ひらがな Hiragana is a unique colouring book dedicated to teaching aspects of Japanese culture and language to English speakers. Its primary goal is to inspire interest in language learning.
In the Japanese language, there are 3 main forms of writing. Hiragana (hee-rah-gah-na) is the primary form taught to new speakers of the language.
First, a sketched draft of the Hiragana syllabary was created. An initial page concept was developed.
Next, a lengthy language research process occurred. Although there are standardized English versions of the syllables, without further study, a viewer would not easily know how to pronounce them. Therefore, a unique English-centric pronunciation system was developed.
Japanese Standardized English Developed Version
あめ ame ah-may
The goal of the pronunciation system is to get the reader as close to natural pronunciation as possible- without including other linguistic information. To produce it, polls were conducted on native speakers of Japanese, speakers of only English, and speakers who speak both languages.
Sketch Tracing in Illustrator Final
46 independent illustrations were created for each page featuring a syllable. The subject matter was carefully selected to reflect important aspects of Japanese culture. For example, cicada are one of the important aspects associated with the Japanese summer.
Each page was laid out in InDesign- with each spread leaving a blank left page for the purpose of potential colouring-bleed.
In the final InDesign layout, a dedication page, an explanation page, as well as two summary of learning pages were added.
Finally, the book was published in collaboration with Kindle Direct Publishing. Because publication is a time consuming process, the entire book was completed within the span of 3 months.
Softwares used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, & Kindle Direct Publishing.
Copyright Kay Gardner 2021