Thursday, 31 March 2011

Où vivent les Français?

Some of you may already know that I am trying to learn French, no small undertaking with all those prepositions that can be plural, male or female. I have to say I’m really enjoying it. This week we're learning in more detail how to say where people live and directions, like “Benoît habite une petite maison avec un grand jardin dans la banlieue de Nantes, dans l’ouest de la France.” Roughly translated it means ‘Bernard lives in a small house with a large garden in the suburbs of Nantes, in the west of France”. The class is great fun because, Michelle our teacher (who is native French) has a great sense of humour and so we all have a great giggle all the time! For homework we had to imagine our life and say it all in French, well we had châteaux in Central Park, I lived by the seaside and somebody else was chairwoman of the Bank of Paris - LOL! I think I should have been less modest...”bonk!”

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Big book festival

I now have a date for when I will be taking part in Beckenham Library’s book festival this summer. I have been invited to talk about the world of illustrating on 29th June at 2pm at Beckenham Library, Beckenham in South East London. Other people involved are Karen McLeod author of ‘In search of the missing eyelash’, Judith Niechial, Brian Scovell, Alex Milway, author of the successful children’s book series ‘The mousehunter’ and Malorie Blackman the famous children’s book writer of such novels as ‘Noughts and crosses’, ‘Whizzwig’ and ‘Hacker’. 
Sounds like there will be something for everyone! I have to say this is the first time I have done a talk like this, but this seems to be a year of firsts, as later this month I will be with a TV crew being filmed near Clerkenwell, London - more about that at the end of April. That I am terrified about - beyond nervous!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Art tip of the week - observing colours:

There are two exercises you can try to help train your eyes to really see every colour possible in something you are painting. They are both still life projects. 
The first is to create a still life made up of as many white objects you can find and obviously place them against a white cloth or background, so everything you see is white! But is it? There are shades and tones of white in front of you, try looking at the white objects in a different way: is that a cool white with maybe some blue in it, against a warm white with maybe a touch of orange or pink in it? Of course these shades of colour are very subtle indeed and so you need to mix the colours in a very subtle way. Before you know it you will be observing a whole range of colours and tones amongst all those whites. The second exercise is to do the same again, but with all black objects AND you are not allowed to use any black paint! You will need to use a whole range of colours to mix your various shades of black, some warm and some cold, etc.  Once you have managed to complete these two still life pictures, you’ll start to look at colour differently, for instance flesh tones and all the various warm and cool colours you can see when doing a life drawing. Have fun!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Maternity Charity Calendar: Pregnant ladies for ‘bump’ body painting wanted!

Yes, I am the artist involved in this and if you want to know more, read on:
I am really excited to announce a fantastic collaboration between myself and two really great local artists on a photo shoot to support Chloe’s Count the Kicks. This great organization works to raise awareness of the need for expectant mums to monitor their babies movements in a bid to reduce neonatal deaths and still births.
They are looking to create a calendar using pregnant woman and this is their brief. “We are looking for Anne Geddes style fun, imaginative shots that represent each month of the year, ideas we’ve had so far are using body painters and painting a Pumpkin design on a Bump for Halloween in October, or a Christmas pudding in November, perhaps a big Sunflower for April or May and maybe a model in an “incey wincey – teeny weeny – yellow polka dot bikini holding a beach ball for July!” The more imaginative the idea the more we will love it!” Sophia Mason, Count the Kicks.
I will be collaborating with a local children’s book illustrator and artist, Lyn Stone and my mum who has worked with me on a similar project. (The image below was taken when I was a photographic student many moons ago and you will be pleased to know is nothing like what we plan for this shoot). Both will be giving up two Saturdays to offer their body painting skills!
The shoots will take place on Saturday 21 May and 18 June and will be held at my home studio in Chelsfield, Kent. Each artist will body paint two woman on each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which should give us a good choice to submit for the calendar.
We all met earlier this week and brainstormed some ideas for the body painting and have some fantastic creations, they will be modest, pretty, soft and feminine! We would, however value suggestions from the women wanting to participate in this project. We are looking for women from a full spectrum of our multi-cultural Britain that are between thirty-two and thirty-six weeks pregnant.
I am really happy to do a mini-maternity session with the participants and their partners, other siblings, etc. We can schedule that in before the body painting takes place and then they can go off and do something fun and collect you after the body painting shoot has taken place. I will also include a 8 x10 photographic print of your choice from the shoot.
Please contact me on 07905 139 007 or email if you would like to participate in this exciting project and/or share this link with anyone who may be interested. It promises to be a great fun and very much a one-off experience!

If you would like to see Sue's beautiful photographic work, please visit her site.

Friday, 25 March 2011

A mystery project - shhhh!

Went and had a meeting with a friend yesterday, who is a professional photographer: Sue Greetham. We are going to be working on a project together, combining my artwork and her photography in a very unusual way - you’ll never guess. Can’t say too much just yet until she has got the publicity on the way, but we are hoping to get it featured on-line and elsewhere. It is going to be fun and quite challenging to do and all in the name of charity! Hopefully I will be in a position to tell you more soon...
Hope everyone has a great AND sunny weekend!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Fairy fab fun...

Continuing with the fairy theme today! I thought I would bombard you with a few more spreads from my Midnight Fairy Surprise Party. What you are seeing in these images is a compilation of all the layers that exist in each spread. It is a 3D book and so the idea is you can lift the various layers on each spread to reveal another image or more accurately see more of the image than you can glimpse from the previous layer. Hope that makes sense?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A feast of fairies!

Fairies seem to be a popular theme at the moment with children’s books, maybe they have always been alongside castles, dinosaurs and pirates. In recent months I seem to have worked on quite a few fairy briefs and so I thought I’d share an image with you today from The Fairy Midnight Surprise Party, which is currently on Amazon. I had great fun researching British wild flowers for the book and crammed in as many as I could. I wanted to include hedgehogs too along with the rabbits and other woodland animals, but because the book will be sold in America too I couldn’t include them, as they are not indigenous to the States. Still I did get away with the British wild flowers! Shhh - don’t say anything and hopefully they won’t notice...
Here’s a spread from the book

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I smell of hot chocolate!

Had to do a story time visit yesterday at a local nursery. The children are between three and four years old. The theme was tigers and so as you can imagine there was a great deal of excitement and lots of ROARING! If you ever have to do a story time session with a large group of three to four year olds, I find putting a few songs in between the stories keeps up their interest. We had a few tiger songs too I had made up, which meant they could ROAR even more! Two little boys, who are obviously firm friends were little monkeys all the way through, but decided at the end to give me a big hug! One of them then said to me “you smell of hot chocolate” I then had two little noses busily sniffing my neck! I sat there thinking, thank goodness I’ve been CRB checked! At least it was hot chocolate and not something worse I guess...?

Monday, 21 March 2011

Art tip of the week:

I thought for a bit of fun I would start providing weekly art tips for anyone out there wanting to improve their drawing and painting skills. Sounds very big headed of me, but I thought it would be nice to pass on what I learnt from a very good tutor at University.
Art tip: If you are working in pencil, to help get the shading right and also interesting try quickly scribbling ten small square boxes at the top of your paper - they can be tiny. Now shade them in from black to white. Then when you start shading whatever it is your drawing, let's say a landscape, check what you’re looking at against the boxes until you find the right shade. It will help you really observe light and dark. 

Ancient greece cat attack...

Well as promised, here is the artwork of an Ancient Greek boy playing with his pet cat. This is one of the images that were rejected for the project, because although a fun idea it did not fit the composition provided by the paper engineer. If you’re wondering what a paper engineer is, that’s the ingenious person who comes up with all the interesting pop-up structures you find in children’s pop-up books. A unique job I think!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ghoulish goblin's munching...

Well as promised yesterday, here are the pictures I did of Goblin's preparing their lunch! I did a black and white, and a colour version. The colour is rendered in inks, wet-in-wet and other techniques.

My other piece of artwork is also finished, but still stretched on the board and so I will show you that on Monday.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

This is just rendered in soft pencil

Here I used inks and no line-work like I normally would. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ready to go

Well looking at the stretched paper this morning, it is ready to work on. Paper is a very strong thing, it has stretched so taught that the board itself is bending, ever so slightly, which does sometimes happen.

It's good paper, I use Fabriano paper, which is hand-made in Italy. It has no tooth on it at all, which is useful when you work with a mapping pen with a needle point, which catches on everything if you're not careful! Hopefully I will at least get it inked today.

Yesterday I showed you a sketch of a Goblin artist. These are the roughs for Goblin Lunch, which I will publish tomorrow. I work in a scribbly way initially to get the character right.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A funny day

Well I had my French class last night and so had a barrage of new words to learn. What I want to know is, can the brain leak? No sooner do you learn something new, when something old sneaks out the back door!

Am busy stretching watercolour paper today in preparation to do this new artwork. For those who do not know what stretching involves, you need a large flat board (wooden), paper tape, a large absorbent cloth or towel, a bath of cold water and of course the paper! You soak the paper in the water (having torn off lengths of paper tape first, which I leave soaking in the sink or certainly under a tap ready). You then drain off the excess water place the paper on the board. You now move very quickly! Place the absorbent cloth over the top and suck up more of that water. Then place the wet tape down - super quick - all around the paper, effectively taping it down onto the board. You need to do this before the paper starts to crinkle up too much! It will crinkle a bit whilst drying, but it should dry as flat as an ice rink. Once stretched you can throw as much water, ink and paint at it as you like and it will dry as flat as the proverbial pancake (not as tasty though...). Yes, I'm sure you really wanted to know all that, um no!

Here is today's artwork for you. It is a rough sketch for a range of pictures i did all about Goblins:

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

More pop-up artwork!

This week I am going to get started on some artwork that came out of my projects for the Bologna book fair. Sometimes you produce many roughs, generating ideas for the final artwork that at the time for whatever reason get put to one side. In this case although there were one or two nice ideas they would not have fitted the pop-up format designed. I felt some of these were worth taking further and colouring up. I will publish the artwork on my blog when I’ve finished for everyone to see. 
By the way, changing the subject did anyone catch ‘Waking the dead’ last night on BBC1? What a creepy, tense episode - loved it! Seriously frightening mother and for some reason, the nurse gave me the shivers too! 

This boy isn't Greek, he's Roman, but fun all the same:

Monday, 14 March 2011

Children say the funniest things

As well as illustrating books, I work part-time in a library, which I love. Working with children can mean you store up a wealth of wonderful anecdotes and so I thought I would share some with you today.
You never quite know what a child is going to say to you at times. On one occasion we had a little five year-old intently watching my colleague put some large teddy bears in the junior library. He then quite seriously went up to her and with a deep frown said “are they there to watch people?” O_O

I have been learning French and so decided one day I would test it on another five year old, who I knew was being taught French by her au pair. So I plucked up the courage and said “Tu t’appelles comment? But the answer got was, well unexpected, “je m’appelle Chicken” What? 

Friday, 11 March 2011

Midnight Fairy 3D book

Here is the link to my latest book on Amazon - quite excited to see it at last Midnight Fairy 3D book

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Fingers, toes and eyes crossed...!

Well that's good! My viking artwork has been signed off today and all are happy. I enjoyed working on that one far more than the Greek boy, but maybe I was finding my feet with that one.

Now it's fingers, toes and eyes crossed that all my projects will not be in vain and the publishers will be successful with my art contributions at the big annual children's book fair in Bologna. The earliest I'll get any feedback will be April.

Now I can get on with a sample image I have been meaning to do, which came out of the Greek boy roughs - when he's done I can publish him on-line, so you can take a look! All I'll say is that it involves a cat playing, which will please Isabel, a.k.a. @FrenchTweacher on twitter (great lady by the way).

Au revoir!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Viking panic at Bologna!

Just when I thought I had caught up with myself, I've got to do a final piece of artwork for Bologna book fair! Just a rough though and so it isn't too bad. Given a clue as to what it might be above, but that's all your getting I'm afraid! But just so you can see something today, here's a pirate girl I did last year. Have a trouble-free day me hearties:

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The word 'bum' and small children!

Well away from the world of illustrating into the realm of libraries. Yesterday I did a nursery visit - a story time and song session. Naturally the most popular book with the average three year-old was one entitled 'BUMS', yes 'bums'! A lift the flap book all about animals behinds! The red monkey's bum was particularly popular. Needless to say the excitable din nearly took my head off - boy were my ears ringing!

Maybe I should illustrate a book about bums...?

Monday, 7 March 2011

All finished!

Well, I managed to get the artwork finished yesterday, but ended up doing them twice! Completely ruined the first two! I think it was partly due to my stinking cold (sneezing constantly over everything, eyes watering) and partly because I have never done artwork that small before. I mean one image was only 60mm x 90mm, which is tiny! At least somebody else is doing the scanning for me today. Now I can just self-indulge in feeling sorry for myself over my cold...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Last two images for Bologna book fair

J'ai un rhume! 

Not a good way to start the day - sore throat and runny nose - eugh!

Today I am working on the last two spot illustrations for a promotional book going to Bologna. I seem to do promotional stuff for publishers this time of year for the book fairs. Obviously they, like me are hoping they will be successful and then I get the opportunity to work on a series, which is always very satisfying!

The illustrations today are minuscule in size and so I will be using wee little brushes and lots of patience! 

Then everything has got to be professionally scanned (not by me on my dinky-toy scanner) and whizzed off through cyber-space on Tuesday. I can then sigh with relief for a while.

Changing the subject, I had a lucky night last night. My elderly parents twisted my arm and got me to go to - this will ruin my image - bingo last night. Guess what? I won twice AND one a hamper in the raffle. Like that never happens to me dudes and dudettes, it really doesn't!

Hope you all have a great Sunday... This image is for Fuzzybutt - he knows who he is...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Bologna here we come...!

Yes, the final image for the final project for the Bologna book fair has been signed off and I can now ink and colour it - weeeee! This project was particularly difficult, but now I have a real feel for what the client wants and so if this goes ahead as a series, which is what we are all hoping for, future books should be far quicker to get right! Unfortunately, as usual I can't share any pictures with you just yet!

Thought I'd jazz up my blog a bit too with a couple more images - these I can show you as they are from past projects or books due to be published shortly!

Should be doing a talk at Beckenham Library, Bromley in June/July for their big book festival. I'll be talking about the crazy world of illustrating! They've signed up people like Tony Bradman, Alex Milway and Malorie Blackman, and so I feel very honoured to be asked, alongside such well known authors!

I guess as well as preparing images today, I had better practise my French too! Mon dieu!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Two followers already

Two followers already - I am truly honoured. May have some news soon about when my fairy pop-up book for Ivy Press will be published...the tension is killing me!

I am learning french!

Very much a beginner, mind you:
Je travaille dans un bibliothèque à Mottingham, Je travaille aussi à la maison comme illustratrice pour enfants. Je fais des illustrations pour des livres pour enfants et pour des cartes.

My first attempt at blogging!

Well thanks to advice from @ScaryHurley on twitter, here's my first attempt at blogging! Have been working in February and March on artwork for the Bologna book fair. Some really interesting stuff this year! Unfortunately due to the need to really protect their ideas I am not allowed to share what I have been doing with you, for fear I may be tarred and feathered by at least two publishers! Not a good prospect, but maybe soon. Watch this space...

By the way, you can also find me on twitter under @LynAStone!


Here's something I just published at yfrog: