The Tale of Four Seasons

  • THE TALE OF FOUR SEASONS

    Inspired by a Vietnamese folktale named “A New Year ‘s Story”, “The Tale of Four Seasons” at first seemed to be a simple English translation of the original asian story, but eventually turned out to be a more general and international content that could possibly approach a wider demographic of readers. My attempt was to deliver a simple story that any children from 6 years old and above could easily understand and remember. “The Tale of Four Seasons” possesses a natural theme, therefore by reading the story, children could learn the connection between human beings and nature. They will know how to identify each season, what to expect when each season comes and how people should cherish every living moment. Moreover, the story sends out such meaningful and light-hearted messages that I expect that parents would love to buy it to educate their children. The tale introduced 4 main characters, representing the 4 seasons of a year: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
  • When I started designing the character development for this tale, I realized there were more to build rather than just pretty faces or magical wings. In fact, it really came down to how each element that appeared on a character said about that season’s characteristics. And because of that, Autumn wasn’t given just a normal canary yellow dress, but instead a golden foliage cloak made out of fluttering, billowing leaves. Winter has her own snowy cloud following her everywhere; Spring danced gracefully in her cherry-blossom petals and how charming Summer’s blue waterfall hair was!
  • My further character development sketching
  • For the finishing of the book, I intended to choose hardcover and perfect binding, just like the typical old fairytale book of Grimm Brothers. However my tale was so short and simple that it only contained maximun 10-12 pages including both images and text. Therefore I eventually went for concertina, a concept that serves my purposes well - which makes the book a product that children can interact with in many ways, instead of just opening, flipping over and closing the pages. Concertina is a very stimulating and interactive publication method, highly recommended for a connected-scene narrative like this.
  • I also decided to create a wooden box to contain the book, along with a few little charms which help me practice my merchandise and packaging design skills. What I longed to make real was the delightful experience for the child to open up her wooden box, and discover a few little friends and an interesting, easy to remember story about four seasons inside.
  • I - MAKING OF THE BOOK:

  • This is the mock-up book. Taking on board a comment that the book should be larger than this pocket size because this is a bit difficult to read, I planned to make the real version A5 size at least. I thought it wasn't a concidence at all when most of children books are printed with quite big characters (possibly around 20-30 size) - this could have something to do with eyesight healthcare for children, an element that I have never thought through before : ) I am just crazy about tiny little things all the time!
  • I also loved creating the embroidered cover, which would certainly make the whole book become more valuable and collective.
  • II - MAKING OF THE BOX OF CHARMS
  • I have never thought that papercutting could be this kind of fun. All you need is one sharp enough blade.
  • Unfortunately, I cracked at least 4 clay bears and 2 bottles... 
    Tiny modeling is not as easy as a piece of cake at all. I then went for paper demonstration and fake moss instead. 
  • III - FINAL OUTCOMES
  • On an early morning of the new year, the four seasons fairies gather together. Winter holds Springs' hands:
    Spring, you are the luckiest! Everyone loves you. You come, flowers bloom and seeds grow!
  • Spring gently replies:
    But trees only flourish with Summer's sunshine. And in Summer, students can have such long holiday!
  • Summer chuckles:
    I think the children love Autumn most! Because that's when they can celebrate the Mid-Autumn Party!
  • Winter gloomily whispers:
    It is only me that no one loves...
    Autumn gives Winter a hug and says:
    Don't be silly. Without you there is no bonfire bonding, there is no warm sleep in bed. Who could hate you?  
  • I believe the successful elements were that I had created a fully constructive natural concept that connected the book, the box, and its accessories together: one box - four seasons - four charms. The storyline was also written in very basic English, making it easy for children to memorize the messages. Overall, I am very happy to make it to this point and to receive very positive feedbacks from everyone who have seen my products. I hope children would find “The Tale of Four Seasons” fascinating and see it as a charming, helpful friend. Thank you for your time : )