Evaluation of FMP: Ready Player One

What was your project about? What happened during it?

My final major project was sparked by the idea of creating a visual image from written word; taking a world that an author has so avidly described, and bringing it to life in a tangible form. I took this inspiration and looked into the work of artists that I admired – such as Mary Grandpré and Feng Zhu – to form a plethora of ideas which evolved into the essence of my final piece – a hardback dust cover.

My plan for creating the book cover was to take a section of text from a book which described a landscape, analyse the text, and use the analysis to compose what I thought the landscape would look like. I would then use the drawing to create a multi-media piece, and layer text over the top of the artwork to create the cover.

What was inspiring about the project to you, and how did you translate this into your work?

My main inspiration for the project initially came from my Mother, who told me that she could never visualise the places that were described in books. This idea led me on to consider how interesting it was to me, as somebody who has no trouble visualising written word, seeing other people’s perspective on how something might look.

I carried these concepts with me throughout my project, and as I became more inspired by other artists’ work, the more inspired I was to create my own rendition of what my mind’s eye saw as I read a section of text. I translated this inspiration into drive.

Did you manage to achieve what you set out to do at the start of the project?

In essence, I achieved what I had set out to do at the start of the project, but not in the quantity that I had originally set out to complete.

I had originally planned to create five or more different book covers for books I had never read before, in order for them to be 100% uninfluenced by any other pre-existing knowledge I had about the book, or what the places within them looked like.

However, after having discussions with my peers, my lecturers, and a visiting graduate, I changed my mind and decided to create only three book covers of books I had read before and was familiar with.

This was then later reduced to just one cover, in order to give me enough time to create one very high quality, polished piece, as opposed to three pieces of a lesser quality. However, the idea for my project remained the same throughout all of these changes.

How did you feel about what happened through the project?  What was good about the experience?

For this project, I intentionally set the bar very high for myself from the beginning in order to really push the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of. Though this did cause me a fair amount of stress throughout the project, I think it helped me produce some very high-level work in the time that I gave myself to complete tasks.

Reducing my workload from over five book covers down to one definitely let me de-stress and gain some more confidence, allowing me to really push myself and create a beautiful final piece without struggling to juggle several covers at once.

What new techniques, skills and abilities have you acquired through this project and how have they developed your creative work?

In this project, I taught myself how to use gouache paint. One of my main goals was to learn at least one new medium and incorporate it into my final piece, so I experimented with gouache paint until I was comfortable enough to create some interesting patterns and textures. This is an extremely transferable skill to me, as I work with watercolour and acrylic paint frequently and gouache is a wonderful addition to my skill set.

Additionally, during this project, I worked very hard on my time management skills – something which I have constantly struggled with in previous projects. I think this has greatly improved not only my work ethic but the quantity and quality of work I produce, as sticking to a pre-determined schedule helps me to know what work I have done, and what work I should be doing.

Overall, what did not go as well as anticipated throughout the project? W­­­­hy?

One of the elements I wanted to include in this project was using mixed media. While I did achieve this by including textures and patterns I made with gouache paint, I was very much hoping to use more than just paints and Photoshop. However, I did not give myself enough time to create these textures with different materials so I worked with the ones I had already created through experimentation. If I were to redo this project, I would allocate myself more time to create interesting textures and patterns, as I think it would really add to the overall feeling of the piece.

How do you think other people would view your work?


Thumbnails and Sketches

I am very new to the concept of book cover design, so using my measurements I started roughing out the proportions of the cover and sketching out some ideas of how to lay out the cover. I knew that I wanted the Distracted Globe and the intersection to feature on the front cover of the book as they are focal points of the piece of text I chose, so I stuck to that idea and built others around it.

scan-0001 (1)

After spending about 2 minutes on each of the thumbnails above, I used the template I created to develop the middle-right image.

scan-0001 (3)

Presentation of my Piece

My copy of Ready Player One is a paperback. This presents a problem, as the book cover I am designing is intended to be primarily a dust cover for a hardback. I really don’t want to destroy a book in order to present my final piece (by gluing a print of my cover and sticking it over another), so I have decided to simply print out my cover and wrap it around one of the hardback books I own.

Going down this route makes it very easy for me to know my measurements and proportions for my final piece. I have decided to use my personal copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone for display purposes, and replace its own dust jacket with the one I create. I chose this book in particular because the book is of a similar length to Ready Player One, and the proportions of the cover are simple and easy to work with (they are integers, so I won’t be fiddling around with decimals).

The size of the entire dust cover laid out is 57cm x 23.5cm (length x width). This is then split into five different sections to cover the book – the wrapping pieces at the edges that hold the cover in place, the front and back covers, and the spine. The proportions of these pieces are as follows:

  • Right Wrap: 11cm x 23.5cm
  • Back Cover: 16cm x 23.5cm
  • Spine: 3cm x 23.5cm
  • Front Cover: 16cm x 23.5cm
  • Left Wrap: 11cm x 23.5cm

Being a visual learner that finds things easier to understand in a diagram, I roughly wrote and drew this all out so that it’s easier for me to understand. It might not make sense to other people, but it’s notation that I know and understand, and can work with easily.


(W= Wrap, C = Cover, S = Spine – all measurements are in centimetres.)

With this I created a rough guide in my sketchbook which was roughly proportioned correctly, but not quite. I used one side of the page to experiment on, before deciding that it would be more worthwhile to create a correctly proportioned template and use that instead.

scan-0001 (1).jpg

I then took this knowledge to photoshop, creating a template 2 times bigger than the actual measurements so things can be scaled down without losing quality, and definitely be in proportion. I then set out the measurements visually and in text, so I can use it as a guide for creating my final piece. The spine is in purple, the covers in pink, and the wraps in orange.

cover measurements.png

This will really aid my project as I can take the template I have created and print it to use as a template for my sketches and experiments. To make the template to draw on I simply removed the coloured backgrounds and the text, and added a border to make this:

cover measurements template

I can use this both for sketching on as a print, or digitally as a guideline. When printed it will be on A4, so it won’t be entirely to scale but it will be in proportion, which is a very valuable resource for me to use.


Two Point Perspective

I think two-point perspective would be the most effective method to use in order to create this cityscape. The Distracted Globe is on an intersection, so two point perspective would allow me to create that much easier than one-point perspective.

To teach myself two point perspective I did it in much the same way I did with one point perspective – through an instructive video. Namely, this one:

youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fcbk_K5qWA&w=560&h=315

Following along with the video, I drew this page in my sketchbook to get a better understanding of how the method worked. The concept is extremely similar to one point perspective, so it wasn’t too difficult to get the hang of.

2 Point Perspective.jpg

After this, I decided to attempt using it to make a very rough concept for my final piece.

2 point perspective experiment.png

This task definitely helped me to understand how two point perspective works, and how I am going to use it to help me create the landscape for my final piece. I am still quite confused about how some parts of it will work (how to make everything appear to be bigger and not too spaced out, where I should place the horizon line, etc), but with more experimentation I think my understanding will increase to a point where I can coherently create a landscape.

Mood Board

After annotating my piece of text, I decided to create a mood board comprised of images that I feel relate to how I see the text, and images that inspire me based around the theme. This mood board specifically focuses on the city.

RPO mood board.png

Sources Used:

Fussell, M. (2017). Two Point Perspective. [image] Available at: http://thevirtualinstructor.com/twopointperspective.html [Accessed 11 May 2017].

Fredrickson, K. (2017). 2 point perspective. [image] Available at: http://sneakylightning.deviantart.com/art/2-point-prespective-72591827 [Accessed 11 May 2017].

pcwallart (2017). CITY ROAD AT NIGHT WALLPAPER. [image] Available at: http://pcwallart.com/city-road-at-night-wallpaper-4.html [Accessed 11 May 2017].

Mao, W. (2017). The other conner of city: night. [image] Available at: http://mrainbowwj.deviantart.com/art/The-other-conner-of-city-night-343311146 [Accessed 11 May 2017].

Reiffer, P. (2017). Shanghai Calling 2 : The Phase One Difference. [image] Available at: http://www.paulreiffer.com/2014/09/shanghai-calling-2-the-phase-one-difference/ [Accessed 11 May 2017].

magic4walls (2017). Wallpaper Gallery: Mood. [image] Available at: http://www.magic4walls.com/wallpaper/bench-city-street-night-lights-bokeh-19970.html [Accessed 11 May 2017].

Widescreen Wallpapers (2017). City Night Lights Wallpaper. [image] Available at: http://wide-wallpapers.net/city-night-lights-10-wide-wallpaper/ [Accessed 11 May 2017].

Morrow and Wells (2017). Project 3 Gallery. [image] Available at: http://www.morrow-wells.com/index.php/component/content/article/64-work/work/217-project-3?Itemid=329 [Accessed 11 May 2017].





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Text Analysis: The Distracted Globe

After my talk with Jake, I went ahead and printed out an extract from Ready Player One – the description of The Distracted Globe. There were less literary techniques used by Cline than Rowling, but he did include a whole load of blatant description, which I highlighted in green.

Shown below are scans of the three pages, fully annotated and highlighted. There is a key depicting what colour of highlight means what on the bottom of the third page, alongside a bullet point list of some of the key points I found in the text.

scan-0001scan-0001 (1)scan-0001 (2)

After re-reading the text about 5 times, I have a rough idea of how I would like to portray this piece of text. All of my key information is bullet pointed on the third page, ready to be quickly referenced as I begin some idea generation techniques.

Some of my ideas for this piece include:

  • Using one point perspective to create the landscape, as it is a very densely populated urban area filled with skyscrapers and cars
  • Fiddling with the opacity of the globe itself; it’s the centrepiece of the text, so it may look effective being a completely opaque cobalt blue sphere, or a more transparent blue sphere showing all of the people inside of it
  • Sketching out the initial ideas on paper, and when curating the final book cover taking to photoshop to bring all of the mixed media elements together

Another Change of Plan

Today, I had a meeting with my pathway leader Jake to discuss my project. I explained all of my ideas, solved problems, and progress to him and asked for some feedback on what I could do next. He suggested to me that I don’t try and do covers for 3 books, but that I just do a cover for Ready Player One.

This would mean that I can focus all of my energy into one book, and the outcome of the covers would be entirely from my own mind. The two other books I was planning on making covers for (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter) are hugely popular all around the world, and already have movies made about every single book. Having read all the books and seen all of the movies, my own depictions of the places in the books would be influenced – by accident or purposefully – by the movie sets.

However, Ready Player One is currently being made into a motion picture, set to release in 2017. This means that the places I am going to be drawing don’t exist in a movie set yet – the only other depictions of them are fan art. Therefore, the outcomes I produce from puling apart the text will be almost entirely my own. This means my work will be much more original to me, it will challenge me more in the process of designing the places, and I can complete one very high-quality book cover instead of 3 potentially rushed ones.