I may revisit, perhaps using a different colour palette, in future.

April - Written By A POC

Inspired by: Pig Heart Boy (Malorie Blackman)

I had a vision for April's design even before I had picked up the book, but honestly I really struggled to bring it to life. I've never drawn a heart before (as you can probably tell!) and also wanted to experiment with using a bit more texture and shading. I really enjoyed using different brushes in Procreate to add a little depth and texture to the initial line drawing and would definitely use this technique again.

At first, I wasn't sure about how it had turned out. I couldn't decided whether it needed more detail/florals in the background and I can certainly see a few mistakes/bits I would change, but after sitting with it for a while I actually quite like it. This piece needed to feature a heart as the main focus, and I think I managed to achieve that, even if it isn't perfect!

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