KIWI the real story: Book design by Heather Hunt

The genre is narrative nonfiction and the idea was to present the work as a three part harmony with the narrative, factual text and illustrations each telling their own story. As both illustrator and book designer, I have had the best time working these harmonies together.
The story's inspiration came from my kiwi illustrations. Set in the dark of night, colour throughout is intense - promoting the vibrant world of the north island brown kiwi.

I tested the feel of the illustrations in different media, pencil, ink, paint, coloured felt tips, eventually settling on vector points. Once I was sure I could maintain the loose slightly wild feel of my hand drawn work I committed to working digitally spending 9 months, 10-12 hours a day pulling and teasing vector points around my screen, fantastic fun and a terrific way to get to know a software program. KIWI the real story has 42 fully illustrated pages (includes endpapers and cover) so working digitally offered significant flexibility for testing different ideas in both the art work and design.

The illustrations were drawn as double page spreads with the narrative and factual text positioned as the illustrations were drawn.
The textual narrative dances it's way through the illustrations reflecting the rhythmic text. For the poem I selected a formal serif font that flows elegantly on the page like a musical score, the letters are white and in lower case so they stand out and are easily read.
Large blocks of dense text, especially facts, can be tyrannical. We want our readers to have fun with the facts and feel they can dip in and out of them at will. 
In designing the factual text into this book I have made it part of the illustration, placed inside the art work. I selected an informal sans serif font and pushed the tone of the letters back to 50% black, allowing the text to be read if the reader wishes without feeling they must read it all before proceeding to the next page
This is a book readers will come back to time and again.

View all the illustrations KIWI-the-real-story

Listen Radio NZ book review by John McIntyre