For the past few weeks I've been working on a project entitled 8x8 which is a collaboration with creative writing students from Manchester Metropolitan University. Eight students have written a short story and we get the chance to do the accompanying illustrations, with all the work being featured in a book and sold at the Didsbury Art Festival. However, only one illustration per story can be chosen to feature alongside the stories and there are two or three people working on each story!
The story I was assigned to is called 'Junctures' and is written by Anna Paldanius. The story revolves around a girl called Joy, who has a long time boyfriend called Frank. Joy cheats on Frank with a man called Jack, who she eventually falls in love with. Realising she loves two men she cannot choose who to be with and who to break up with. Eventually both men find out they have been lied to and leave her. Frank ends up killing herself and at his funeral Joy realises she loved him the most. At the end of the story, set a few years later, Jack runs into Joy and her young son. It is implied Jack or Frank are probably the father of the child but we are not told which one.
My foremost idea for the main illustration was a treasure chest with a lock in the shape of a heart. The lock has two keyholes representing that two men 'have the key' to her heart. I decided to build up a symmetrical pattern representing the two different men and the choice Joy has to make - one or the other. Surrounding the chest are various elements which symbolise the eight chapter headings in the story:
Despair - stormy sea
Joy - yellow flower
Love - heart
Innocence - acacia leaf
Decadence - bitten chocolate (self indulgence)
Anger - bull
Sorrow - teardrop
Happiness - sun
I also included playing cards to represent the chance and risk Joy is taking and arrows which suggest choice and different directions. For the spot illustration I took the elements I had already made and arranged them in the shape of a heart - I thought 'love' was the overriding theme in the story. However, I can't decide between putting yellow in the background or not...I think it ties the two pieces together but not sure if I need it or not?
I'm really pleased with the final outcomes, I think the main illustration in particular is very striking. I like the black background as it just adds a sense of darkness which the story has. The simple elements work well and I like the symmetrical look - it adds balance to the piece and gives it more of an impact as opposed to it being asymmetrical.