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  • Emma Thrussell

A Birdwatching Booklet: The importance of personal projects

I decided to start up a new personal project in my spare time. When I was little I would go on trips with my parents where they would birdwatch. Through this I gained a lot of bird knowledge, especially the birds we would encounter around Britain.

This gave me the idea for this project as it was something I look fondly back on and I'm grateful for the specific knowledge that it gave me. With this in mind, I wanted to create a product that introduces children to the world of birds in an exciting way and encourage exploration.

I used some thick watercolour paper to make a concertina (Z-fold) leaflet shape. I decided that I would paint directly onto the booklet rather than printing the final images digitally- as a challenge to myself. The tricky part was writing, drawing and painting on these small sections of paper.

I drafted out each section of the booklet on some scrap pieces of paper to test the designs and the layout.

I decided on bold and bright colours for the illustrations so that they were fun and inviting. Since this was also a booklet about an introduction to birdwatching, I added in common birds you might see around Britain. Tick boxes, along with a list of equipment to bring, was another way to keep this booklet interactive

This was a delightful project to create and I cannot stress enough how important taking on a personal project is. It can feel a bit daunting to take on a whole other project, especially when you have other work to do. But finding some spare time to do this kind of self initiated work does allow you to create the types of work you want to add to your portfolio. If there is something you feel your portfolio could benefit from or if there is something you want to challenge yourself with creatively; I would say go for it!