Willow the whale is the story of a whale who was full of love, but didn't know how to show it.

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willow the whale

willow the whale

Willow the Whale was created from my love of vintage children's books. It breaks down a complex message on friendship through the story of a whale who has a lot of love to give but doesn't quite know how to show it.

I was tasked with co-writing the story as well as building the character development and designing the overall layout of the story. This was an 8 month (and counting!) project and it morphed and grew in a very fun, fluid way.

Co-written by Sam Parkin. Photographed by Lauren Stelling.

— my roles

layout

illustration

story development

copywriting

print design

— my tools

illustrator

indesign

photoshop

laser cutter

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— features

52 pages

hand bound, double fan method

laser cut hardcover

Inspired by Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Mac Barnett's I want my Hat Back, and countless others, I created a story that was impossible and slightly morbid. The whale has so much love for the friends she meets that she can't possibly imagine ever not having them near her. Willow's only way of solving this problem is to swallow them whole.

One day she is pushed beyond her consumption capabilities and we discover alongside her the power of true friendship.

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Designing for a child demographic is a task that shouldn't be taken lightly. A children's book can be a child's introduction to an important idea. While building this story, every element, word, illustration kept a child's eye in mind.  

Designing for a child demographic is a task that shouldn't be taken lightly. A children's book can be a child's introduction to an important idea

We used a lot of repetition in the structure of the storytelling, levels of emotional interest and comic relief are paired with large type with few lines to a page. The pictures are the vehicle for driving the message from page to page. 

I centered my character development around the eyes and mouths of the animals. A lot can be said with a little bit of change in a turtle's facial features.

I centered my character development around the eyes and mouths of the animals. A lot can be said with little bit of change in a turtle's facial features.

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