First Person Point Of View In Picturebooks and Film

Film School Rejects shared a short film called Gumshoe, which is four minutes shot from a first person point of view. As FSR note:

First person POV can be tricky to pull off because of how limiting the field of view is. It’s the same thing with found footage, but even without the shaky cam (or at least a less shaky cam), it can be disorienting and leave an audience frustrated by the loss of control. When it’s done well, it can be very cool. Still a gimmick, but an entrancing one.

See The World Through A Detective’s Eyes In This Short Noir Film

In the noir film, the first person point of view serves several purposes and one of those purposes is to add a comic (as well as comical) tone. The ‘kapow’ type voiceovers add to this humorous tone. A woman’s legs viewed from the top-down quash any real attempt at the familiar ‘sexy pose’.


What roles might this POV play in picturebooks?

I have made use of it — though not across an entire work — in Midnight Feast, in which the reader views the hallway from the young protagonist’s point of view. The point of view soon shifts to one of ‘reader’ because a touch on the screen sees the protagonist in front of the reader, pressed against the wall, trying not to be seen.


A shifting point of view adds variety to a picturebook, which is especially necessary in a story like Midnight Feast, in which the action takes place entirely inside one small apartment and stairwell. But even in cases where there are plenty of beautiful settings, an illustration from first person point of view can aid reader identification with the protagonist, and so I’m making use of it again in Hilda Bewildered. Below is a screenshot for page 22:


In this case I included the hand of the main character. The green ring is significant to the plot, and I also needed the speech bubble to be coming from somewhere (even if it is just a hand). Technically, at that angle, a passenger in the back seat of a car would not see the taxi driver’s eyes but rather his head (I only know this because I worked from a reference photo) but I have illustrated the driver’s rather menacing eyes and I’ve made sure they are looking straight at the reader. In conjunction with the first person point of view, I hope that when the reader first turns onto the page, that those eyes will heighten the suspense. Where is Hilda going? Who with? What’s going to happen when they get there? All of this works better if readers can put themselves into the position of the main character.

Animating a Droplet Of Water


On one page of Midnight Feast I decided early on that I had to have a tear drop falling onto a plate. I didn’t really consider how I was going to do this without owning animation software — so far I’ve not been convinced that highly animated storyapps tell a better story than ‘semi-animated’ ones like ours. But this really had to be animated.

When I looked up slo-mo videos of droplets falling — thanks, Interwebs! — I found that the way a droplet falls and splashes is completely different to what I’d imagined. When I showed Dan my animation, based closely on the video, he said it didn’t look realistic. I assured him it was ‘realistic’, but the real problem was, it wasn’t believable, so we modified reality a little and ended up with a stop-motion kind of effect which isn’t perfect but quite cool nonetheless. (I’m always amazed when my animation works at all.)

This raised an important point for me, which is as true of drawing as of animation: There is a difference between accurate and convincing. It applies to stories equally.

I’m reminded of the droplet because I just happened upon this: A Hand-Cranked Automaton That Mimics the Effect of a Raindrop Hitting Water.

Nature truly is amazing.

Bread Scented Shampoo


O, someone bring the smelling salts! Somebody who is an exchange student in Moscow posted this picture to Imgur. It’s bread-scented. You wash hairs with it.

I was once an exchange student in Japan, where among other minor culture differences which add up to make a sum of ‘foreign’, I noticed that Japanese natives tend to find different smells appealing. American women are notorious/famous among the Japanese for wearing too much perfume. Products for the bathroom were more likely to ‘smell like clean’ (if you can imagine that) rather than some highly potent chemically aroma smelling of some foreign, overpowering flower.

All of this just goes to show how scent and our perception is learned. Why not bread scented shampoo? At first glance this seems very strange to me, but if I take off my cultural lenses, bread is no more strange than the smell currently emanating from me, which is probably part coconut.

Watching Gilmore Girls recently, the character Lane complained that her always-hungry flatmates had eaten her food-scented body lotion on potato chips.

If you’re genuinely hungry, are food scented body products a special kind of torture? Or does everything start smelling of food?