A Mammoth Story
‘A Mammoth Story’ is a picture book about the life of a woolly mammoth and how he came to live in a magical place called a museum. The inspiration behind the story and illustrations comes from a recent visit to the Natural History Museum in London, where I enjoyed learning about the evolution and habitat of mammoths. The picture book aims to encourage more children to visit and enjoy museums, as they are a fantastic place to learn and trigger their imaginations. It was at the Natural History Museum, where I began to create my early reference sketches, which would later develop and evolve into my final mammoth character design illustrations. Further studies into the appearance, movements and behaviour of the woolly mammoth from documentaries aided the character development of the mammoth featured in the story. The final character design illustrations of the mammoth were created by carrying out the ‘dry brush’ effect, using small amounts of ink and watercolour on the paintbrush, resulting in his hairy and cuddly appearance. The aim was to make the mammoth appear young, cuddly and innocent in order to create a connection between him and the young audience that the book is aimed at. The illustrated girl featured on the first and last double page spreads of the picture book is a representation of myself reflecting back on my trip to the Natural History Museum. Although the character of the girl is lightly based on my appearance, I aimed to make her appear younger, to highlight the excited child that comes out of everyone’s hearts, young and old, when visiting such a beautiful museum. As the ‘A Mammoth Story’ is the first picture book I have ever created, a lot of experimentation into creating the illustrations and developing the narrative of the story took place, resulting in a lot of freedom to play with different materials and mark making techniques. This even included creating a stuffed animal version of the mammoth character, as a way to allow children to not only interact with him but also to help them imagine their own exciting stories when visiting a museum.