Havoc in Heaven: a Digital Picture Book Experiment

Ju, Guojie
Gilderdale, Peter
Item type
Research Project
Degree name
Master of Design
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

To find the new expression of digital book illustrations, this research project used an experiment of a digital picture book, Havoc in Heaven. With the development of digital technology, digital books have exerted a crucial role on the transformation of storytelling. Compared with physical books, digital book illustrations have advantages in terms of interactivity and diversity. However, most of the current digital books have not yet fully reflected these advantages. Therefore, the current study aims to focus on exploring more flexible and interesting expressions of animation illustrations in digital books with the purpose of improving readers' reading experience.

The methodology in this research is influenced by theories of heuristic inquiry and practice research. In this research, the experiment of the digital picture book is a main part of the practice. The procedure of the practice is formed by sketching, drawing, animating, composing, vocalising, fixing and presenting, and the cooperation of making, thinking and learning is the key for each process. In addition, my personal experience could also influence the whole practice.

Through the experiment, this dissertation discusses the expression of digital book illustration from five aspects: animation, layout, materials, sound and interaction. The result indicates that the breakthrough and innovation of this project is mainly reflected in three points. Firstly, it enables emphasising and explaining the specific detail in texts through animation. Secondly, loosening the traditional boundaries between illustration and text is the biggest contribution of this project. The animated illustration can break the limitation of the frame and interact with the text. The flexible composition between images, words and frames is the most distinct visual trait in this digital picture book. Finally, cogitative selecting and composing of various material elements, sound effects and interaction could enrich the reading experience. These findings in practice might show the new way to express book illustration on a digital platform.

Picture books , Digital books , Illustration , Animation
Publisher's version
Rights statement