As I was entering my last semester at the University of Tampa, I realized I hadn’t put much thought into my Senior Project. During the past several years I have been brainstorming ideas for the project, but never had a clear idea set in stone. I knew I would have to complete a Senior Project by the end of my undergrad but felt constricted on choosing a specific project until I knew I had all the skills necessary for making a successful Senior Project. In mid-January, I finally decided to pursue a Digital Illustration Children’s Book. Since I had only brainstormed this idea at that point, I didn’t have a clear path that I was going to follow. Therefore, I was creating a project completely by scratch, knowing I could face various obstacles along the way.
During the first month and beginning stages of planning my Senior Project, I decided on creating a twenty paged children’s book. The book would consist of 20 pages total, but only ten pages of illustrations. The other pages would consist of just text. Throughout my life, I have achieved excellence through my ability to manage my time. Since I have had a full semester to complete this project, I have been able to manage my time to the point where I have created several rounds of drafts before completing my final book.
In January, I began creating my Senior Project by brainstorming illustration ideas and the written story with just a paper and pen. I would create two or three pages at a time and would then pursue those ideas on Adobe Illustrator. Therefore, I was brainstorming on paper and on my computer simultaneously. I continued with this process until I reached a total of ten illustrations. At the end of the first stage, I had a total of ten drafts both on paper and my computer.
By the end of February, I entered the second round of editing. At this point, I had ten drafted illustrations. I also had a general understanding of what my book would look like. For my second round of editing, I began focusing on one illustration at a time. During the first round, I would work on several in the same sitting. For this stage of editing, I began re-fixing my characters and then also brainstorming ideas for background sceneries. For me, the most important part of this process was creating my two main characters. The two characters I am referring to are Clare, the child, and Ricky the Robot Dog. While each illustrated page differentiates from one another, both characters are featured on each page of the digital illustration book.
As I was finalizing my second phase of editing, I decided to enhance my senior project by creating animated GIFs for my characters. Through using Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere I created a GIF for both Clare and Ricky. To create these animations, I took two of my already existing illustrations and converted them over to moving animations. I used Photoshop timelines to create a basic animation and then converted them over into Premiere. I believe that creating GIFS for my characters enhanced my overall senior project and helps highlight more of my technical skills within New Media.
By the beginning of April, I was nearing the last stage of editing and adding the last finishing touches to my digital book. Similarly, to the last round, I split up my time by editing one individual design at a time. Each time I finished an illustrated page, I would add it to a finalized booklet in InDesign. I worked chronologically so that once I reached the last page, the Senior Project would be complete. During this last round of editing, I focused mainly on adding more landscapes and detail to both the characters and scenery. By doing so, I believe that my digital book comes to life and looks much more complete, than with just a simple design on each page.
As I approach graduation within only a matter of weeks, I am extremely proud of the work I have created at the University of Tampa over the past four years, and especially this past semester. I am particularly proud of my work because of how much time and effort I have spent creating quality content. I have made my education a priority my entire life and it has paid off. I have grown to love Adobe Suite and especially creative illustration. By creating a Digital Illustration Book for my Senior Project, I have been able to showcase a variety of skills within the many genres of New Media I have learned while at the University of Tampa. I also have incorporated some of the skills I have learned along the way individually. By creating animations, I have only added to my already existing skillset.
After finishing my project, I am excited to add my illustration book to my professional portfolio. I have made my Digital Illustration Book available on both my Portfolio and by PDF. In my profession, it is important to remain well-rounded in a variety of skills within new media. I believe that my Digital Illustration Book will help me stand out amongst my peers and help showcase a skill that not everyone in the business has attempted to create themselves.