How to Dance- the Book

After looking back at our drawings we realised we need something to tie both the game and characters together. How would these characters learn the different dance styles? Would there be a school with lessons? How would they know which genres even existed. Bingo. A book. I remembered as a child my little sister used to have hundreds of ballet orientated guides by Osbourne. We thought that in this book we could maybe include some of the history of each species, as they may not have come into contact with on another before.

Lina,  Clíodhna and I decided to work on the book as a trio while Jakub focused on the animation. I tried to help with the colouring (I did the colour blocking for the two separate dance styles) but Jakub was a lot faster.

The three of us decided to have a look at various books and textbooks for examples of their layouts.

The books that we thought were like what we had in mind were the following:

-The Young Dancer: A Young Enthusiast’s Guide to Ballet by Darcy Bussell.

-Tap Dancing For Beginners  by the Johnson Smith Company.

-Little Ballerina Dancing Book by Fiona Watt.

We decided to complete three main pages, one for each species. Kind of like a brief introduction for the other species. On these pages we would include small footnotes on the history of the species’ dance style and music types.

After looking at these designs we realised we had three main tasks. The illustrations, the typography and the composition of the books again. We then split the three tasks between us. I was tasked with the illustrations (I requested this as I wanted to have a go at developing my digital painting skills).

Based on the our previous adaptations to of the characters to the gesture drawings, I selected the ones that I thought captured the characters the best. I first created the outline after drawing the basic gesture shapes on photoshop.


When colouring the characters I wanted to make sure they still looked like they were moving so I thought a water colour style would look best.

From a young age I’ve adored the work of Stephen Cartwright and his style is one that I wanted to replicate in my own illustrations. The book ‘The Usborne Book of Fairy Stories’ was one I cherished and the fairy illustrations match the graceful look of the dancers perfectly. Cartwright’s work looks to be done in watercolour and gives a lovely softness to the characters themselves.

Some of Stephen Cartwright’s illustrations.

Video courtesy of Usborne Publishing.

Another artist who I wanted to try and replicate was that of M.Srta. Manoli uses watercolours to create her hand painted work but this style is also reflected in her digital illustrations.

When completing the characters I decided to stick to the original colour schemes are reflected by the previous groups.

Triangle species- green.

Square species- blue/green.

Circle Species- pink/yellow.

I was really happy how these guys turned out- I think they really capture the personality of each of the characters. I experimented with keeping the line art from the original gesture drawings under the characters and found it looked better with it included. It gave a better sense of movement. I included an example of with and without the gesture drawing below.

When speaking to Clíodhna (as mentioned she was in charge of the page set up) she suggested I draw some diagrams of different feet positions/poses for the pages. The books that we had looked at included quite a lot of these.

Our next step is to complete the book by adding the images together!


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