#illo52weeks – Week 39: Words

I am packing up house and this has forced me to go back to basics and develop  my hand drawing skills. The main area that I am keen to progress in is children’s illustration for picture books/ chapter books. I had this in mind when I completed this weeks theme for the 52 Weeks Illustration Challenge.

Week 39: Words

Pencil, coloured pencils, artline pen

Week 39: Words - Penguin Costune Parade

A picture book is created through a strong relationship between the words and the pictures. The word count in picture book manuscripts is dropping and currently the preferred number to aim for is the 500 mark.

So you have to choose your words carefully.  Here are some tips:

  • don’t write the obvious – the illustrator will portray that for you
  • avoid adjectives (ly words)
  • use fresh language
  • avoid dialogue tags, ‘said’ is sufficient – the words you have chosen should imply how the character is feeling

Here is a great post about editing your text by Juliet Clare Bell over at Picture Book Den.

#illo52weeks – Week 37: Balloons

I have decided to develop and improve my hand drawing skills hence another sketched illustration which nicely enough received quite a few likes on the 52 Illustration Week Facebook page here.

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© Ramona Davey 2014

Pencil & pencil crayons

Echidna loved his new best friend balloon and was going to enjoy every minute while it lasted!

I really want to develop the kind of drawings I’d expect to see in a children’s picture book – I feel I may be getting closer!

A little more shadow under echidna’s feet would have improved the illustration and would have stopped the echidna looking like he is about to float off with the balloon.

I am looking forward to next weeks theme: giraffe :-)

#illo52weeks – Weeks 33: Toy

Week 33: Toy

I haven’t got access to my digital art software at the moment which is a good thing as it it making me go back tot he basics of sketching and painting. For Week 33′s theme of toy I had an image lingering around in my head. I sketched it out so I wouldn’t forget:

Toy sketch

Then I pondered for the week about how I wanted to colour it in. I loved the sketch and was nervous about ruining it when I added colour. Sketches have a vibrancy and softness about them that can be hard to maintain when you decide to colour it in. It took me a while to decide that I would use Acrylic for this image. I wanted to keep it simple in style and colour. Here it is:

Toy - colour

The image reminded me of characters from my childhood and eventually I figured out who they were. It was Topsy & Tim. If you don’t know who they are check out this link: Topsy & Tim

 

 

 

 

#illo52weeks – Week 32: Psychedelic

Here is this weeks illustration for the theme ‘Psychedelic‘ for Tania McCartney’s 52 week illustration challenge:

© Ramona Davey 2014

© Ramona Davey 2014

Pencil sketch, wax crayons and masking fluid painted over with watercolour and outlined in food colouring as I didn’t have any indian inks.

I need to do a little more practice with the masking fluid as this was my firts time using this material. I couldn’t get it off and when I did manage to peel some of it back off it tore the paper.

Each week I have no idea what I will illustrate for the weeks theme. I mull it over in my  head and wait for my brain to decide which medium it fancies experimenting with or developing. As usual the image in my head is nothing like the image that eventually comes out in paper this can be a pleasant surprise a s much as it can be a pain in the bum.

Here is my workspace for the day - the dinner table was taken over! :-)

I used a photo as a reference of magic mushrooms from Back To (Urban) Nature blog.

The next theme is TOYS!

 

#illo52 weeks – Weeks 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31

Where has five weeks gone? This week I am posting the past five weeks of illustrations that I have created for Tania McCartney’s 52 week Illustration Challenge.

Week 27 – Snow

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© Ramona Davey 2014

 

This is one of my illustrations that has received the most popular feedback and amount of comments so far. Created using a Gelli art plate, acrylic paint and a black fine liner. I like it’s simplicity.

Week 28 – Feather

feather girl

 

I had been printing some feathers using my gelli art plate. Brushing over the feathers to create templates. The feathers left marks on the plastic table cloth and I suddenly saw an image in my mind. So I drew straight onto the table cloth this little girl.

Week 29 – Plane

Week 29- plane

 

Gelli art again. I love the multi-coloured layers that can be created using this technique. I really want to get so much better at it.

Week 30 – Sydney

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© Ramona Davey 2014

Adobe Illustrator

My trial using Adobe Illustrator ran out on at the end of this image. I had just finished when I realised a mistake on the stamp edging to the right, but I couldn’t open up the software again to fix it.

Week 31 – Lines

Week 31 - Line

© Ramona Davey 2014

Artliner 0.4/ Watercolour paint

Just a quick fun one. I have no idea why I felt the need to draw long elongated figures. It’s just what my hand felt like doing. It took me a few days to figure out what I was going to do with the sketch. The characters started off as aliens, then birds and then humans. :-D

The next theme starts on Wednesday: Psychedelic!

Writers festivals and Conferences 2014

The last few weekends have been extraordinarily busy for writers. They have consisted of the following events:

Children’s and Young Adults Writers Festival hosted by Aleesah Darlinson

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Hachette editor Suzanne O’Sullivan talking to illustrator Sarah Davis

CYA Conference 2014 which I have written about here: CYA Conference 2014

Me

Me very proudly collecting my First place certificate for a rhyming preschool picture book manuscript

SCBWIAus/NZ 2014 of which I was lucky enough to be a Roving Reporter. You can read my report on Pitching to Publishers here: The Art Of Pitching To Publishers

The publishers

The publishers

It has been a jam packed couple of weeks, filled with useful tips and advice for published and aspring writiers. It’s a great time to network, to catch up with old friends and meet lots of new ones. Now it is time to buckle down, read the feedback from the the manuscripts assessments I have had recently and polish my work to my best ability!

CYA Conference 2014


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All through last week my fingers were tightly crossed. I had received an e-mail to say I had been shortlisted for the CYA CONFERENCE  Aspiring (Unpublished) Competition ~ 2014.

This was exciting news and with support and encouragement from my other half I decided to fly up to Brisbane where the Conference is held. The winners were announced very early in the morning. The winner of third place was announced. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I must be second!’ The winner of second place was announced. I panicked and thought, ‘Oh my god, how embarrasing, I hadn’t been shortlisted at all, it was a mistake!’

Winning had not occured to me at all, but I did, much to my surprise!

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Goodnight Gorgeousaurus is a rhyming manuscript that takes you through the busy, adventurous and hungry day of a young dinosaur (or a child dressed up as a dinosaur. I have left it  up to the illustrator to decide how the text can be interpreted.)

This was a great start to the day that was jam-packed with workshops. Here are just a few:

Slashings Of Editors

This was a great insight into what a selection of editors would like to see, including: professionalism, a great hook and stories with heart. They also mentioned how they often read manuscripts in their own time, after a busy day and therefore your work must stand out and make them want to read on.

Structuring a story with Pamela Rushby

Pamela highlighted 9 questions you should ask about your story, as well as asking us ‘were we a plotter or panster?’ I decided I was a bit of both.

Pamela Rushby CYA 2014

Let Your Pictures Do The Talking By Peter Carnavas 

Peter’s workshop was interactive which was great. I am always happy to be taught a few tips and tricks to help me develop my illustration skills. He also discussed storyboards and how they work:

Peter carnavas CYA 2014

The whole day was great and the cherry on the top was meeting fellow aspiring writers, current winners, like Elizabeth Kasmer and Catherine from Squiggglemum:

me and catherine CYA 2014

and previous winners like the lovely Kat Apel:

Kat Apel CYA 2014

 

Editor meetings were available and these are extra helpful in getting feedback on your work. I came away with a head full of useful information and heartful of new friends.

Well done to all the team at CYA!