Number four of my character studies for published books. Today I've plumped for the crazy duo- Big Brown Bear and Little Koala Bear from 'If Big Can... I can' written by Beth Shoshan. It was published way back in 2006 by Meadowside Children's Books. My first picture book gig! I can remember how anxious and excited I was at that time. I'd never even attempted to illustrate a full picture book before, but I struggled through with the help of the hugely talented Mark Mills. Mark was art director at Meadowside at that time, just before he left and set up Plum Pudding Illustration... my agents.
The sketch above... just for laughs, obviously my characters don't visit pubs :oD "I'll have a pint, and short for my little friend here."
And below from the finished art...
Number three of my character design series of posts, today it's squirrels for the title: 'Welcome to the World!' written by Helen Foster James and published by Sleeping Bear Press.
Although this is an American book, I’ve based all of the characters on European wild animals, because I really wanted to do red squirrels. They are such lovely colourful little creatures with tufty ears... great fun to draw and paint.
As well as character designs, I sometimes have to show the publisher how I imagine the surroundings will look. Some things were changed in the final art, but the basic ideas remained.
If you'd like to purchase a copy of the book you can find links here...
I'll be selling off some of the book's pencil drawings plus these pencil sketches in the new year. If you subscribe to my newsletter email (you'll find the form on this page) I'll let you know as soon as they are available to buy from my online store.
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Here's the second in my 'Character Studies' posts. Today: the bear family from 'Hush Little Baby' published by Tiger Tales way back in 2007.
At the start of most projects I have to show the publisher (and myself) how I'm going to portray the main characters in the book.
I seem to remember, when I attempted these sketches, I limited the time I could spend over each page... timed myself against the clock, because I didn't want to obsess over them too much. I have a really bad habit of spending hours trying to perfect characters and end up with them looking stiff and lacking any life. So, I half closed my eyes, concentrated hard and went for it! They are extremely rough, but I managed to create a cute ursine family that I could work with.
Here are a couple of the finished illustrations. You can see I stuck pretty much to those first rushed sketches. Back then I was working in watercolour and colour pencils on rough watercolour paper.
I’ve just discovered Redbubble have started doing aprons... they look great quality!
I’ve quickly added my existing designs as I think they’d make fabulous Christmas pressies. It seems like they’d deliver in time too.
I think the pig apron would suit me best. I need it for eating as well as cooking 😋
If you’re interested in snapping one up for a Christmas present click the images to take you to the relevant store page on Redbubble.
When I start a project for a publisher I first have to come up with a few character designs. Over the next few weeks I thought I'd post some of my favourites. Today it's dragons!
The book: 'Deri Dan Y Daliwr Dreigiau' by Haf Llewelyn, a welsh language book. You can find out more here>
A warm hello to whoever is reading this. Welcome to Petra's blog. I'm an illustrator and writer of children's books and keen amateur photographer. I enjoy living in North Wales with my wonderful partner and fellow adventurer, Iain.
Working as an artist and writer can be extremely challenging financially. If you like my work you can show support and help me to keep on creating children's books by buying my art. For signed originals or prints, cards... all kinds of merchandise. Check out my shop :o)