Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated)

Welcome!  Since my intention here is to celebrate the design of the picture book, I thought I would start with a favorite.  Molly Leach, who is married to illustrator Lane Smith, is the designer of my all time favorite, The Stinky Cheese Man.  She designed this quirky and sweet story written by Florence Parry Heide, and illustrated by Lane Smith.

Princess Hyacinth floated.  Unless she was attached to something, or weighted down, she just floated — up, up, up.

The King and Queen sew weights into her gowns and pebbles into her socks so that she stays put on the ground.  But when she isn’t royally dressed in her heavy, heavy crown, up she floats.  And she’s slightly bored because of all the time she spends tethered to the ground.  She outwits a ballon man and flies high in the sky, but she floats up a bit too far.  Can she be rescued?  And if so, will she be tethered to the ground forever?

Element of design: LINE SPACING

Unequal spacing between lines creates a dynamic layout.   What would otherwise be evenly spaced out lines can be static and oftentimes boring.  Consciously spacing lines in interesting ways can add action and further support the story.

This story is perfect for utilizing line spacing.  Princess Hyacinth floats up, and up, and up.  The way the lines are laid out on the page add to the feeling of floating up.

This spread is so beautiful and successful because the layout of the text perfectly matches the illustration of Princess Hyacinth floating high above the King and Queen.

Even though Princess Hyacinth is floating up, the text is at the very bottom of the page.  She is just as tiny as a balloon, and the sky is so expansive.  We are able to feel the scale and how high she is because of the layout of the text on the page.  The details of line spacing in this book add to the visuals of this story.  Princess Hyacinth doesn’t float in an orderly or structured manner, so the words to describe her shouldn’t either.  The spatial relationships of the words to the pictures adds so much beauty and interest.

I’ll leave you with this interview with Lane Smith and Molly Leach.  Such top notch creatives, and so inspiring!

3 Trackbacks