Sunday, 17 November 2013

Content Writing and Illustrations


Once you have gathered and collected it all, you know you have done a lot! But then it sinks in that bulk of the work still remains. Yes my content structure has been drafted and now while reading "WORDS that SELL" by Richard Bayan the way one writes content plays a very big role.
When we deal with such sensitive issues where the mental and physical well being of a child is studied and parents are the takers of the message, I felt the voice could be kept in first person. This method could be:
  1. assuring
  2. empathizing
  3. open parents to discussion
  4. suggestive
  5. not dictative
  6. conversational
When parents read the information, it shouldn't alarm them. They should not only be informed of what are the problems which a child faces while beginning school but also how parents can address such problems. That is why I have tried to take care of the tone, trying to make it sound very positive, happy, full of possibilities.

A small passage from the content:

Many of us who are parents and are sending our children to school for the first time face a lot of difficulties.  School is an important milestone in our child’s education.  Every child goes through a phase of confusion where it is unable to understand what is happening around. They need to be explained in advance, made to be prepared for the wonderful years a school has in store for them.  Every parent can be a part of this phase and it is certainly possible for them to ease out their children’s problems by making them feel good. As Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish have written in their book, “When kids feel right, they’ll behave right.” Let’s take a look at some of the issues commonly faced by our children while beginning school:


Refuse to sleep alone
Each of these children react differently but the cause lies in  fear of being physically away from someone or something important to the child, which is why sometimes they have difficulty in sleeping by themselves. In such cases as parents we could try the following:
1“Yes dear I will keep coming to see that no one troubles you in your sleep.”- The child is assured that it’s parents will keep a check on it while it is asleep.
2. A bedtime routine can be created.
3. Books that interest the child can be read out before they fall asleep.

Nail biting
There are various means through which children seek comfort. Nail biting, hair twirling, thumb sucking are all methods to pacify themselves. The reasons could be boredom, an aid to stress relief or curiosity in some cases.  But how can this be resolved before the child destroys his cuticles and becomes a subject of mockery.

1. Child should be given reasons as to why it should not bite its nails.
2. “You know what happened once” We could share our stories from childhood right?”
3. Child’s nails should be kept trimmed and clean.
4.“I know dear it is hard to give it up but a very sure you will soon get rid of that habit.”- Keep encouraging him positively!
We could ask the child his causes of trouble.

While travelling homewards, I met a young couple on train. They have a three year old daughter and two months old son. I showed them a printout of the content I had written. They appeared to be very happy that such an initiative is being taken and they said they could relate to many incidents which I had mentioned. They also felt the suggestions were helpful and could be implemented. Their daughter is yet to begin her school but they claim to already face some of the problems mentioned such as throwing tantrums. They said it would be a valuable kit for parents of children about to begin their school.


Once the content was roughly phrased, I felt I could start exploring the illustrations. I also spoke to my senior Dhwani, after which I geared up to doodle and sketch keeping the following in mind:

1. Illustration style to be kept simple.
2. Simple color coding,avoid using too many colors.

I started by taking each problem and picking out various scenes I could imagine. Then I began to doodle the ones which parents could easily relate to and would find it easy to follow.

The initial doodles:

Some fair versions:

How about hearing your child read a paragraph daily
Checking on the child while it is asleep

Throwing tantrums
Children could be explained that there are 
better ways of asking what they want.
Child needs to be told that bedwetting is not its fault

Anxious thoughts
Provide opportunities to communicate 
and name the feelings for child while it expresses. 
Anxious thoughts
Engage them in activities which they enjoy.

Some rendered styles:






Since the kit is aimed for parents, I felt a fresh and soothing color palette could be used. It should be suggestive of the brimming energy of a child and at the same time considering the seriousness of issue. So the colours picked ranged from subtle shades of orange, cream to navy blue.

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