FMP – SCHWARZMALEN – Preparation

Why am I using Farber Castel Polychromous?

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils
My favourite, they are easy to blend, the intensity of the colour was not comparable with the others, they are easy to apply with not too much pressure, colour range with 120 pencils is the largest I found

I compared:

  • Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils
  • Caran D’Ache Luminance Colored Pencils
  • Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
  • Derwent Artists Pencils

Paper choice:

Three different papers/brands suited my criteria, all were smooth and hot pressed:

  • Arches : Aquarelle : Roll : 140lb : 300gsm : 1.13x9m : Hot Pressed
    The watercolour paper is acid-free and chlorine free, made of 100% cotton fibres which provide strength and stability. The paper comes in a tube, is scrubbing, scratching and erasing resistant without fading. The paper uses no brighteners and is from a natural white, that will not turn yellow with time. Arches Aquarelle is suited for watercolour, gouache, pen and ink, acrylics and calligraphy.
    Both biro and coloured pencil worked very good on the paper, the colours were vibrant, the surface smooth as was the flow of the biro. I choose this paper for the project because it convinced in every category as was it available for order as a roll.
  • Fabriano : Artistico : Roll : 4.5x33ft : 1.4x10m : 140lb : 300gsm : Hot Pressed
    As Arches is Fabriano acid-free and chlorine free, made of 100% cotton fibres. The paper comes in as well in a tube, is scrubbing, scratching and erasing resistant without fading, uses no brighteners, is naturally white, and age resistant. Different from the arches paper is this paper watermarked: “FABRIANO+ARTISTICO” on the short side. The paper is suited for watercolour, tempera, gouache, acrylic, ink, charcoal, graphite and drawing and printmaking.
    The paper from Fabriano was very white which I disliked, as well as the fact that the watermark was very dominant on the big sheet and would disturb from the actual drawing. Otherwise was it very similar to the Arches paper.

  • Saunders Waterford : Roll : 300gsm : 140lb : 1.52x10m : Hot Pressed
    Is as well a watercolour paper made of 100% cotton fibre, acid-free and chlorine free, however with more structure than the other two, because is made in a cylinder mould. The paper comes as well in a tube, is scrubbing, scratching and erasing resistant without fading. Waterford uses no brighteners, is naturally white, and will not turn yellow, it is suited for watercolour, gouache, pen and ink, acrylics and calligraphy.
    The Waterford paper, which I used for many previous projects where I only used biro did not convince me. The sheet was not suited for the colour pencils due to its rough grain structure even though I chose HP.

Penguin Book Cover Competition Brief Week 3 Editing

When I started to scan the illustrations, I planned to make two Cover designs and decide between the two for one.

When I added the cup to the design template and added all the other information as title, author and book information I was not sure about the size of the cup. I made the cover in two versions a bigger and smaller cup version. For the font, I used Avenir, a geometric sans-serif typeface. The French word “Avenir” means future. The font was designed by the Swiss typeface designer Adrian Frutiger. For me, the word fitted the time aspect that is the main theme in Hawking’s book. The combination of the old cup and the new font is a design choice I did on purpose. Not only do I think the font goes well with the design but also with the meaning, it adds a nearly poetic side to the cover. By using different sizes of the font, I give the content a visible hierarchy—titles and subtitles are bigger than other parts — to make parts stand out.

Before I finished the second Milky Way drawing, I used my test sketch to make a mock-up cover. The galaxy spreads here over the front to the back cover, in the darker areas are the info featured in a Chicago similar font called Silom. Chicago is the sans-serif typeface designed by Susan Kare for Apple Computer. Chicago was the first font to be developed for the Macintosh and is the closest font compared to the one Hawking uses on his, from Intel designs Computer device, which made the font perfect for the cover.

However, when I changed the image for the finished illustration, a problem occurred. There was less black space on the back cover and spine, which is why I had to come up with a solution so that the text is still visible. I added a white, half transparent box under the text, so the text was visible again.

When I finished the second cover I could not decide that I wanted to do as my final piece, so I thought about combining both ideas, and making a cover for both ideas. I started to experiment with both images, taking the cup and adding it to the Milky Way cover. The cup was flying now as an asteroid like piece through space.

This cover was my favourite; it combines both my ideas, are scientific and poetic.

Penguin Book Cover Competition Brief Week 3

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During week three, I focused on finishing the drawings for the cover design:

The dotwork of the Milky Way consumed much more time than I first expected, it was difficult to keep track of the structures, and the sections I already finished. This was mainly due to the point that I was not used to the technique and to the motive itself. I was drawing from several reference pictures because I did not want to work from an image that I have not taken myself. However, could I not take an image of the Milky Way myself, so I had to work from reference pictures.

I finished the drawing the drawing, quite pleased with the illustration itself; I improved what I wanted to improve from my first sketch. The illustration was more detailed and more complex than the first one. The fact that it was drawing on an A3 sheet and not an A4 made it possible to reduce the illustration by 50 percent which made the illustration look even more detailed and finer because the dots got smaller and closer. This made the dots further on edge more look like as the Fogg they where supposed to depict in the first place.

While I was finishing the Milky Way piece, I started the cup drawing with the biro.

I worked from the pictures I made in the second week, using the second cup I broke. I started with the two biggest pieces and then arranged the rest of the fragments around those two pieces. I decided to leave shadows out because I liked the way the pieces seem to float in an undefined space. It made me think of space and asteroids that move through it. I moved the pieces on the paper, so they would fit onto it, however, since I planned to scan the illustration later into the computer was layout and composition not as important at this moment.

Penguin Book Cover Competition Brief Week 2

The second week started with me searching for different cups, and breaking them; I found two different ones that I liked:

  • An espresso cup, which however broke not the way I wanted. It did not break as much as it burst into little fragments, which left me with pieces that did not look like a cup anymore. This might have happened due to the way I broke it or the actual material of the cup. I broke the cup by letting it fall off a table, as Hawing describes it in his book.
  • A vintage coffee cup that was exacly what I was looking for. I bought it second hand and broke it compared to the espresso cup more controlled. I wrapped it in a towel and broke it with a hammer. The cup did not burst into hundreds of pieces but broke into not more than 15 pieces that were big enough to draw.

The next thing I did was to choose the pen that I wanted to use for the dotwork that I wanted to do from the milky way. I tried both pens, the Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen was to thick for what I wanted to do, but the Sakura Gelly Roll Classic Gel Pen was better in size for what I planned to do. Both pens were the same in colour, smoothness and opaqueness, so the tip thickness was the only criterium I had to consider.

While I was researching for the cup idea did I start sketching the piece for the Milky Way. I have never worked with dotwork and first had to get used to the method. I was very much inspired by Petra Kostova and Xavier Casalta. After I finished
the first sketch I realised that it was not the right paper that I was drawing on so I switched from black Carb’on to Cartridge Paper. I also decided to change the sizes from A4 to A3 to draw bigger and then to scale the image down on the cover to get a more detailed image.

Penguin Book Cover Competition Brief Week 1

When we received the PCCB I felt immediately drawn to the Stephen Hawking book, so I decided to choose the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award Cover.
I started reading the book earlier than the brief officially started and watched some documentaries on the topic. I began my research for the brief in the first week. I focused on other book covers, the book itself, the author, and moreover the milky way and the cup that Hawking uses as an example.

Milky Way Galaxy.

This galaxy is very important for humans because it is the galaxy that we see from the earth, and the earth is part of this galaxy. The Milky Way is a barred spiral,  imilar to many others in the universe.

The Milky May was often also called a river, milk, and as a path. It is a quite visible galaxy in the sky, depending on the conditions it is looked at. The Earth is part of this Galaxy, however further out, so from Earth seen is the centre of the galaxy visible. The solar system o the Earth sits on the outer edges of one arm. The Milky Way is constantly mooving, more precise in a rotating movement and the sun and our solar system travel with it. The centre of the Milky Way is formed by gas, dust, and stars.

In the very centre, however, is a monstrous black hole, which is billions of times bigger than the sun of our solar system. The hole might have been sampler, however, grew bigger over the centuries, because it feeds on free matter and stars.
Most galaxies have black holes in their centre and even though they can not see, do scientists believe in black holes and see the effects they
have on the galaxies.

The Milky Way is always visible when the sky is clear, however, does the surrounding/location affect the visibility of the galaxy. City light, fire and dust make it harder to see the whole night sky. However, in locations with little or non-human pollution, the Milky Way is visible to the naked human eye. This includes places like:

  • The Sahara
  • Namibia
  • Atacama Desert, Chile
  • La Palma, Canary Islands
  • Himalayas
  • Wyoming, US

I have always been interested in the sky, starts and especially the Milky Way and was very interested in what Hawking said about it because it is such an unknown and vital topic, not only in his book.


The arrow of time:
He is talking about the difference between forwarding and backwards directions of the real time in the regular life and an imagined universe. In this case, he uses an example of a water cup that is falling from the edge of a table and breaking into pieces once hitting the floor (see image).

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If one would film this falling cup and would play the tape backwards, it would be easy to tell that it is recording because it is against nature that a cup would behave like that.
The tape only makes sense in one direction, a cup only falls and brakes, it cannot jump back from the ground, returns into its unbroken state on the table and sits there as nothing happened. Time goes for us only in one direction this is also called an arrow of time, something that distinguishes the past from the present and future, giving a direction to time. However, there are three different arrows of time:

  • the thermodynamical arrow of time (direction in which disorder increases)
  • psychological arrow of time (the way how we feel time passes)
  • cosmological arrow of time (the direction the universe is expanding)

Hawinks, however, is playing with these arrows, thinking what would happen when the time would run backwards. In other words, if the universe would shrink instead of expanding. People would live their life backwards, would grow younger than older and finally would die before they would have been born. It is one of the most accessible but most essential rules of time. Time only runs in one direction: forward.

After the end of the first week, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do. I tried to focus on two images, the Milky Way and the cup which were from the beginning very compelling for me. This was due to different reasons:

  • The Milky way always fascinated me, and it was something I have not seen on a book cover yet.It would be a motive that made me pick up a book because it is something familiar, poetic, and interesting at the same time.
  • The cup was for me such a simple way to describe and explain such complex and abstract topic as the direction of time (the arrow of time). Everyone could relate to this example, everyone could understand it, but only if one read the book.

I started to sketch the cup several of times while I was reading the book. However, after several tries to sketch a broken cup I realised that I was not possible to me to do this without a reference picture. I did not want to use third party images, which meant I had to find, buy and break a cup myself. This was harder than I thought since the cup hat to meet the aesthetic that I imagined for the project.

Traces Week 4 – 2/2


After compleating the drawings at the end of week 3 and putting them into InDesign, sending them to the printer, I picked them up in the morning and went to university to trim, cut and bind.

While I was thinking at the beginning to use a ring binding method or a spiral, did I change my mind about it and decided to perfect binding due to its simplicity and clean, minimalistic look. I will leave the spine open, the single paces only hold together by the glue and three pieces of white thread. In a way, you can trace the making process through this open spine.

The finished resul is the 6×6 cm small book with a with of 1.5 cm, the spine allows me to bopen the book easily compleatly:






Flip through the book online on my Instagram page:



Traces Week 3

After last week (week 2) when I had 25 little drawings finished, that showed “traces”. I worked since then on the series of 50 little drawings up to this week (week 3). I finished the series, and after the weekly tutorial I figured out that I will bind the drawings in a small book not wider than a smartphone screen of an iPhone 7. This would mean the book would be 6cm wide and since I paid to make it squared that would mean each page would be 6x6cm. I scanned all of the drawings and place them on the 6x6cm square centred in a 2x2cm square with a 2cm wide free on all sides around it. This would be similar to what I posted on my Instagram account:

This step does have a specific effect on the drawings, the images have not only more space to breath on the page, but it also connects the seemingly random picked objects and things with each other through the consistency of the format, positioning and spacing. Another thing is that It seems to make the images more precise, due to that they think the human eye is connecting the marks on the paper and makes the things look more real in small/miniature than in their original drawn size.

Once I decided on the book idea I had to pick a title and even if titles such as “Left behind”, “forgotten”, “never forgotten” all seemed appealing did they not really fit each and every illustration. Everything looked okay, but the actual title of the project appeared to be the most accurate one, it described the project enough without telling too much/ giving too much away from the content of the book.

After a talk with my tutor Charly and the tutor group I decided on using no actual words in my book, I decided to draw words, as I did on the post-it’s, newspaper etc. but not to actually write. So I made another illustration of a clouded window on which “someone” wrote traces with their finger and to add my name to the book, I wrote my name on the “Hello-my-name-is” sticker to added it on the back cover of the book.

When I started thinking about the order of the images of the book did I first thought I would order them chronological the order I drew them. However, would that mean that similar topics would come after each other (3 post-it’s, a grave, candle and a bone, a lost glove, a lost and found box and a missing cat) but I did not want this. So my next idea was that I tile each of the images, organise them alphabetical which worked better than chronological but did another problem occurs: 5 images in primary red after each other, 2 post-it’s very close to each other. So I decided to follow the advice of my tutor coup and tutor and order them randomly so that those problems won’t occur.

Binding why was I thinking about perfect or ring binding, however, I will decide this once I receive the prints from the printer on Monday the 29th at 2 pm. I used the printing facilities from digital art in Greenwich that do professional Colour Managed Fine Art & Photographic Giclée Printing. I decided to print my images on A2 Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm (smooth matt finish) and then to cut the pictures in the right format. The prints are onesided, and with the white border, I have the freedom of choice with binding.