Art · Graphic Arts and Design

Aesop Fables: Creating a Book Layout

Assignment: Aesop Fables Book

Goal: Create a two page spread in InDesign for an Aesop Fable of your choice utilizing all of the techniques we have learned over the semester.

This was the project from the beginning of the semester I was looking forward to the most. While we didn’t get to publish it in the end, it was a lot of fun to work on and one of my favorite of the semester. It utilized everything we learned over the course of the semester and allowed for creativity similar to the comic book project from 2D Design.

My biggest challenge when making the Aesop Fable layout was trying to come up with an art style that would go with the story. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted the art style to be. I wanted it to be simple, cute, and eye-catching. I took inspiration from the art style of The Secret of Kells, and the art styles of Craig McKracken, Lauren Faust, and Genndy Tartovsky. I had a book on the making of the Secret of Kells and I loved the art style. It was something simple I could replicate. In my initial sketches below I drew out how I wanted the image to text to lay, as well as trying out the type of style I wanted to emulate.

Sketch Aesop Fables

On the road to creating the Illustration style, I started off in Illustrator and tried designing an illustration through the program itself by using simple shapes. I had made an illustration of a rabbit earlier in production and I thought it looked really good.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 8.52.33 PM

I found a tutorial for making trees online and had created really great trees and even got around to making a bear. I found working like this though was very difficult. And I didn’t like how it was coming out. Although it looks very nice, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.59.08 PM

I decided then to go back two doing illustrations by hand. I had drawn my own illustrations for a comic book in 2D Design last semester, and I thought it would be easier. I took a few hours at night to draw out drawings on a large drawing pad. I loved the results and I scanned them into the computer.

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.00.45 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.59.48 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.00.13 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.00.02 PM2016-05-07 17.07.05Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.00.24 PM

When I image traced them though I didn’t like the result either, so I took the time to trace over the drawings and made them my own. I grappled with the idea of leaving the images blank rather than adding color or shading. This was quickly dropped though. Without some kind of shading or coloring the images would look flat and lifeless. I started off using color, but ended up not liking it either. I decided to keep the images black, gray and white. I felt this gave the images a classic look while also updating them. Instead of using the blob brush to color the images, making them look cartoony, I decided to use watercolor brushes in Illustrator and ended up creating something I truly loved.

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.01.03 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.03.30 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.01.22 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.58.29 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.03.09 PM

As the time to add text drew closer, I grappled with the background and wondered how to handle it when it came time to finally add text. I originally had much more going on in the original illustration and I started feeling like it was getting crowded and would complicate the text. Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.34.10 PM

After reading an article on designing with white space and this article on design rules I decided to eliminate the grass, sky and darkened wood. It made it look so much better and felt more open for the text to move in.

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.04.15 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 5.04.40 PM

Reading about font pairing and typography crimes to not commit, and help from my professor helped me to lay and format my text perfectly.


I LOVE how this project came out! It’s my favorite of the semester. Even with all the trials that I went through it came out so great and I love it so much. It made be think about being an Illustrator for children’s books or even making some of my own. It was a lot of fun and I hope I can do it again in the future!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s