Sunday, 11 May 2014

Peek o boo book

A peek o boo book can be both rewarding and having worked on two now I can say they are quite hard to illustrate. I have also tweeted with other illustrators who have worked on similar projects, who have also confirmed they are challenging! Great fun though too.

I recently completed a peek o boo book for a publisher.  The story is set on a farm. The heroin was a pony, called Rosie. The story was fairly simple, but illustrating it was tough, as the illustration on each spread is happening on three separate layers, with peek through sections revealing further detail. Working with templates can be quite hard, especially when you cannot put artwork in certain places and other areas need lots of detail. You may be thinking, "well what's wrong with that?", but what if the artwork doesn't quite work within those constraints? At the same time your artwork has to be telling the story. The rewarding part is when you get it right and it looks good too (well hopefully).

I already have some of the artwork from this project on my website, but as composite layers. In the this post I thought I would show them as separate layers. So below is spread 1 with it's three separate layers. If you want to ask me any questions about this sort of project, then please tweet me @stone_lyn

Here's the bottom layer first:

Here's the middle layer. The blank area is cut away to reveal the bottom layer:

Here's the top layer, which also includes the left-hand side of the spread, where the text is placed. 
Again the blank areas are cut away to reveal the middle layer and bottom layer:

Finally here is a composite of all three layers as they appear in the book:

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

How I illustrate

Sorry it has taken me a shameful amount of time to post a blog, but I have been very busy with commissions - hurrah, which means I get behind on everything else! How I work is something I have been asked in the past many times and as I was recently interviewed on-line on that very subject I thought I would share an example with you today. Here’s is a link to that very on-line interview – a first for me - yikes!

So without further delay, here is a step by step guide to how I created an illustration using inks and watercolour paints.

How I work: The following shows how I created my illustration of a boy riding a dragon for last year’s iPad skin competition run by my Australian agent.

Step 1 – I place the sketch or enlarged thumbnail onto a lightbox. The watercolour paper is placed on top and using an acrylic-based ink I begin inking the drawing, without following the sketch too carefully.

Step 1 How I work
Step 2 – Here is the finished inked artwork. I then stretch the paper using traditional methods.
Step 2 How I work
Step 3 – Once dry. I flood the paper with clear water and begin adding the first colour, which spreads and pools in the water in nice unpredictable ways.
Step 03 How I work
Step 4 – Start building the colours up a little. Again I am using the wet-in-wet technique. While everything is still very wet, I like to ‘push’ the colours around a little so they merge.Step 4 How I work
Step 5 – Now I begin adding colours in a more controlled way with the paper dry but mixing the watercolour over the paper by adding clear water to it.
Step 5 How I work
Step 6 – With this particular picture I added the background colours at a later stage
Step 6 How I work
Step 7 – Now I can start adding some texture and pattern by flicking the paintbrush, loaded with paint across the picture – this is great fun!
Step 7 How I work
Step 8 – Once dry I then scan the artwork and this instance dropped it into a template for an iPAD skin using Photoshop.
ipad skin DRAGON WEB How I work

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How to draw a peacock

This post about step by step illustration was inspired by my being approached by a fellow blogger who would like to publish a post about me. She obviously loves illustration and likes to promote it and show insights into the world of illustration. The post will consist I think of an on-line interview and a step by step illustration.

So my post today is inspired by this idea and I thought I would share with you one of my storyboards showing step by step illustration. This I completed a few years ago for The videos comprised of step by step illustration or ‘how to draw’ various things. All of which were based one what people actually Google search for on-line.

One I haven’t shared with you is how to draw a peacock! So the following shows step by step sketches! Good luck!
Step 1 – sketch some basic shapes to form the skeleton of your drawing:

Step 2 –  Start to add smaller basic shapes that will become feet, facial details, etc

Step 3 – Now you can start to add finer detailing on feet, crest, and tail.

Step 4 – Now start to sketch out very lightly the shapes within the fan of feathers

Step 5 – At this point finer detail to these shapes can be added.

Step 6 – Now that you’re really comfortable with the shape, you can finish off with much finer detail and maybe give a sense of where or what the peacock is standing.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Templar Publishing reference books

I'm pleased to announce that two more of the 'Who what when' books that I illustrated have been published and are available! 

What is even better for me is that they have used my illustrations on both of the new books, which are called 'Knights and castles', and 'Ponies and horses'. They are actually available to purchase on Amazon already, which is pretty fast!

All the books are aimed at a younger age range and have lift the flap pages and layouts designed to be fun for a younger audience. 

All the artwork had to be painted on white with absolutely no background, so that they could be dropped into the layout with backgrounds and work with flaps, etc.

All mind were created using nib pen, permanent sepia ink and watercolours on a very smooth, pure white watercolour paper. 

Here are the two news jacket covers for the latest published!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Who What When

Human Body is part of a new series of reference books for young children entitled, Who What When and published by Templar Publishing.  They are all lift the flap books and so will be great fun for young children. I am the main illustrator in all four books.

This time last year I was one of the illustrators working on the first four books in what is hoped will be a twenty-four book series. The first four cover the following subjects: the human body, horses and ponies, dinosaurs, and the always popular knights and castles. At the moment they have published Human Body and Dinosaurs. If they do well then hopefully more ‘who what when’ will follow. It will be interesting see what they want illustrated next?

They are now on Amazon - already! I am delighted that they have chosen my artwork for the cover too, which is very nice and totally unexpected.  Here is the cover of Human Body with my artwork on it (the little boy).

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

My picture books

For the last few weeks I have been developing my own picture books - three in fact that work together. I wrote them some time ago, but have only recently got around to putting together a submission for a publisher. 

For the submission I created two samples spreads, and all three jacket covers! Quite a lot of work, but hopefully it will lead to a sell. I am now playing the waiting game. I have worked as an illustrator for a couple of decades now and this is the first time I have written and illustrated a picture book and so I am both very nervous and excited. The idea for all three came to me from my many nursery storytime visits, which sadly I no longer have the time to do. They used to be both stressful and great fun. Taming a room of twenty-five to thirty, three to four year old children has its challenges and rewards.

Obviously I don't want to give too much away, but thought I could share some of the artwork with you today without sharing specific details.

All the artwork has been drawn using nib pen and sepia ink. I have then painted the artwork using French and German watercolour paints and the paper I have painted on is Italian - very pro-european of me! I think my brushes are British though...

The illustrations below show my two main characters: a boy exploring with his pet puffin!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

How to draw clouds

How to draw clouds is one of the many video tutorials I completed for video a few years ago, but I have never shared it on my blog and so thought I would!

This video was one of twenty produced at the same time from the first set I did for video jug. For the first set of videos I had to mainly draw and so only needed a minimum amount of art equipment. This meant I was able to go to their TV studio in central London, to film all twenty videos. 

I basically had to sit and ignore the cameraman completely and talk through, step by step how to paint and draw various subjects. Not easy and so I did do a little bit of preparation in advance, but in the videos I do start with a plain piece of paper!

If you want to have a go at following this video, you will need either stretched watercolour paper or strong cartridge paper, watercolour paint, a fine brush, some water of course (I use an old jam jar), and finally patience. 

This is a video that shows you how to paint an eye. It's amazing at the amount of different colours that it takes to paint an eye in order to make it beautifully realistic, yet it really is simple to do. Good luck!