VCM511 Unit Evaluation:
Over the past twelve weeks I have been creating a collection of children’s narrative recipe book, for the purposes of my project I created one fully illustrated book and two ‘dummy books’ (books with front covers and empty pages).
Children’s recipe books are written in the same methodical approach of books aimed at an older audience, admittedly there are more characters around the pages, brighter colours and simpler recipes, but past this both books are primarily the same. My goal was to engage 4-7 year old children with healthy eating and cooking through a recipe book with narrative, a book where the main characters cook on their own, and the children reading are keen to follow.
I knew from fairly early on in the project that I wanted to tackle the children’s sugary sweets and drinks market in the homes of children, in an attempt to introduce children to tasty, healthy alternatives. The Jurassic Snacks collectable paperback books were at the end of a long evolution of ideas that included a fruit crusher for kids, a ‘tasting book’ and an edible recipe book full of delicious flavours. I’m glad that I pursued the idea of a narrative recipe book because I feel like the collection of 8-step recipes, combined with Astrid and Max, create a complete product that can be adapted into other markets (e.g. fruit juices, cake mixes etc.), and the longevity of the product was something that the other ideas lacked.
I went through many different designs before I settled with Astrid and Max, the anthropomorphic dinosaurs; such as a cooking boy dressed up as a dragon, a normal boy that loved to cook, brother and sister dinosaurs, a family of cooking monkeys, and a cool-dude dinosaur. My main issue with having a dinosaur as a main character was the fact that this naturally attracts a male market to the product, which was why I began to involve Astrid into the recipes. Retrospectively perhaps my stories could have been made more appealing to both male and female 4-7 year olds by creating the story around animals that didn’t generally favour one or the other (i.e. hedgehogs, monkeys, lions etc).
I chose to have my books in paperback, against the recommendation of others; this was a decision that I made to benefit the collection as a whole, because although hardback books feel more complete in themselves, paperback books take up less space on shelves when part of a broad collection. In conjunction with this, I decided to have the front covers of the books printed on coated 300gsm paper and the inside of the books printed on uncoated 250gsm paper. The uncoated paper helped add subtle texture to the illustrations on the page, helping their colour jump out, and making each page feel satisfying to touch.
In the final month before the unit of work was due, my project turned into a race against time; I had 3 books to illustrate with 8 illustrations each (minus the covers) and each illustration took around 3-4 hours each. My lecturers advised me that my concept was made clear by just one of my books, and that they’d rather see 1 book executed well (with 2 ‘dummy books’) than 3 books executed quickly. This was an abrupt change to my working pattern, but a change that helped me produce a book that I am proud of, rather than 3 that had been thrown together. Had I thought more about it, I would have realised this myself and given myself more time to spend on my book to make it perfect, I think that I got too wrapped up in the illustration side of things as I accidentally let the project management side slip.
Overall I am very happy with the body of work that I have produced for VCM511, and it is probably my strongest work to date. I was overjoyed with the service and quality that Purely Digital offered me for my prints, and I would definitely consider them again; had I been able to afford it, I would have had the dummy books printed and perfect bound with them too, as I wasn’t as happy with these prints in comparison. I felt like I stuck to my Learning Agreement and Time Plan very well over the course of the project, of course had I set my self 1 complete book rather than 3 complete books as my task in the beginning I could have spent more time on the illustrations and the general construction of the collection. Had I done this, I would have liked to produce more dummy books to show the longevity of the collection, perhaps a box to store them, posters, merchandise, or even a mocked-up magazine to run alongside the collection.