Student Illustrates his Past Through Book Cover Design
An artistic student from Darwen has transformed his childhood memories into an inspiring book cover, which will be sold to raise funds for the charity Child Action NorthWest.
Toby Hargreaves, 19, a Foundation Art and Design Student at Blackburn College, was fostered by his grandparents at the age of 11. He used his experiences of being a foster child to influence his design for the front cover of a new book dedicated to the life of a Blackburn orphanage founder.
The book, entitled ‘James Dixon’s children: The Story of Blackburn Orphanage’, has been written by author Melanie Warren, in collaboration with Child Action North West, to celebrate the life and achievements of James Dixon, who founded Blackburn orphanage in 1886.
The project, which was turned into a competition between Toby and four other Blackburn College students, allowed them to visit the archive room at the orphanage for inspiration, where they viewed old documents belonging to James, such as his diary and personal photos. The final book cover ideas were then pitched to Melanie and a judging panel.
Toby, who designed a three dimensional model of butterflies flying out of the orphanage building, says: “I know how the fostering process works and how it can sometimes make you feel trapped by your past.
“I have learnt to not let things get me down, and like the orphans, I have grown up, moved on and made a life for myself. The butterflies represent the freedom both myself and the orphans have shared.”
Toby now hopes to study Art and Design at the prestigious Camberwell College of Arts.
Joanne Conlon, Lecturer of Art & Design at Blackburn College, says: “This was a project very close to Toby’s heart and he did a fantastic job of encapsulating his personal feelings, which are shared by many others in his position. All the students involved stepped up to the mark and produced some great work for such a worthy project.”
Harriet Roberts, creative partnerships manager at Child Action Northwest, says: “We were really impressed with the students’ commitment and creative ideas. The final cover is of a standard that far exceeds the result we expected and I look forward to seeing it hit the shelves.”
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