Whats on the box

When we read our imagination takes us further, it will fill in and create extra depth and meaning to the story we're reading.  An illustrators job is to visualise those imagining and deduce what might be going on in a scene or character interaction that isn't described in the authors words.

When creating illustrations for a story, I very much focus on the process of developing what my imagination is telling me to the page.   I'm always keen to make suggestions and develop ideas that can help enrich what the author has written. 

This scene was created to show how the children in the story bond with the robot, originally it was supposed to be a dinner table scene, though as robots don't eat it highlighted the difference of him as a character and separated him from the kids in the story.  Instead I fleshed out this scene with them all watching something scary, so that a bond is created by their share experience.  

This artwork was created by hand using pencils, scanned and layered and painted on Photoshop 

This artwork was created by hand using pencils, scanned and layered and painted on Photoshop 

 

 

Follow the balloon, drawing is fun

Illustrating an artwork is fun and the enjoyment should reflect in what the final artwork looks like.  You can really get a sense of enjoyment in creating a scene, a snippet from life rendered on the page.  For this illustration I really enjoyed capturing in ink the types of character you might see in in a line up, different ages, clothing styles and mood. 

As you can see I like economy in the line, keeping it simple and bold and easy to read. This was for a double page editorial illustration with text to be added on top. It also came with a background variartion showing the scene in context at an airport. 

Crowd Dylan Gibson.jpg
Dylan Gibson Illustration Longhaul.jpg

Illustration Friday

Cover illustration for Halloween Bandits a Lawrence Pinkley Adventure. Illustrated in pen and ink using brushes, art pen, brush pens

Read More

Drawing On Glass

Normally I hit the drawing board when doing an illustration, using paper, whatever weight or type that suits what I’m using to make a mark on it. 

Drawing on a window is a little bit more tricky and to get it right I plan out first what I’m going to draw on it.  Starting like I would in any commission I sketch my ideas down and create a layout on paper so I’ve got a good guide before I illustrate on the window.

Getting started on Café Calluna’s windows for The Enchanted Forest.

Getting started on Café Calluna’s windows for The Enchanted Forest.

Normally when you stare down a page to begin an artwork all you get is that big white surface filling your view and challenging you to make your first mark.  With a window you struggle with the view ahead, people passing, reluctantly featuring in someone’s selfie with you drawing in it, incidents of road rage and an endless procession of delivery vans. Life passes by and occasionally interacts if you stir a person’s curiosity.  My work for me is normally in a comfort zone and a place where you don’t get that kind of distraction but its so much fun to get out there.  That’s why opportunities to draw in public with window illustrations or chalk art and even live drawing are so great to do.  A chance for real time feedback, sharing my skills and observations. 

Give me some chalk pens and a window to draw on.

Give me some chalk pens and a window to draw on.

Any live drawing event whether it’s in a meeting room fleshing out an idea on paper with a client or in a conference hall recording an event with illustration is a great opportunity for an artist to stimulate and push their skills and share with others.  Making creativity a shared and more interactive experience is a wonderful thing to be part of.  

WIndow at night.

WIndow at night.

Under the sea, Cover Artwork For the Little Mermaid Adventures

Creating a visually dynamic illustration for a front cover is always the result you want to achieve when starting the project.  For Twisty Tales, The Little Mermaid Adventures commissioned by Franklin Watts the challenge was creating a cover image before the work had started on the book interior illustrations. 

Through the process of roughing out the concepts for the interior you take your characters designs and get to know them better in the actions they take throughout the story.  The character design changes and adapts to the highs and lows of the adventure.  Little tweaks to the look can help express emotions better and it all helps with the narrative.  Doing the character design illustrations first for the book cover is not unusual as long as you know the story and the adventure the characters must face.

I develop my sketches in pencil and hand them over for review, keeping a good line of dialog going with the client and adapting the concept illustrations to fit with the feedback.  Ensuring a quick pace at this stage keeps helps the development and the input fresh so that the character doesn’t get overworked.  

Concept illustrations for the little mermaid.

Concept illustrations for the little mermaid.

Using the layout provided by the publisher I create the composition for the cover.  The little mermaid shoots through the artwork towards the sailor she is going to rescue.  It’s all very dynamic and has a comic book illustration tone to the layout as its very much a action scene with drama and danger that needs to be conveyed. 

There is no doubt from the layout that the man needs rescuing from drowning but an extra danger from a looming shark also needed to be shown.  Judging how prominent the shark should be was the main item to work out on the layout as the overall composition of the mermaid racing to help the sailor in the bottom corner was very well received.

Book cover illustrations showing the development of the composition.

Book cover illustrations showing the development of the composition.

When it came to finishing the illustration and adding colour I wanted a little bit of the beauty of the underwater world to show, I thought of showing the plankton floating about like stars in a night sky with rays of light from the surface softly lighting the depths below.  With the little room I had left I wanted to show the little mermaids entourage of fish looking concerned at their brethren's plight in the net. 

Finished Book cover illustration

Finished Book cover illustration

Cover Illustration with design.

Cover Illustration with design.

For other Picture Book illustrations, Illustrated stories and narrative illustrations please visit my galleries.  I have also reluctant reader illustrations and comic strip illustrations available to view or request samples of via my contact page.

 

Illustrating a Book Pt4 Working on the cover

Illustrating the cover shouldn’t be any different from drawing the artwork for the interior but is in many ways.  Firstly it’s an important factor in selling the book and has to represent what the story is about inone image, it has to illustrate the tone of the book whether its humorous, dramatic or an adventure story.  It needs to convey the genre maybe in an overt way or more subtlety, an example is a fantasy story with magic, monsters and strange lands that needs to be communicated on the cover to the potential reader.

Ways of illustrating this could be to show full on these fantasy elements with more recognisable details becoming secondary.  Another approach would be to ground the story showing the more approachable characters more prominently and the fantasy as a backdrop. As an artist there is maybe no right or wrong direction and it is more about responding to the story as a reader and interpreting it as a creative in the way you believe most fits the story.  As a freelance illustrator commissioned by an editor or author to create an artwork for the cover it’s a different matter as you will receive a brief or outline for you to interpret. The scope of what you can create will vary from project to project.  A tight brief is not a constraint to your imagination rather an opportunity, a creative response can be just as effective while working within set boundaries.

Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 X-NONE 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-qformat:yes;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin-top:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-right:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
	mso-para-margin-left:0cm;
	line-height:115%;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:11.0pt;
	font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
	mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
	mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
   Cover Illustration rough and finished artwork for dropping into design.  Pen and ink using art pens,  dip pen and brush.  Illustration coloured on PhotoShop.      

Cover Illustration rough and finished artwork for dropping into design.  Pen and ink using art pens,  dip pen and brush.  Illustration coloured on PhotoShop.

 

 

The book cover illustration for The White Arrow Assassin by Tim Flanagan was a rather simple brief to show the main character Private Investigator Lawrence Pinkley.  The character illustration was to be set on a coloured background with title and not include location or any scene from the book.  Visually there are a few ways that you can sell what he does on the front cover in a quick and effective way.  If you were to do word association with the description of detective a number of stereotypical answers about look and props would come your direction.  Using iconic imagery was key to sell the idea to audiences quickly.  As Pinkley’s look is typical of old gum shoe and noir detectives and his age is set down in the story, the boundaries are there to work within and the key challenge is representing by understanding his character in a quirky way.   He’s still new to the profession and out of his depth the humour in the story comes from his not understanding and inferring incorrectly from clues, resulting in the wrong deduction.  So when creating his character, a little bit of awkwardness in his physicality and stance goes some way in conveying this in the illustration.

WELOME

New site and lots of new illustrations to view in three new galleries.  Editorial and advertising contains commissioned illustrations from Magazine, Newspaper features and work for posters and campaigns.  Work for children's publishing commissions is split into two galleries, Picture book illustrations for young children and illustrated stories for older pre-teen and reluctant readers. 

Look around and get in touch if you see something you like or if you have a project in mind.