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Flying Elephant

by Loukas Skyllouriotis

For Print & Video

Illustration, Graphic Design, Book Cover Design, Editing, Video Editing, Animation


Software used: Procreate, InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat, PremierePro, AfterEffects

Background —

Creating a picturebook for children and their families who love exploring nature and being empowered to follow their dreams. A book about friendship, childhood and exciting adventures.

Problem —

Delivering a high quality children's picture book that encourages children to explore nature, but to also follow the adventures of the Flying Elephant online. So how do we include physical activities with virtual activities for the children to do after the book is read?

Goal —

Create a 'treasure hunt' book that encourages children to explore in their own time, create illustrations, graphic design and edit the pages of the book, videos and animations, and set up a virtual presence to host videos and activities.

Approach — 

Applying new methods and processes to create a web of activities for children. Illustrating and researching illustration styles for children ages 4-6 with digital watercolour techniques.

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The project was meant for children ages 4-6 and the client's only request was to make it look exciting whilst engaging with the text.

After I prepared the initial layouts of the pages of the book, I suggested a rectangular portrait format that adds height and depth to the pages, in response to the fact that most of the book deals with flying and heights.

I wanted to keep a sense of playfulness and childhood innocence to the illustrations, as agreed with the author, by incorporating a digital watercolour and mixed media technique.


My main sources of artistic inspiration was my own teacher, Colin McNaughton, who as he taught me, loves to use watercolour with other artistic mediums to offer visual variations.




Combining my digital style with the stylistic inspiration of Colin McNaughton I began to yield some unexpectedly exciting images. 

Ιπτάμενος Ελέφαντας - The elephant who could fly

Colours and shapes were so important so as to convey a beautifully well-rounded image with a sense of strong composition that communicates the in-text message, induces exciting feelings and curiosity to learn and read more.

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I wanted to add as much hidden detail as I possibly could, by deriving side-storylines, objects and insects, flowers and fruits. But what I found visually compelling and satisfying were the textures that ascribed to the image a sense of reality, as if the story is materialising in front of you.

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Book Cover required multiple iterations as the publishing house requested that it may be altered on some occassions by removing and adding certain elements. Below you can see the initial sketch ideas.

As the iterations of the initial design changed, so did the colours, but what was critical to keep throughout was the central meaning of the main characters setting on an adventure and inviting the child reader to pick up the book when they see it! The final cover was decided unanimously between myself, the author and the publishing house. 


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Once the book was complete, we decided to create a virtual and physical treasure hunt for the children that included activities based on the story. 

How could we create physical activities along with virtual interaction to encourage the children to learn and be curious about their own environments? 

The best course of action was to give them some prompts and to look for hints in the book itself. These hints and questions were strategically placed at the end of the book to encourage the child who just finished reading it to go back again from the beginning and look for answers. 

Once the child had put together the answers they could follow the QR code that we provided at the end of the book by scanning it with their devices. An embedded link would take them to a Youtube video where they could relive the story while listening to a song and watching the animation.

Book Cover Design.
Animation & Video.

I created visuals that followed the song using 2D illustrations and animating them to give some lively elements to the video.

I also had to take meticulous care of the transitions, timings, subtitles and make the video feel like a storybook. 


I chose page-turning transitions to enhance the feel of an actual book and with the help of the lyricist we hid some further hints in the lyrics of the song. 

You can watch the video here.

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