Friday, 1 March 2013

Designing a Mural for a Children's Library

A rather unusual project has come my way...

Wakefield's central library is a brand new building (I did some storytelling to help celebrate the opening in November). There is a very long, very empty wall running through the children's library. It's supposed to be decorated with a mural. The mural was part of the original building contract, but the various designs offered were apparently awful and the librarian's rejected them all.

So, I got an email asking if I had any ideas. Everyone thought it would be a good idea to involve local children in some way, so I dedicated one of my long train journeys to giving it thought.

Which is why I was in Wakefield again this week. 

I didn't really fancy painting onto the actual wall: that's very much out of my comfort zone, especially as it's over 12 metres long (!). Yikes. 

My idea was to bring a couple of school groups into the library for illustration workshops and get them to draw (on paper) various animals chasing one another through the library (books flying everywhere, horrified librarians...). I would then take these home, scan in my favourites, and use Photoshop to combine them into one long, digital illustration, which I could simply send to a printer, to have made into panels, to attach to the wall.

Which all sounds kind of straightforward, doesn't it?. Hah! If only.

The workshops were the easy bit - they went really well and we had a lot of fun together. The children did some smashing illustrations, which they've taken back to school, to finish colouring in.

But, when the drawings come back next week,
 I have to play around, grouping them in different ways, 
designing the mural's layout. Which means I need to get the individual animals to a scale where I can move them around in a space the same shape as the actual wall. This is the tricky bit. 

Even scaled right down, the wall is too long and thin to look at on the computer as a whole, but I don't have a real-life space anything like big enough to lay out the actual children's drawings on the floor. Hmmmm.....

Plus, even when I have somehow designed the mural and scanned in all the drawings, 
I'll need to create the final, digital artwork in several sections: even at one quarter size, the entire file will be so massive, it would crash the computer several times over!!

I'll let you know how things progress...

In the meantime, I hope you like these watercolour pencil sketches, which I did on my way to Wakefield on Wednesday morning. 


Sue Pownall said...

Gosh I like the way you have tackled the mural's design - good luck on the next part.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Cheers Sue - I might well need it...

Julie Clay Illustration said...

Sounds like you have a brilliant idea there Lynne, I'm sure your creations will look great. The process does sound complex, there must be a way of compressing the files to send, or via one of those 'You Send It' type methods which allow large files to be sent?? I shall have to pay the library a visit, (seeing as most other libraries are now closed) when you get this done, it's just up the road! :)

Cathy Holtom said...

Sounds complicated but a great idea. Good luck!

theartofpuro said...

The watercolor pencils are amazing and your post is fantastic:)what a great idea to use chldren for this project,hope you'll post it when finished:)
The cirque sketches are wonderful:)
Love your War elephant:)

Aneesah said...

Hi Lynne!

Perhaps it might be worth looking into converting the images into vector graphics (eg. Adobe Illustrator) somehow? They are scale-able without losing quality, which makes me think the file sizes might be lower than usual bitmaps.

I'm not entirely sure though, being a vector newbie myself!

Me said...

this is so cool! please let us know how it procedes--images etc!!!