Showing posts with label characterisation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label characterisation. Show all posts

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Penguin Who Didn't Like Snow

Well, I have finished the synopsis of my new Urban Sketching book and it has gone off to the publisher. I have organised my ideas into 15 chapters and, though I say so myself, it feels pretty thorough, but we'll see what my editor thinks. I'm really looking forward to getting down to it (though not looking forward to trawling through dozens of sketchbooks, trying to find the right images to illustrate it...).

In the meantime, I needed to crack on with my latest illustration project. It's called The Penguin Who Didn't Like Snow by Julie Anna Douglas. Poor little Mo the penguin - he feels the cold and ends up running off to Acapulco. You can see above that I spent some time working things out in my sketchbook and then drawing ideas up on layout paper. 

I wanted to illustrate Mo lazing on the exotic, Acapulco beach. I suddenly remembered a sketch I did when we were on holiday a few years back, in Costa Rica: palm trees, rain forest down to the sand...

The sketch was just the ticket as reference for the background, as you can see below, in the rough which I sent to the publisher: 

The text is a poem and it's an editorial job this time, rather than a picture book, so just the one spread to do. It's being published in the Nov/Dec edition of Spider, a children's magazine aimed at the American market. Let's hope the Art Director likes my idea. Keep you posted!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

New Film: How I Design My Picture Book Illustrations

Yes, at last John and I have got another film finished - hurrah! 

I thought it might be interesting to use the work I have been doing on Julia Jarman's story, Jungle Grumble, to talk people through how my picture book illustrations are created. 

This is the first of two films about creating a set of roughs (the next one will be out in a week or so). This first film talks you through how I get from a simple sheet of typed text, emailed from the publisher, to a set of finished designs. 

I show you how thumbnail drawings work as a great way of capturing first thoughts, then how those are enlarged and redrawn in various stages. I talk about using a layout template and how I work around the text and the central gutter. I don't like to draw at a computer, but it is still an invaluable tool and I explain in the film how I use it to move the drawings forward.

The films John and I have created over the last year have been made as a direct result of writing this blog. Telling my readers about what I do has been really useful for me, as it makes me analyse my process and consider precisely what it is I am doing at the various stages. When you've been doing something for so many years, it can be hard to explain it to other people, because so much of the process becomes second nature.

If there is any aspect of my work which you would like to know more about, do please let me know. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the film. If you do, please leave me a comment. And it would be wonderful if you could help me by spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook etc, because every little helps!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Pastel Artwork, One Stage at a Time...

I spent a 2nd day on my lion-in-the-tree illustration, then I decided to stop for a while: I felt the need to finish it later, after working a bit on the other, more complex spread. This might sound odd but, when I am working on a new project, it can take a while to warm up, so it's not unusual for me to have to go back later and alter the first piece of artwork. Since I'm in a hurry, I thought I'd try and avoid that.

The other Jungle Grumble spread, where all the animals have swapped bits and are parading their new look, was always going to be something of a marathon. My poor old lion has been sitting patiently on hold for ages. Just tracing the rough of this spread up into the pastel paper took a fair while. This is the artwork after the first day:

I mainly concentrated on getting the background colours and textures established. For obvious reasons, in pastels, you always work from the back to the front. I want to keep the background painterly and vague, so it doesn't compete with the animals. I then got Flamingo's colours in early, as they are the brightest and the darkest tones, so help me to guage the rest. 

After day 2, I had a few more animals in and had got the white areas down, again to establish the brightest tones (even though they will be largely covered by giraffe and zebra prints):

Below is after a third day. It seemed to take ages to get not that far forward, but things always slow up as I go along. That's partly the pastels: they are really quick for blocking areas in, but very fiddly for detail. This piece it even trickier than usual: having the animals chopped up, means I can't rely on their shape to identify their bits, which must still all be clearly spottable. I took ages getting crocodile's textures right:

After the fourth day, things felt even less different! I mainly worked on the animal patterns, although we also now have the ostrich:

I am not very patient and hate having a piece on my desk for so long. Normally at this point, when things have slowed to a crawl, I would begin a new piece, to get back some momentum, and come back to finish off. This time there was no choice but to keep going. At least I could see that it was going to work well.   

By the way, you might be able to notice a completely un-worked area in the top left, where the lion is sitting. I have left this until last, as I still have to design the 'swap shop'. One of the main changes the publisher requested to my roughs, was that the changing rooms be made of all natural materials, rather than a curtain:

I have decided to go with big banana leaves, as I am concerned that frondy leaves will be way too fussy. I've left it til last so I could make my decision with the rest of the illustration there. 

It took another full day to get it done - 5 days is something of a record I think. For the purposes of dramatic tension, I will wait and show you the finished piece next time, so watch this space...

Friday, 30 August 2013

Blue Bottoms and Funny Faces

It sometimes makes me laugh: as an illustrator you catch yourself having very serious conversations about the funniest subjects. This time it was blue bottoms. Julia Jarman wrote a Blue-Bottomed Baboon into The Jungle Grumble. He of course wants to swap his bum for something different (he ends up with Zebra's stripy tail in its place, but that's by the by).

The thing is, when I did my photo-search for reference, not one single photo of a baboon's blue bum came up. There were plenty of the disturbingly swollen, red ones, which look like they've been inflated (built-in cushion?), but no blue ones. However, a photo of a mandrill's blue bottom did appear. I hadn't heard of a mandrill: it's a bit baboony, but with a face like an explosion at a cosmetics counter.

A bit more research told me that there was no such thing as a blue bottomed baboon. So I emailed my publisher, who emailed Julia, who texted me. According to Wikipedia, the mandrill is often referred to as a baboon, so we thought we could get away with me drawing the mandrill instead. That suited me, as mandrills look so bonkers. Also, to be honest, I don't especially like drawing baboons: their faces are hard to get right (I drew baboons-in-pantaloons in Lark in the Ark). 

That's when I did this sketch of a mandrill's head (on a giraffe's neck, naturally).

The only snag is that mandrills don't have monkey tails - they have short, rough tails, more like a goat. I thought that might be a little bit confusing in the final illustrations, especially given that our mandrill would have to give his tail to someone else when he swapped his bum. 

More emails...

I was just discussing the ethics of sticking a baboon's tail onto a mandrill, when my editor found another blue-bottomed monkey. 

The lesula monkey was only discovered in 2007. It has a perfect monkey tail and a slightly less obscene-looking bottom than the mandrill (if you ignore the rather prominent, blue dangly bits - I won't be drawing them):

So we decided to change again and use the lesula monkey. Since nobody will have heard of a lesula, we are going to just call him Monkey. This was my first sketch of him:

His face is equally as funny as the mandrill's, just in a different way - sort of weird, with hauntingly human eyes and a puff-ball head:

After a few more drawings to better develop his character, this is what I think he is going to look like in the book:

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New Demonstration Films: How to Draw Bears

John has now finished editing together the films we shot recently. There are five new films altogether. 

The ones that are entirely new are three demonstrations, showing how to draw the bears from Bears on the Stairs. I take them one at a time, sketching them in pencil and talking you through what I am doing and why, as I go along. First I tackle the Big Bear, and draw him sliding down the banisters:

Then I do the small-but-growly Little Bear, pulling a rude face:

In the third film I draw the fat koala, picking his nose:

The other two films we've uploaded are remakes of the How to Draw a Cat film we made some time ago. We were never very happy with the fact that some of the initial sketching is not very visible. In hindsight, I also felt that the introduction, though full of interesting information, might be a bit annoying if all you wanted was a drawing lesson. 

So, as part of the revamp, we have split it into two films. Part 1 is me talking to camera about the various cat characters I have created for my books and how I use reference to create the poses, a lot of which has been re-shot, providing close-ups of my illustrations as I talk:

Part 2, the drawing demo, we did from scratch. But because I didn't want to just repeat what I had done before, I chose a different illustration to draw. It's the same kitten as before, but this time I talk you through created the illustration from Baby Can Bounce, where she is sharing an ice-cream with a little spider friend:

If you have the time, do please take a look at them and let me know what you think. I would also be interesting to hear if you have any thoughts about films you would like to see. Oh, and please don't forget to 'share' the links if you like them, so more people get to see them.


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Characterisation - Turning Real Animals into Picture Book Characters

There are 10 different animals featured in The Jungle Grumble. I collected lots of photo reference via Google Images (how did we survive before?) to help me sketch the animals into my 'thumbnail' roughs. Of course they were only titchy, as each thumbnail spread, like the one below, is only about 2 inches high. 

I was drawing much larger versions of each animal when I was designing the crazy combos, but at that stage I wasn't fretting too much about characterisation, just visualising how the 'bits' might fit together: 

All this has proved a great way to loosen up. Usually, I start work on a new book with the characterisation, which is by no means the easiest part. This means that I generally have a day or two of agony and extreme grumpiness, before I warm up (John gives me a very wide berth!) 

This time, having planned all my spreads in miniature, I then went back to sort out the characterisation. Because the swapping will make the illustrations quite complex and tricky to 'read', I don't want to dress the animals (usually a good way to help establish character), or even to accessorise them, as I did in An Itch to Scratch where the animals were unclothed. 

Which means that it all has to be done through face and body language. You can see from the sketches here, that I draw the face of the creature again and again, trying different things out:

The idea is to use the photo reference to get basic shapes and key features that make an animal look, well... like itself. Then I play around with nose shapes, eye height etc, creating variations on the theme. Each time you alter a feature, you get a different, unique individual, which suggests a different personality. Some look more male, some female. Some are more successful, others not. Generally speaking, they get stronger with each drawing.

This is a very important part of the illustration process: the reader has to believe in each animal, not just as any old giraffe, but as a specific giraffe. I get the personality started in my sketch then, if it is 'alive', the reader will enlarge on this in their imagination.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Planning the Layouts with Thumbnails

I am still beavering away on Jungle Grumble from my makeshift, armchair workstation. It's not too bad at all. I have most things at my fingertips and the laptop to use for reference photos for the various animals. No scanner though, which is why the images here are not quite as crisp as usual - sorry about that.

Having worked out how the animals all change, I now have to plan the pencil illustrations for the whole book. I have been trying some layout ideas in these little thumbnail sketches. 

I don't normally work with thumbnails - I prefer to draw full size from the start (so much of the humour in my work derives from facial expressions and subtle body language). However, big drawings take longer, especially if I need to visualise several different versions before I get it right, and I am slightly concerned about the deadline for this project. I have to get all the roughs, plus a couple of pastel spreads done by the end of September, ready for the publisher to take the project to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where they will be looking for co-edition interest. 

I have a few other commitments in there too, plus it's a rather complex book, with a cast of 10 main characters, plus sundry others, all of whom are different creatures, so need characterising individually.

Anyway, that's why I am working smaller and, I have to say, I have found it quite OK, as long as I also do occasional larger drawings alongside. 

I feel as though I am getting used to the animals as I am going along too so, hopefully, when I start drawing them a bit bigger next week, they will have already adopted many of their individual characteristics.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hippos with Wings...

This week, I have begun work on a new picture book - hurrah! 

Even better, it's another story by my favourite partner-in-crime, the wonderful Julia Jarman. We have a very similar sense of humour and have done lots of books together, including Class Two at the Zoo and Bears on the Stairs

This new one is quite a challenge.  It is a very simple story,  but calls for decidedly surreal illustrations. It's called The Jungle Grumble (at the moment anyway) and is about a bunch of discontented animals. They think their bum is too big, pattern too boring, their nose is too long etc. There is much grumbling, until clever old Lion sets up a Swap-Shop changing room. You can guess what happens next. 

The major challenge was working out whose unwanted body-parts to give to whom. The text gives me nine named animals to work with (plus Lion, who is far too sensible to do any swapping). I wanted to swap more than one part and ideally not just make it a direct exchange, but have more of a general shuffle around.

I made notes, but this very quickly became way too complicated, because I had to keep track of who was missing which essentials, as much as who had acquired what. I eventually discovered the answer was to cut out bits of paper, label them up with all the swap-able bits and pieces, then move them around, mixing and matching, until I had a full set of interesting combos. 

The other tricky bit was making sure there was enough of the original animal's head left to allow them to remain identifiable. Because of my recent op, I have been working from an armchair (rather nice), with my foot up on a cushion on the coffee table, and a makeshift drawing board resting on my knees. 

I started by just seeing what on earth my various creations would look like:

The results are bonkers. These are first sketches, so still extremely subject to change and refinement, but I can already see that it's going to look pretty unusual! 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Opening the Wakefield Library Mural

Yes, my mural is up!! We had an official opening on Thursday. 

The printing company, Art Display, put it up while I was away in Barcelona. It was printed onto a very high quality wallpaper then pasted onto the wall - much easier than painting in situ:

I am thrilled to bits with how it looks. It has such impact in the space and, because of the big, colourful characters, you can easily see it from the street, through the library's front window, so I'm hoping it will lure children in. Luckily all the library team at Wakefield are very proud of it too. 

To create the characters, I worked with Y3 classes from two local schools, St Austins Catholic Primary and Flanshaw Primary. Everyone's favourite was 'the gorilla with the blue boobies', as Andy Wright, the Library Manager, put it. The gorilla was created by Ben, who based his character on my Big Gorilla in An Itch to Scratch. Ben's version definitely has a little something extra though, and the Gorilla Fun Book he's borrowing from the library is a lovely finishing touch. Well done Ben! 

The library team have been rushing around, trying to get the mural up and ready before the end of the school year, as we wanted to invite the original school groups back for the opening day. The children got to see their work for the first time since our original workshop in the Spring, and seemed quite overawed by it all. 

We were joined for our celebrations by Councillor David Jagger (Portfolio Holder for Culture, Sport and Libraries), as well as the Service Manager for Libraries and Richard from Art Display

After the speeches and photos, I did a storytelling / workshop for the children. The mural was inspired by Dragon's Dinner, but we looked at that last time we met, so I let them choose which book they wanted me to read and the overwhelming winner was good old Stinky!.

The children relaxed a bit once we got underway and they all really got stuck into the drawing:

It was a lovely day and so thrilling to see my work writ so large. So, a big thank you to Andy and Alison at Wakefield Library for organising Thursday, and of course for commissioning me to do the artwork in the first place. 

So, if you have a boring wall in your school or library, you now know where to come...

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Library Mural: Designing the Layout

A while ago I mentioned a mural project that I am doing, based on children's drawings created during an illustration workshop, focussing on characterisation and movement. The wall I have to cover, at Wakefield Library, is over 13 metres long, but only 2 metres high - very long and thin - so the idea is to create a chase scene along it, as if the children's animals are running through the library.

I let the teachers take the drawings back to school with them, for the kids to finish off. Unfortunately, instead of posting them a couple of days later, as promised, it took them 6 weeks and repeated hassling, so I am only now getting down to it.

I am currently spending my time on Photoshop, trying to work out how to lay things out. It's so massive, and such a weird shape, I'm working on a one-tenth, low res mock-up, into which I have placed scans of all the animals, so I can move things around and re-size them, until it looks OK. Then I'll re-scan everything at the right size, as the final artwork will be created digitally (in sections and at one quarter size, so my computer doesn't blow its brain).

Although my initial chase idea sounded simple, I soon discovered that, if I don't want to end up with just a 'procession' of animals, in a long, uninteresting line, I will need to draw in incidental props, like bookshelves for animals to climb onto, or chairs for them to jump over. I might need to do some graphic things will colour in the background too (like I did with the cover of Swap!), to divide up the space. Not sure yet.

Right: back to it...  

Friday, 5 April 2013

Endpapers: Now in Glorious Technicolour!

I finished off all the digital finishing-work, on the inside illustrations and on the cover for Swap! before the Easter holidays. It felt like I was nearly done. I thought I would be able to rattle off the endpapers and be ready to send it all off to the publisher pretty soon after getting back to work this week.

I don't know why I thought that: it was very silly.

front endpaper illustrations

I wasn't really taking into account the fact that, not only are the illustrations different on the front and back endpapers, but there are six independent illustrations on each, every one of which is fiddly. Also every illustration features Lucy, whose head is a very similar pink to the pink of the paper I use, making it a bit of a technical nightmare to cut free.

back endpaper illustrations

The illustrations will be put into a spot repeat pattern across the double spread of each endpaper:

I thought that, because the illustrations needed to be different - a sort of 'before and after' - I would use the same lilac coloured background for them both, to give some unity.

You can follow the progress of Swap! (as well as Baby Goes Baaaaa! and Bears on the Stairs) from my first sketches and plotting sheets, through pitching the idea to publishers, creating artwork, as well as all the miriad issues that have arisen during the book's life so far, by clicking the Swap! label, or other relevant label, on the right of the posts.

You can watch me create a piece of the original pastel artwork from Swap! in a short film here.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Designing a Mural for a Children's Library

A rather unusual project has come my way...

Wakefield's central library is a brand new building (I did some storytelling to help celebrate the opening in November). There is a very long, very empty wall running through the children's library. It's supposed to be decorated with a mural. The mural was part of the original building contract, but the various designs offered were apparently awful and the librarian's rejected them all.

So, I got an email asking if I had any ideas. Everyone thought it would be a good idea to involve local children in some way, so I dedicated one of my long train journeys to giving it thought.

Which is why I was in Wakefield again this week. 

I didn't really fancy painting onto the actual wall: that's very much out of my comfort zone, especially as it's over 12 metres long (!). Yikes. 

My idea was to bring a couple of school groups into the library for illustration workshops and get them to draw (on paper) various animals chasing one another through the library (books flying everywhere, horrified librarians...). I would then take these home, scan in my favourites, and use Photoshop to combine them into one long, digital illustration, which I could simply send to a printer, to have made into panels, to attach to the wall.

Which all sounds kind of straightforward, doesn't it?. Hah! If only.

The workshops were the easy bit - they went really well and we had a lot of fun together. The children did some smashing illustrations, which they've taken back to school, to finish colouring in.

But, when the drawings come back next week,
 I have to play around, grouping them in different ways, 
designing the mural's layout. Which means I need to get the individual animals to a scale where I can move them around in a space the same shape as the actual wall. This is the tricky bit. 

Even scaled right down, the wall is too long and thin to look at on the computer as a whole, but I don't have a real-life space anything like big enough to lay out the actual children's drawings on the floor. Hmmmm.....

Plus, even when I have somehow designed the mural and scanned in all the drawings, 
I'll need to create the final, digital artwork in several sections: even at one quarter size, the entire file will be so massive, it would crash the computer several times over!!

I'll let you know how things progress...

In the meantime, I hope you like these watercolour pencil sketches, which I did on my way to Wakefield on Wednesday morning. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Visualising New Stories

Sorry my posts have been a little thinner on the ground since Christmas, but I've been really busy. 

Do you remember that John and I were generating new stories together at the end of the year? We have several on the go, most with the texts more or less sorted. I will be visiting publishers with them next month, but still have lots to do, getting them ready. Experience has taught me that I have a far greater chance of success if I do a fair bit of visualisation, rather than present the text alone: it turns out that editors can't see inside my head, to the pictures inside...

As you can see from the way I'm wrapped up, it's sometimes chilly in the studio right now. There is currently snow on the Velux window above my head and, first thing in the mornings, I often draw in fingerless gloves because the surface of my desk is so cold!

It's mostly just pencil sketching at this stage, doing my best to capture my characters and draw the humour I see arising from their situations. There's no real point in creating coloured work until I have a publisher involved although, if there's time, I might do a pastel character sketch or two: on the whole it's the characters that really sell a story.

I don't want to jinx things by showing my cards before I have pitched the projects to publishers so, unfortunately, I haven't anything for you to look at yet. It's going well though.

Anyway, best get back to work. Tempus fugit...

Monday, 1 October 2012

Evolution of an Idea: Creating a Cover Illustration

I managed to get all my 'cut-outs' done in time (phew) and the book's mock-up will be in production at Gullane as we speak, ready for presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, to try and hook interest for as many co-editions as possible. 

But I had yet another cause to put my pastel artwork on hold: a cover design was needed too. We often leave the cover design to the end - I am more familiar with the characters by then and it's easier to get a feel for what would work, once you can see the rest of the artwork.

Anyway, I needed to come up with something in a hurry. I felt both characters needed to be on the front, but nothing much else (apart from the title etc, obviously), to keep it punchy. I did the sketch above as a starting point, but felt it needed more humour, so thought I could use the dog food problem to make things more funny. The ice-cream seemed to work well for Sparky and I tried out 3 alternative versions of Lucy:

One fundamental problem though, is that two characters side by side create a very landscape-format illustration, for what is a portrait-format cover. That means they would ultimately be quite small in the space.

My Art Director suggested I move them closer together, having them hugging, which would help the format and also make it a warmer relationship. 

Trouble is, Lucy has a very wide head, so she can't easily get close without eclipsing Sparky, and his long nose has to face away from her, or they'd collide. Plus, his school uniform begins to disappear behind her and it all gets a bit visually confusing.

'We need a more graphic approach,' said my Art Director. So I played with having the characters poking in top and bottom, using blocks of colour to hold them in place and break up the space. John suggested the curly shape below and the idea that the title letters could swap colours with the background shapes, to echo the theme.

Then I had another go at bringing the two characters together, keeping the colour-swapping idea, but using hand-holding instead of hugging. I also tried a slightly simpler version of John's idea then sent these three designs back to the Art Director.

She liked the third, simpler one best, but said it needed more humour, rightly pointing out that, unless you've read the story, Sparky could be just another animal wearing clothes, as they so often do in picture books: people might not get the 'swapping' idea and so Lucy's nose would just be confusing. She also preferred Sparky's ballet outfit to the school uniform.

I had deliberately shied away from using the ballet costume on the cover, since I discovered Dogs Don't Do Ballet: Sara Ogilvie unfortunately uses a very similar outfit. But the ballet costume did offer more scope for extra humour. I managed to squeeze Sparky's foot, with Lucy's tiny shoe, into the picture then looked on Google for other children's ballet accessories and found the tiara. J
ust to be on the safe side, I gave Lucy a bone, to underpin the idea that she is supposed to be in a dog disguise:

Both my Art Director and Editor loved it - hurrah!

The patchwork letters were another brain-wave of John's by the way, the idea being that they are another DIY activity, like the home-made nose. I think they make it really funky: well done John x 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Drawing a Picture Book: Moving Forward Slowly

Do you ever have a task that you just can't seem to quite get finished? That's how I've been feeling about the two illustrations I've been working on for the last week.

Perhaps it's partly because I've had only the limited reference of the little dancing endpaper vignettes stuck to my desk, but I suppose it's mostly because they are both a bit fiddly.

The illustration above is Sparky telling Lucy that he won't swap back yet - he wants to have a go at ballet class (although clearly he's going to have trouble with those tiny shoes!). This is the rough I had a bit of trouble getting right. The publisher decided they liked this layout best.

The illustration below comes slightly later, after Sparky has been humiliated in class. Lucy is expecting him to want to swap back now (but she's in for a nasty surprise). If you're interested, I explained earlier on how I designed the drawing for this image.

I decided to work on the two pieces together, like earlier, as they featured the same characters, so it made it easier to keep them consistent, but also helped me to choose the colours of people's outfits, hair colour etc, having both contexts in front of me (I wanted to get a nice even balance of colours across both pictures).

At last I finished both illustrations on Monday, at 6.30pm - I was determined not to stop work until I had done. Still, after John mounted them up for me this morning, I noticed I had missed off Lucy's sock tail on the smaller piece, so had to quickly pop it on and I have just this minute noticed that Lucy's eyebrows are missing - she doesn't look smug enough without them!

Both these illustrations of Lucy also need some mud, from the earlier incident where she is digging holes in the garden, but I want to wait until the earlier pieces of artwork come back from the publishers, to make absolutely sure I put all the mud splodges in the right place.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Illustrating a Picture Book: Girl Turns into Dog!

Colouring the first spread was a joy: a bold image like that is perfect for pastels. But next I decided to tackle some of the more fiddly bits. Four of these vignettes will appear together on one page: Lucy is trying out being a dog, digging holes, chasing flies, napping... The central image is different. That one comes directly after the first spread I've already coloured. Lucy she is making her doggy disguise: 

Doing these vignettes early on is my way of getting to know the Lucy character, before I have to illustrate her in more complex images. Fiddly images are a bit of a nightmare in pastels though!

Whenever I have several small images which will either appear in sequence or are very similar in content, I generally try and colour them together, like this. It's quicker and also helps to ensure that colours remain constant. Also, if several vignettes are going to appear on the same spread, I need to design the colours to balance across the page as a whole.