Thursday, October 20, 2011

How did I not know about this?

This just shows me how little time I have had to explore my usual blog reads and magazines because somewhere along the lines I have missed this beautiful magazine.

Anyone who is a bit crafty would love this magazine. Not only is it full of great things to do, but it's actually an interesting read and hooks you up with some great new blogs that I was not aware of....and probably wont have time to read!!

Anyway, it appears that most of the back copies have sold out, but I have to get my hands on the latest copy soon! Check out the website if you have some time!
(Thanks Jo for putting me onto this!)

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Rough Secrets

Another busy weekend has passed where I managed to get stuck into the roughs for my latest book. Of course I can't show you anything here, but I did want to share a little more about my processes.
When it comes to roughs I don't use traditional sketch paper (cartridge paper). I prefer to use Bank Paper.

It's a light 45gsm weight which means that I can trace with it really well. This is important to me because I very rarely use an eraser! Instead I usually do a series of really rough loose sketches to get a feel for a pose or a character. Then I pick one that's getting close and I trace it off with a bit more detail. If somethings not right about it, then I trace it off again making any required alterations. This process continues over and over until I get the final look I am after.

Unfortunately this often results in the use of HEAPS of paper. These are all the roughs for just for one book!

If the character is used throughout the book then I need to draw it in various poses to get a feel for how it will look and to make sure that I can comfortably redraw it to maintain consistency in the book. I really enjoy this part. Here's how I tackled a project from last year. Of course I don't always get it right first time. Sometimes there's a bit of back and forth to create something that suits every one's vision for the book.

So this is the process I am enjoying at the moment. This current book is based on one central character so I have sent off a page of various poses to the publisher illustrating the look and feel I am going for, and I will await some feedback before getting to much further down the track. Such fun!
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Monday, October 10, 2011


Today I finally had a chance to check over the new book project.

For me the worst part about the process is the legal stuff - the contracts. This one is a 15 pager full of all the legal guff that requires me to send them off to an assessment service for interpretation before I sign them! I use the ASA Contract Assessment Service for all my contracts. You need to be a member to use it, but it's been well worth it for me. Anyway, this one's all sorted and I just need them to send me a couple of hard copies for the final signatures.

Before I start sketching I usually spend some time researching the main topic and theme of the book, along with gathering ideas for how I would like the characters to look. I really enjoy this stage as I love seeing how other artists and illustrators may have tackled similar themes or characters.

Another great bonus is that this research phase usually results in the discovery of a new illustrator or artist that really inspires me. I thought I'd share the latest one with you today.

I obviously don't know much about her, but her name is Coralie Saudo and she has a beautifully designed blog here.

I just love her use of colour. I'd love to pick up some copies of her books - especially as they are in french!! Too cute! Check out her blog if you get the time.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Creative Space Today

I am working on a non-book project at the moment, with what is either the best OR worst brief you can get! It's one of those "do whatever you like" briefs. Initially these are exciting but when you actually sit down to start it's almost overwhelming.

Where DO you start when you can do absolutely anything?! Oh, and the footnote is that it has to be really unique - unlike anything seen out there...including my own usual style of working! Yep - overwhelming!

I find the best thing to do in these situations is to just make a start. I usually get out my favourite books and start to gather a collection of things that inspire me and make me want to pick up a pencil and draw.

A few years ago a developed a bit of cheats technique to create the hand painted look without learning Photoshop. Even though I am more comfortable with Photoshop now, I quite like the final look that this technique results in and it remains vector artwork too.

Basically I break down all the parts of the image into movable pieces and what I think will become individual colours. I then hand paint them in a dark colour. The focus is on creating the feel of brush strokes.

Then I streamline the shapes (live trace) them in Illustrator, so that they become a series of textured shapes - a bit like this.

Then I colour and layer them up into one final image that looks hand painted.

Yeah, I know it's not exactly a totally new and "never been done before", AND I could just hand paint the whole image and scan it, but I enjoy the final result I get from working this way.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Melbourne town

Another week away! This time we were in Melbourne. Raymond J had a business trip to Melbourne so it was a great chance for us to tag along.
Most of the week was spent catching up with friends and relies, but we made time to explore the lane ways and shops that Melbourne is so famous for.

We were lucky enough to stay right in the heart of town. Check out this view from our apartment window!

It was lovely to get a big city fix again, but it so good to be home.

I also managed to squeeze in another meeting with a potential new publisher which is always exciting. I have so much work on at the moment that it's time to get stuck into things again.

I caught up with another friend who challenged me about not blogging enough of late and I mentioned that I was not sure that I had much to share. It's always tough being busy with projects that I can't share with you until production is complete, but then she reminded me that sometimes it's the processes and inspiration behind creativity that can be so interesting. I'd have to agree with this so I hope to share as much as I can with you over the coming weeks.

But today is a bit of a boring a domestic day to get ready for a productive work week. This house just feels so cluttered. I'm a bit of a messy person, but when it comes to my work environment, I need organisation. Is anyone else like this? It's one of the challenges of working at home. We all dream of our own studio spaces, but for now it's the kitchen table! Anyway, i am procrastinating now..... there's work to be done!
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