MSND Cover Design

To come up with an idea for a cover design for my ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ graphic novel, I looked back on the text about the history of the flower, that I believe to be similar to that of a hallucinogenic drug. It is described as “a little western flower; Before, milk-white; now purple with love’s wound: And maidens call it Love-in-Idleness.” The juices of the flower are dropped into the eye in order to produce hallucinations, so I believed the best way to illustrate this would to have a flower as an eye or and eye as a flower. I also wanted the illustration itself to be influenced by 60s posters, referencing their drug-filled, hippy lifestyles, with organic curves, bold lines and text that merges with the image.
Below shows my development of how I got to the final product. The pansies that I have superimposed onto my illustration were originally some ink and acrylic paintings of mine:

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Graphic Novel Roughs: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Our new brief is to produce four A4 pages of a graphic novel and a front cover design for Shakespeare’s play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream, however it must be based in the 21st century. After reading the play I realised I was drawn to the fairy characters Tatiana, Oberon and Puck, and their relationship with one another. Tatiana and Oberon’s main fascination is the “little changeling boy” and I wanted to make this a vocal point in my representation of the story. I was also interested in the the “Love-in-Idleness”, also known as the Viola Tricolour, which is a type of pansy. In the story, this flower’s juices has the power to make “man or woman madly dote Upon the next live creature that it sees” when poured into their eyes while sleeping. In my interpretation I saw this flower as a hallucinogenic drug. So I then twisted the whole plot line, making Tatiana into a drug addict divorcee who is incapable of looking after her child to Oberon even though she won custody of him. My version takes a similar approach to Mike Leigh’s ‘Life is Sweet’ whereby a family deals with the ups and downs of everyday life, earning the name of a tragicomic.
Below is my initial storyboard and sketched panels for the graphic novel:

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9-Panel

I decided to enter into a 9-panel comic page spread competition for ‘Frog Bros Comics and Books’ shop, of which they wanted you to come up with a narrative to do with the apocalypse, but unfortunately there can be NO inclusion of zombies, as they have been done to death! The winner gets to draw/paint their designed comic page onto the comic book shop’s door, so I feel I have already made it difficult for myself to get chosen with my dark story line, but I had fun making it either way so I submitted it nonetheless.

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Irritant Eye

I wanted to take the close up even closer and decided to illustrate a blown up picture of me holding up the eyelid of my own eye. I really enjoyed this exercise as it allowed me to put detail into my drawing that I probably would have missed if it was drawn on a smaller scale. However I felt the charcoal drawing didn’t quite fit with my theme of uncomfortableness, so I added a reddish tone to the inner fleshy part of the eyelid and along the blood vessels to indicate irritation.

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Unsettling Close Ups

I’m currently working on a series of images that unsettle and disgust the viewer. I’m hoping that by the angle I draw them they will turn out film-like and cinematic to fit in with my brief – basically I’m trying to go for a close-up, bloody nosed Uma Thurman from Pulp fiction sort of scene! So far I’ve thought of facial injections, eye licking, tongue cutting; anything that causes repulsion really. Let me know if you have any other ideas? Once I’ve completed the set I’ll put them all up together.

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