'Jamaican Mi Seh Mi ABC's' is student's third collaborative project.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Since winning the Illustrators of the Future Award in 2014, the illustration and graphic design major, who is also minoring in animation, has received a number of proposals from other creatives seeking his services.
Michael Talbot's cover illustration.
For the most recent project, Talbot worked with author Valrie Kemp-Davis on an illustrated children’s book titled “Jamaican Mi Seh Mi ABC’s”.
The Jamaican-born Talbot was caught off guard when Kemp-Davis called him on New Year’s Day in 2016 after finding his name through a Google search. But once he got his hands on the project, he knew it was a perfect fit.
“I was reading the manuscript and a lot of [the verses] sparked memories,” he said. I’ve lived in various areas in Jamaica some of the different areas in the book, I could actually see."
Talbot began drawing as a kid, often preferring to stay inside and color, rather than go out and play. By the time he was in the ninth grade, he knew he wanted to be an artist. So, it’s been gratifying for the Lesley senior to combine his love of Jamaica and illustration in a children’s book.
Talbot and Kemp-Davis collaborated on the look and layout of the book for more than a year, both wanting the finished product to be "welcoming and vibrant."
Jamaican-born Talbot captures the spirit of his home country.
Kemp-Davis uses the ABCs as the book’s backbone, with the 11-year-old narrator, Carradice, taking readers on a playful, rhythmic tour of Jamaica's landscape, culture and dialect. Talbot, who moved to Massachusetts in 2012, could visualize many of the images in the book.
Using his own background as well as images of the author’s daughter, Talbot created 44 illustrations for the book, even as he maintained his studies as a full-time student at Lesley. In addition to the illustrations, Talbot also employed his graphic design skills, designing the layout of each page. He said it’s been his most involved project to date. For a book called “Galactic Olympics,” Talbot designed the cover and contributed a few illustrations. Another book, “Raising Nathan,” involved designing the cover and layout.
“This last project was a combination of the two previous books in the sense that I was given the manuscript and I did the cover design, layout, format and illustrations,” Talbot explained.
Through that process, he took into account the warp and woof of the book’s language.
Senior Michael Talbot is an illustration and graphic design major.
“It’s actually a song,” he said of Kemp-Davis’s text. “I had to bear that in mind and see how things would flow and get the energy. The most enjoyable part of the whole project was figuring out what images would go with the different sections of the story and in a sense using personal experiences and memories to influence those.”
The book is now available through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble and Talbot is busy working on his own graphic novel series the "Atlas" trilogy, which centers on a "guardian of the earth' who discovers he’s not the only one on the planet. The soon-to-be author plans to complete the initial volume before his final semester in the fall.
See more of Talbot’s work on his website.
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