Back Workbook – English:
characters universe

Leading illustrator: Dinara Galieva
Art director: Evgenia Barinova
Design director: Polina Filippova

Learning designers: Alexandra Sedova, Daria Mekhriakova

Illustration team
Ekaterina Tagirova
Polina Kuravina
Ksenia Zdorovets
Alexandra Nazarova
Daria Bayandina
English language is one of the key subjects in school programme, after Maths and Russian.

Dinara, together with the learning design team were given a challange to create a system of characters to help optimise processes for illustration production.  English as a subject is quite heavy on visuals – it requires a lot of illustrative material to demonstrate examples and differences in uses of various language cases and tenses. 

First steps where to identify key characters, give them names and descriptions, build a story around them. It was a truly collaborative and a fantastically inspiring process on putting together a script as if we were about to film a soap opera. 

The final storyline was based on a russian girl Nina who comes to UK as an exchange student and stays with a boy called Travis, who also has a best friend Jane, older brother Lewis and younger sister Mia. We also meet their extended families and friends, their teacher and neighbors.

Once the rough storyline and character descriptions were in place Dinara moved on to drafting up the character visuals with the thought of creating some sort of a ‘builder’ for quick and easy production of large amounts of illustrations. 

The work resulted in a set of characters and their simplified versions, with extended description of personalities and links between them.

The story content and character descriptions allowed leanring design team to come up with consistent examples to be used in the articles, as well as utilise humor to help engage the readers. 

The builder that Dinara created allowed the illustration team to produce large amounts of illustrations in a very short time, keeping the quality consistent.

Evgenia Barinova
Art director and educator specialising in illustration and communication design. Illustrators’ rights activist, co-founder of magazine. 
Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

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