Friday, January 18, 2013

My process for creating an illustration for Skink on the Brink

 This has been such a terrific week, with my artwork for Skink on the Brink( written by the lovely Lisa Dalrymple) making the cover of Fitzhenry & Whiteside's Spring 2013 catalogue.  I have been floating without my feet touching the ground since then, which makes for a very peculiar looking happy dance, let me tell you ;)

This illo below is also featured in the catalogue on the Skink on the Brink page( psst see pg 4!).

 I thought it might be fun to show the process of how I created it.

The first step was to cover the illustration board with colour blocks of the background colour.

Yes, it looks like a bit of a mess at this point but it was all about getting the colours onto the board and making sure I had full coverage( for a full bleed illustration). So we have the sky at the top, some grassy hills in the background and some green and muddy parts in the foreground.

The next step was to start from the furthest part of the background and start working forward. In this case it was time to put on the trillium leaves....lots and lots of trillium leaves. And yes, each single leaf was done by hand. That little tool just off to the right is just perfect for grabbing a wee bit of plasticine and, when it is pressed down, it creates a tiny leafy shape. One of my favorite tools. Trees were added, as I continued working forward. 

Many hours later the background leaves are all down.The trees have texture and highlights, to give dimension, and the foreground ground cover goes down. 

Stewie was sculpted off to the side and put on top. Next the foreground trillium leaves and stems are laid on, but not pressed down yet. At this point I know some of the white trillium flowers will be overlapping with the stems to be more organic, so I left these leaves just sitting on top of the plasticine.

Then after wiping off my hands, to get rid of any dark plasticine( as it can transfer to the white, and we don't want dirty white trilliums, right!) I was ready to start adding all of the trillium blooms. Starting again from the back and working forward, I added each trillium petal, one at a time. Next the squirrels, deer mouse(keep a look out for that little guy) and yummy crickets were added( sshhhhhh. they are hiding, I don't think Stewie has noticed them yet?). 
And finally, after some final tweaking, everything was pressed down gently and the illustration was complete! YAY!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stewie made the cover of the Fitzhenry & Whiteside Spring 2013 catalogue!

 I'm so beyond thrilled to share some big news!! On the cover of Fitzhenry and Whiteside's Spring 2013 catalogue is....drum roll please..... artwork from Skink on the Brink! Lisa Dalrymple and I are so honoured and super excited.
Here is the image that they used for the cover:

It is actually interior art form the book, a double page spread, so it gives a wrap around effect- cool eh! To see the full jacket just click on the jacket link under the cover image at the link above.

To see the entire catalogue (psst... check out page 4), which is jam packed full of highly anticipated books, that I personally can't wait to get my hands on, please click on the Children's portion link under the cover image at the link above.

Here is  the cover illustration. As you can see the left side will wrap around to the back, so room has been left on the lily pads and in the water for text. The right side of the illustration is the front. And yes, I also did the lettering in plasticine.  

Mark your calendar, it will be out this May!!! Lisa and I can't wait to share this book with you guys!! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! Can you believe it is January 2013? Where does the time go?
Here is my January 2013 desktop calendar. If you'd like to grab yourself a copy to download simply click on the desired screen resolution size above, then right click "save as desktop". 
I thought this tobogganing illo was perfect for January.  The kiddos and I have been a regular fixture at the local hills since we received the first snow of the season last week. Gotta get as much sledding in as we can while the snow lasts, right?
 I don't know about you but this past year seemed to fly by at lightening speed. It was just last January I drove out to Fitzhenry & Whiteside with sample illustrations in the back seat, to meet with Christie Harkin, my editor, and Cathy Sandusky to share my initial ideas for Stewie the skink. I was SO nervous!  This was my first picture book contract, after all- a dream come true. I had a lovely day meeting with Christie and Cathy, and many of the friendly FitzWits staff. Even the resident cats strolled by to say "hi" and get some cheeky rubs. Although I think they were more interested in curiously inspecting my art boxes. Luckily none of the artwork was squished or "floppled upon" during my visit. ;) 
Since that day, I have been busy working on the roughs, then revising, and revising and revising and now...after lots of fun( hard to call it that when it IS so much fun) I am pleased to report  the plasticine illustrations for my first picture book Skink on the Brink, written by Lisa Dalrymple, are complete. Lalalalaaa!
 We had the test photo shoot just before Christmas with my photographer Heather, of  Heather Hogan Photography. Heather and I were super excited about the shoot and the results look fantastic, I can't wait to do the final shoot.
I hope to post some process blog posts, once the book launches, to share some of the many things I have learned along the way illustrating my first picture book. So stay tuned for those.  
 Here's to a successful, happy and adventurous 2013 everyone :)


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