UBC Theses and Dissertations
"The Goodbye Backpack" : applying structural design principles to a picturebook Tierney, Lynda
This hybrid creative thesis consists of two parts: a creative portion and an academic portion. The creative portion is a printed dummy of my original picturebook The Goodbye Backpack, which portrays the complex and challenging nuances of death and the grieving process. The dummy book includes the written text and four final illustrations. The academic portion of this thesis begins by investigating the prevalence of representations of death in children’s literature, as well as how picturebooks can be used to comfort children after they encounter death. Using the ten structural principles of composition defined by Molly Bang, it continues with a detailed examination of The Goodbye Backpack. By analyzing each spread in the dummy book, it explains how compositional choices—such as the directionality of the lines and the placement of visual elements—can provoke specific emotional responses from readers. This thesis aims to demonstrate the importance of including visual representations of death in children’s picturebooks and clarify how an understanding of death can make it less frightening. It also strives to shed light on the process of creating a visual connotative picturebook that heavily relies on structural principles to tell a story that is emotionally evocative and abstract.
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