I have been busy developing writing for a children's chapter book (deep in my world of imagination) which is why I haven't posted any illustrations for a while. So it was good to get back in my studio and do some drawing this week. I've been working on my black and white skills using dip pen with Indian Ink.
Last week I taught two narrative workshops for the International Art Foundation students at Bellerbys College in Brighton. The focus was on story design rather than high finish. Here are a few of the great concertina books that they made, each one breaking down a different folk tale into a short narrative. The students worked really hard and achieved so much in just a few hours. Thank you to the students and staff for making me feel so welcome. It was a great day.
Bears at the Band Stand. My Town Planning application for my illustrator pal Sarah Edmonds (@sarahsarie) Alphabetown. Sarah put on a fantastic exhibition at Colonnade House in Worthing of illustrative prints that show locations in an imagined seaside town based on letters of the alphabet. As well as Sarah's fantastic prints I also loved looking at other people's town planning applications including some great imaginative ideas by kids. I made a building bricks elephant and bought a great print of Leonard's Lighthouse that I love! I want to live in a lighthouse and have round rooms and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves!
I had to do a few re jigs (pardon the pun!) to get the musical instruments looking correct as technical detail is important for non fiction, unlike picture books where I make it all up from my head!
Just finished another illustration as part of a series to pitch for work illustrating activity books. Can you spot the mouse? I'm quite pleased with the expression on the cats face.
Currently working on some illustrations to pitch for work illustrating activity books. More to follow!
Some hand drawn type I've been working on. My theme was - creepy, story book, folk tale.
A little character I've been working on.
I made this lego heart to accessorise a fancy dress costume at the weekend. Lego was my favourite toy when I was a kid. Its great for creativity and dexterity!
Recently a publisher asked me about how I create my illustrations, so here is a blog post to show the process.
First I plan out the characters and layout, making careful notes about colour mixing for consistency. When drawing the same character or setting many times you need a record of how you created it the first time.
Next I draw out the illustrations onto watercolour paper using a nib and waterproof ink.
Then I stretch the paper to stop it buckling when I paint on it. This involves totally wetting the paper with a dunk in a cold shallow bath and then taping it to my drawing board with special artists gummed tape. Once the paper is dry I start to paint on it. In this example I have done three illustrations at the same time. Painting with watercolour is all about building layers so it’s handy if you can switch between illustrations while waiting for layers to dry (requires multi tasking skills!)
The finished illustrations are then scanned into Photoshop and tided up.
"And that's the end of you Mr Wolf!" cried Granny.
Who needs a woodcutter when Granny can save the day?! I have made the little sub characters, the mice, do a jubilant victory dance to make it a 'ding-dong-the-wicked-witch-is-dead' type moment. I have designed the full flat plan for the story, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and will make up a few more spreads in full colour before sending it out to agents/publishers.
The process. I start by drawing the outline in ink. Next I build up colour layers with watercolour paint. When the painting is finished I scan it into Photoshop to tidy it up. You will notice I changed the position of the mice to fit with the low view point. You can see my notes on colour mixing, and a comparison of the characters from another a drawing. This helps with consistency.
Latest illustration from a retelling of Little Red Ridinghood I am currently working on. I love a bit of dramatic irony!
"Stick to the path Ruby!" "Yes mum!".
A sneak preview of some new characters I'm working on, fairytale archetypes for modern retellings. Loving the wolf, granny and the innocent. I have to make lots of notes in the design stages so I can draw the characters looking the same with consistency.
This is a picture I created when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I like it because it has anthropomorphic frogs and tells a story. The little frog is very happy because the dad has brought him a new bike! The dad frog is wearing a flat cap, probably inspired by my own dad. My mum carefully saved all her favourite drawings my sisters and I did, so happily this still exists.
I'm working on a new portfolio piece of faces. Perhaps looking after my nephews inspired this one. Rowan ramping it up to 100! Though it can all be back to smiles and giggles in a moment. I have been reading some good on line tutorials about mixing flesh tones. What did we do before Google?
This is the colour chart I made for mixing watercolour paints. I always use it as a reference when painting.
Got a few pencils yeah!
Sunday 15th May, Red Room, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton, BN2 9NB. Drop in workshop between 1-5pm. £3 donation towards materials.
Create your own folded book with Book Artist Vanessa Marr and Illustrator Pip Carter, both from Fabula Collective. Fold and cut, draw and collage to create your own unique book from a collection of inspired themes, or let your imagination run wild and create one of your own. Materials provided.
Work in Progress. Concertina book, a street of colourful facades, made using collage. I use the green mat for cutting, and the sheet of card as a separate area for gluing.
A selection of both concertina books, and books made from one sheet of folded paper.
A short narrative over 4 spreads. Pages can be view individually, or folded out to view as a whole.
A name card made from collage.
Today I am making mini books from one sheet of paper. All the collage stuff has been collated. A change from my usual drawing and painting. Examples to follow, and details about a related workshop coming soon.