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 jug.com 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!



Monday, 4 November 2013

More dinosaur colour illustrations

I feel it's time to share some more dinosaur colour illustrations with you that I completed last year for a UK based publisher. The book is a reference book aimed at five to seven year old children with lift-the-flaps and a fun layout! 


All the artwork was created using nib pen and sepia ink and then painted using colour inks but watered down considerably, so that I could control the results better.

I was the main artist, but it is one of those books that has many illustrators contributing to it, and some of the illustrations I did look a little odd, but in context work really well. For instance the ones I am going to share with you today I more like portraits. These illustrations demonstrate the differences between a certain species of dinosaur - hence they look a little bit like mug shots!

If you would like to see more of my work, don't forget to visit mys website: www.lynstone.com. Or maybe follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/stone_lyn.

Here are some of the mug shots for you! I am sorry but I cannot find the original information on these and so cannot remember their names...











Thursday, 31 October 2013

Eureka!

I have been working on a picture book submission – three picture books in fact! Can't say too much just yet, as it is all a bit hush, hush still. However I think I can share some of the illustrations created for the submission.



All three books are aimed at pre-school children and I got the idea from my many story time sessions at local nurseries. When you have a room of around twenty five, three to four year old toddlers to control, you have to find fun and playful ways to do it or chaos ensues! A game I play with them that works really well I suddenly realised may work as a picture book. A sort of eureka moment.

I decided to use the same style I recently used for my iPAD skin design for the agency's competition – a mixture of nib pen and ink, and watercolours. I had so much fun creating the dragon illustration I just thought that it would be great to develop the style a bit.

Anyway, here are the results – wish me luck!

Here's my inspiration for the style of the artwork...


Here's one of the illustrations


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

How to paint eyes

How to paint eyes is one of the many video tutorials I completed for video jug.com 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 and a second set I did for video jug. As the second set involved more painting, they had to come to me and turn my home into a TV studio for a day, which was fun. Although my neighbours must have thought all a bit odd with the curtains drawn too and lots of lights being brought in...

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!



Monday, 14 October 2013

Flower illustrations

I have drawn lots of fairies, gardens and flowers over the years and so thought it might be nice to do a post about flower illustrations and maybe share some sketches and finished artwork with you, just on flowers! A lot of this is really old stuff, but it is nice to look again at work every now and then. If nothing else you can see whether you have progressed as an artist, which is hopefully reassuring!


Flower illustrations: Where possible I like to do a bit of research work and use real species of flowers in my artwork. The illustrations I completed for Ivy Press contained many varieties of British Wild flowers, and there are some spectacular ones out there. For Templar Publishing, I added wild flowers, clematis and dandelions, which are not weeds! in actual fact bees love them, so let them grow. Mind you not in your lawn!

I have drawn them using pencil, inks, coloured inks and more recently watercolour, which I think works best. Watercolour can convey the delicacy of petals and leaves with layering and soft translucent colours.

Here are some old sketches for both Templar Publishing and Ivy Press, taken from photographs of wild flowers:

flower illustrations

flower illustrations
 flower illustrations
























flower illustrations

Friday, 11 October 2013

Painting a rose

Among the many different subjects that I covered for videojug, one which they said was popular with surfers was information on how to paint a rose. 

This video was filmed in the second round of videos I worked on with videojug. For the first set of twenty I went up to their tiny studio in Central London. However for the second set of videos they wanted me to do quite a bit of painting, and that would have meant lugging lots of art equipment on the train and tube. So, they offered to come to me, and turned my living room into a TV studio - quite literally. They brought in lights and other equipment. Goodness knows what my neighbours thought of the whole thing - especially as the curtains and blinds had to be drawn...

Anyway, today I would like to share with the video on how to paint a rose. I do hope it is helpful and now that I've sorted out my comments notifications I will receive any messages or questions you send and will do my best to answer them.



Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Gift books non-fiction


Gift books non-fiction may sound an odd combination. Usually most people associate pop-up books and lift-the-flap books with the gift book market, but there are now many pop-up and lift-the-flap reference books for children.


Gift books non-fiction: Earlier this year I illustrated four non-fiction, lift-the-flap books covering, the human body, horses and ponies, Castles and Knights, and lastly DINOSAURS! There are meant to be twenty more, but all has gone quite with the publisher for now, and so it's case of being patient and hoping that they will go ahead with the whole series. I hope they do because I want to the Egyptians, the Vikings, and Pirates of course! They are aimed at five to seven year olds, and so have elements of fun about them - hence the lift-the-flap elements.

Anyway, here is some illustrations from the Castles and Knights book. If you want to see more check out my other blog posts and my non-fiction portfolio, by clicking on non-fiction above.

Sorry about how murky these look, but it is blogspot not me! They seem to be uploading images and then making them look grey and sludgy!




Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Oh no! Apologies

It would appear that I have been receiving loads of messages from people reading my posts and for some reason they haven't been getting to me. I am so very sorry. I have not answered any because I did not know they were there. I will now attempt to reply to you all.


Apparently my comments notification by email was set-up incorrectly, and so I should now be getting everyone's comments, and I will answer all of them! So keep them coming, please...

My sincere apologies!

Lyn Stone

Monday, 7 October 2013

Arts award discover

I have been inspired today after attending an 'arts award discover' training course, which will enable me to become an arts award advisor. Sounds very important and I suppose it is really, but not from my point of view. It is all about encouraging children to engage in the arts and have a better understanding of art all around them. That is what is important.


Arts award discover: The Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England.

The Arts Award mission is to support children and young people to enjoy arts, develop creative and leadership skills, and achieve a national qualification. Arts Award reflects many different interests and ambitions, respects individual development and helps young people to define their creative futures.

Attending the course were a fantastic mix of creative people with different perspectives on creativity. We had poets, an illustrator (me), librarians, performing artists, and other very interesting people.

The course is aimed at making those attending arts awards advisors, but only for the entry level called ‘discover’. The idea is that it is a course for children and young people, ranging from 5 years up to 25! There are three parts, which are called ‘discover’, ‘find out’ and ‘share’. Beyond the entry level there are courses that will provide a qualification for the child or young person. They are called ‘explore’, ‘bronze’, ‘silver’, and ‘gold’.

The whole point is that you as an advisor can be as creative as you possibly can be to achieve all this - what fun for me!

We had an excellent tutor who not only works as a freelancer but is also an actress, and so she made the whole course highly entertaining with her hot pink nails!

Having attended the course today, I would definitely recommend creative people to become involved in this inspiring award for young people.

If you’d like more information, then I would suggest going to www.artsaward.org.uk. Good luck - get creative!


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Hobbledown's Rumpletump


Hobbledown's 'Rumpletump' is a character from the book 'Hobbledown' that I illustrated last year for Kids Space Adventures Ltd.


Hobbledown's Rumpletump is one of many wonderful characters in this novel. The book was created to not only work as a novel in it's own right, but also as a promotional device for the newly opened adventure park also called 'Hobbledown'. 'Rumpletump' is a monster that everyone is fearful of for many reasons. However he comes in very handy when the 'Hobblers' need to rid their world of the ghastly 'skibblers' that have invaded and kidnapped Fern the fairy. They lure the monster with his favourite food, custard pie right into the path of the 'skibblers'.

All the book illustrations were created using graphite pencil. I have been meaning to turn some into full colour for a while. At the moment I have a little time to do that and so recreated the illustration of 'Rumpletump' in his lair, scaring all the birds and everyone else!

For this artwork I didn't use any ink at all but chose to do the line work using a sepia colouring pencil. I then used the same watercolour technique I used for my recent dragon illustration.  I am quite pleased with the subtle colouring and the overall effect...


Monday, 23 September 2013

Movie mania strikes...

Movie Mania is the title of a play for children I recently illustrated for an Australian publisher. The play is based around an African American family. A series of funny events unfold, involving a camera, a crazy cat and a boy. Movie mania strikes!



Movie Mania strikes: For this book I decided to experiment with my watercolour technique a bit. I used a similar way of painting that I had used for my boy riding a dragon. So I worked quite a lot in wet-in-wet using a smooth watercolour paper, so I could use a nib pen and ink. This avoids the nib catching on the texture of the watercolour paper and splatting the ink where you don’t want it.

This technique uses a lot of water and so I find it easier to stretch the paper first, so that I can control what I am doing far easier and have a flat and manageable piece of artwork to scan at the end. Everyone works differently, Quentin Blake and my friend Peter Kavanagh both work on un-stretched paper, which is great for them, but that just doesn’t suit me.


Today I thought I’d share a visual and finished artwork with you…


This visual is the revised drawing. The original didn't have a foot appearing in it at the bottom, which I am still unhappy about. The publishers wanted me to add a foot, but at the angle the camera this would be physically impossible. You would not see the holder of the camera’s foot, unless they were goose-stepping or performing some sort of weird gymnastics. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and just do something even when you know it’s wrong!


Movie mania strikes again

29 Movie Mania Movie Mania strikes
© Lyn Stone

Friday, 20 September 2013

Pencil illustrations

Pencil illustrations just using graphite pencil is something I enjoy doing immensely. Today I thought I would share some illustrations that I haven’t posted about before from the book 'Hobbledown' that I illustrated for Kidspace Adventures Ltd.



Pencil illustrations: They plan to publish more and so hopefully I will get to illustrate those too!

The book itself has been published in hardback and paperback, and is available on amazon! The book was designed to promote the new 'Hobbledown' adventure park, but like many things it has become very much an entity on it’s own. In many ways it has inspired and fed back into the 'Hobbledown' site. Many of the characters in the book have their homes built within the park, and my artwork featuring the characters can be found all over the adventure park.


For the book I had to create a whole world of fantasy creatures from 'Hobblers' and 'Skibbler's, through to 'Rumpletump' – a particularly sinister monster. 'Rumpletump' actually ends up being rather useful to the Hobblers in getting rid of the nasty, smelly Skibblers who invade Hobbledown.


Anyway here is one you haven’t seen before. I would have posted more but the upload software on my website has just gone kaput! Maybe in my next post...



© Lyn Stone


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Hand tinting pencil drawings

Hand tinting pencil drawings is something I have experimented with this week. Rather than risk experimenting with one of my pencil drawings that may have taken hours to do I printed one instead.


Hand tinting pencil drawings: It worked surprisingly well. I printed the illustration straight onto a sheet of A3 watercolour paper. I then stretched it by soaking it in water and then placing it on a board. I then tapped it down with gum tape and waited for it to dry. The ink didn’t bleed at all. So at least that part of the experiment worked!

I then applied watercolour paint in washes. Not sure that the end result really works but it’s interesting to compare the original grey pencil drawing and the colour version. I feel though that it doesn’t look fresh and the colours look a little muddy. This is caused by the grey of the pencil influencing and changing the colour on top. I think a better option would be to do the pencil work using coloured pencils with less line work and ‘shading’ and then use watercolour paint.

Anyway I thought I would share the results with you and so below are the before and after results, just like the makeovers they used to do in women’s magazines!



By the way please do follow me on twitter if you can, cheers!


Before



After

Colour tinting Hand tinting pencil drawings

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Editing illustrations

Editing illustrations once they are completed is a rare occurrence, but I have just finished working on a brief where the client then wanted to edit all the colours in the finished artwork, which is thankfully rare and a little odd too.


Editing illustrations: As you can imagine this can involve a great deal of extra work, which you are not being paid for really. This is especially true if you work conventionally. However this is where Photoshop can come to the rescue to all conventional artists. This of course is based in the assumption that you supply a client with digital versions of your work.

In Photoshop with a bit of effort there are several different ways you can isolate an area of artwork and then alter the colours completely. This can be done by either using the magic wand on a low percentage setting or using the lasso. You can then use colour balance options, photo filter, hue, etc to then alter the colour completely. Thus saving you from having to redraw the illustration from scratch. This is also useful when they want the changes within 24 hours or less, which happens.

Anyway to show you what I mean, here is a piece of artwork that has not only had it's colour range changed, but the size of the bed the child is sleeping on. All achieved digitally, using Photoshop.

Before


After




Monday, 9 September 2013

Illustrations of horses and ponies

Illustrations of horses and ponies seemed to be popular with publishers and earlier this year I worked on four nonfiction lift-the-flap books. Horses and ponies was one those four books.


Illustrations of horses and ponies: I'm afraid I cannot mention the publisher just yet, because the book is one of a series of twenty-four that I am going to be working on. Once the first four are published I can reveal a little more, but only a little!

The work is all rendered in nib pen and coloured inks, used in soft washes that I build up gradually. I work this way so that I can judge better the build up of colour and have greater control over the end result. The deadline for this book I would classify as 'Mission Impossible', even the client was apologetic. It all boiled down to the fact that the buyer of the series, wanted the first four books yesterday! So I had quite a challenge on my hands, as a book on horses and ponies requires quite a bit of research, before you can even start sketching out ideas.

All the artwork had to be cut to white, as the book is lift the flap and the layouts just work better with artwork cut to white. The age range for the series is five to seven years, which is why I think I was chosen to work on them. I am not strictly speaking a reference illustrator, but my style does work with this age range.

I hope to share with you artwork from the first four books over the next few posts, and so here today are two pieces of artwork from this book...




Monday, 2 September 2013

Dinosaur illustrations in colour

Dinosaur illustrations in colour is something I would like to share with you today. Last week I showed everyone some visuals from a book on dinosaurs I illustrated earlier this year. Here are some of the finished pieces artwork!


Dinosaur illustrations in colour: Appropriately this post coincides with BBC 2's Horizon, which broadcasted a show entitled 'Dinosaurs - the hunt for life' very recently. Watch it on bbc iplayer if it is still on the site. It was very good.

It discussed new biological discoveries found within the fossils of one of the most infamous dinosaurs, the T-Rex. Namely blood cells and they even managed to extract soft tissue from the fossil too. They did this by leaving a fossilised bone in hydrochloric acid over night, and what was left in the morning was a very bendy fossil of soft tissue. Apparently there is substantial evidence to suggest it was a very mean big bird with teeth! So here are some mean big bird dinosaurs for you today, which will all be appearing in the forthcoming lift-the-flap book for five to seven year olds. I'm afraid I don't know the publishing date for this book - sorry! As soon as I do, I will post about it for everyone.

If you want to see more of my work then please visit my website www.lynstone.com.


Oviraptor


Epidexiptery







Friday, 30 August 2013

Illustrations of human body

Human body illustrations can be tricky, as they require good references to start with, as it is very important that the illustrations are accurate. The illustrations I completed for a new non-fiction, lift the flap book certainly required that.


Human body: Today’s illustrations are from one of twenty-four books I have been commissioned to illustrate. It is a great project to work on for me, because the age range for the books is five to seven year olds, and so it has lift the flaps and fun layouts.
There are many illustrators in each book, but I’m lucky enough to be the main illustrator featured in all twenty-four! So, lots of work to do.
These illustrations have been created using a nib pen and coloured inks, used in light washes to build up the colours. I also use a completely smooth watercolour paper, which works well with the nib pen.
My brief for this book ranged from the skeleton of a six year old boy to an illustration of the digestive system. I have to say not my usual area of expertise, but a fun challenge.
I had to do a whole series of artwork based on a boy standing forward. The idea being you lift many flaps to strip the body back to the skeleton. On each layer you see something different, like the nervous system, the heart and lungs, etc.
I hope it’s pirates next…see my other blog for more posts on pirates: here





Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Dinosaur illustrations


I’ve been doing dinosaur illustrations for a book recently for a publisher. Never really illustrated dinosaurs in a big way before and so thoroughly enjoyed working on this project.


Dinosaur illustrations: The book is aimed at five to seven year olds, and is a lift-the-flap book. It features more than one illustrator, but I am the illustrator that will be featuring in all twenty-four books! So four down, twenty to go! So far I have illustrated the Human Body, Horses and Ponies, Knights and Castles, and of course Dinosaurs.
Inspired by Régis Loisel’s Facebook page, who I think is an extremely good draftsmen. This site shows lots of his wonderful sketches and roughs, I thought I would show a combination of sketches for this project and the finished artwork too!
One thing I did enjoy doing was a series of heads. Yes, heads of dinosaurs! Sort of  dinosaur portraits and so this meant I was able to add a little personality too, within reason! Here are some of the sketches for my dinosaur heads and dinosaur birds! 
Stygimoloch Dinosaur bonkers

Edmontosaurus Dinosaur bonkers

Dinosaur bonkers




Monday, 26 August 2013

Knights and squires


Knights and squires are today's subject!

Knights and squires: In my last blog I posted artwork from a recent project I completed on a book about knights and castles, a lift-the-flap book for five to seven year olds. It is one book in a series of twenty four I am working on, which is why I cannot share too much information, including the publisher commissioning me.

Today I thought i would share some more illustrations with you. The artwork is all rendered in nib pen and coloured inks, used in washes, and the paper I like to use is a hand made Italian paper, which is beautiful to work on and allows for a great deal of detail and accuracy as it is completely smooth and pure white.

The following illustrations shows a baggage train, consisting of a squire, a knight, archers, soldiers, and oxen pulling a cart carrying a cannon. These are all going to be reproduced in the book really quite small, which I why they are quite simple illustrations.

The last illustration represents Richard Lionheart and Saladin fighting on horseback. Great composition to work on. I had quite restricted dimensions to work with on this one, and so it had to fit a particular space and still have lots of drama!

Thanks to the Royal Armouries for all their help!
knights and squires
Squire on horseback

knights and squires
Knight on horseback

knights and squires
Archers

knights and squires
Oxon pulling cart with cannon

knights and squires

Friday, 23 August 2013

Castles and knights


Castles and knights is an ever popular subject with publishers and a project I have just completed for a client I have worked with before...


Castles and knights: I'm afraid I cannot mention the publisher just yet, because the book is one of a series of twenty-four that I am going to be working on. Once the first four are published I can reveal a little more, but only a little!

The work is all rendered in nib pen and coloured inks, used in soft washes that I build up gradually. I work this way so that I can judge better the build up of colour and have greater control over the end result. The deadline for this book I would classify as 'Mission Impossible', even the client was apologetic. It all boiled down to the fact that the buyer of the series, wanted the first four books yesterday! So I had quite a challenge on my hands, as a book on castles and knights requires quite a bit of research, before you can even start sketching out ideas. I have to say the Royal Armouries were very helpful indeed.

All the artwork had to be cut to white, as the book is lift the flap and the layouts just work better with artwork cut to white. The age range for the series is five to seven years, which is why I think I was chosen to work on them. I am not strictly speaking a reference illustrator, but my style does work with this age range.

I hope to share with you artwork from the first four books over the next few posts, and so here today are two pieces of artwork from this book...

knight practising jousting, Castles and knights
knight practising jousting, Castles and knights














































A medieval fletcher, Castles and knights

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Régis Loisel, Peter Pan


Régis Loisel, Peter Pan has just been published in English from the original French. Written and illustrated by French artist Régis Loisel.


Régis Loisel, Peter Pan: Today I went to the Institut Français in South Kensington to hear him speak about one of his adult comic books, which has just been publised in English. I actually got to chat to the artist, who speaks very little English and so I had to use my French, which is still quite basic at present. He is a multi-award winning artist, who happens to write and illustrate beautiful comic books.

The book took Loisel fourteen years to create, which is why it is so important to him. His take on Peter Pan is as far removed from the sugar-coated Disney version that it could possibly be. The first book in the series is set in the seedy, dark and grimy world of Victorian London. Peter's mother is an alcoholic prostitute, who hates Peter and shows him no love at all. So he is really nothing more than a street urchin, an orphan. An orphan with, to use Régis Loisel's description, a psychological crack. Jack the Ripper also features in this book, along with his infamous murders. Throughout it is implied that Peter could be Jack the Ripper. Is he? Or isn't he? Loisel says it is up to the reader to decide for themselves, but only he knows the real answer. The story in this first book leads up to the point where Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie starts his tale. So a very dark Peter Pan indeed.

The book has been published by Soaring Penguin Press, and is available now, at www.soaringpenguinpress.com. You must buy a copy!

The book like so many French comic books is aimed at adults and not children, and it is a respected and thriving industry in France. So much so that when the Institut held a comic strip competition for a local French-speaking school, it was the French ambassador that got involved! It was once thriving here, but alas died many years ago. However there are publishers around trying to revive the industry, and one in particular that is publishing volumes of French comic books, painstakingly translated beautifully into English. They are called Cinebook and talking to a Aldous, a representative of the publisher today, I found out that it takes around two years to produce a new bande dessinée album, the original work to write and draw it in French. Wow - how about that for perfection? The Managing Director, Olivier is French, and was at todays event, but was busily deep in conversation, so the last thing I wanted to do was to butt in! If you would like to find out more about Cinebook, then check them out by clicking Cinebook right here.

Rather than my work today here are two covers taken from Cinebook's latest catalogues! Worth taking a look at them. There are some truly spectacular French comic artists out there!
Watch out for my next post all about my upcoming lecture at Sidcup Library. Quentin Blake is lecturing too - can't believe I have been billed alongside the great man - humbled I am!
Regis Loisel - My Peter Pan
© Cinebook

Regis Loisel - My Peter Pan

Monday, 19 August 2013

Quentin Blake


I had five minutes today to have a quick look at any lecture publicity on the Internet for Quentin Blake’s lecture that might also mention and have advertised mine. Most include me in their publicity and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised and delighted!


Lecture publicity: My lecture has now happened and I shared blogs about on my Facebook page and website. I was advertised as speaking for two hours and so created varied and animated presentation, but intended to break it up a bit. I showed original pieces of artwork too, some of my published books and some paper maquettes. These are created by paper engineers specifically for pop-up books and gift books.
I divided up my lecture into three areas:
  1. From concept to book
  2. Other illustration projects I have worked on, which includes an adventure park, editorial and a pub sign
  3. My process of working.
I thought I’d share some of the links with you of places Quentin and my lecture are being advertised:
Here's an illustration that featured in my talk:

All illustrations are owned by Lyn Stone ©