Thursday, 13 June 2013

Photography in Sheffield Central Children's Library

I had a big problem with the mural artwork: how to do the bookshelves. I needed bookshelves to make it look like a library, but they had to be filled with books. I didn't have time to illustrate all those spines, so photo-montage seemed the obvious answer.

I originally thought I could scan in the spines of books from my bookshelves, then place them into the illustrated bookshelves in the design as above. This quickly proved impossible: picture books were way too skinny, I would have needed hundreds to fill the shelves and it was way to time consuming.

Then John came up with a different idea: we could photograph existing bookshelves instead. So I phoned Sheffield Children's Library. They were great (thanks Alexis!). They let us in early, before the library opened and were very patient with us creating chaos, moving books around, so we could get the ones I wanted in the photographs. I was mostly weeding out the black spines.

It was still far more tricky than we thought though: the library's protective, plastic jackets on the books reflected the light, so it took John ages to get his lights and camera angled correctly to minimise reflections.

Back in the studio, I took individual rows of books, cut them out in Photoshop, then used the 'distort' feature to angle them, so each row of books exactly fitted the crazy perspective of the shelves in the illustration: 

Job done (phew!).


Anonymous said...

Copyright issues with your use of those book spine images?

Lynne the Pencil said...

I did wonder about that myself, but before I went ahead I asked around author colleagues and the consensus seemed to be that it was fine, as it would be logistically impossible to seek individual permissions and it was free promotion.