Work in progress – Child writing #1

Today I have been trying to illustrate and create a character that I am currently writing about for a children’s picture book. The theme of the story  is set in the 1920’s and a young girl is writing letters to her father who is sailing to Australia from Jersey, Channel Islands for work.

First quick sketch in pencil


I actually need to get my daughter to pose for me in this position so I can sketch the body posture more accurately.

Adding the first colours in watercolour

Painting digitally is a strange experience. But I do like the control over any mistakes made. They can just be ‘undone’ at the click of a button.

More colour and detail.


As I only have black and white photos of my ancestors, I had to do a quick Google search to check what colours clothing fabric would have been in the 1920’s.

Adding more detail


To be continued…

Quick sketch – in the rain

We’ve had a lot of rain in Sydney lately!

In order to become an illustrator for children’s picture book you must practice the skill of drawing as much as you can. This is the only way you can become better at the skill. I’m a mood sketcher, painter, drawer. I do it whenever the mood grabs me. This can be often or seldom at all. In between those times I practise my writing. This system works for me.

The sketch above is my attempt to try and develop my skill at drawing characters. Although the girl is a little elongated in places there are parts of it I like (the jacket with buttons) and parts I can see are terribly wrong (her neck length, etc).

At college I drew from life. Life drawings, portraits and sculptures of the body. Drawing from imagination is incredibly difficult for me.

I get a lot of my inspiration from watching other artists illustrating and reading their blogs. Here are a few that you might find useful:

Helen Craig – Book Illustrator

Pixel Shavings


Eric Carle at work

Guest post on Alison K Hertz’ blog

One of my rough sketches – inspired by a character I am writing about.

This week I appear as a guest on the blog of Alison K Hertz. A fellow writer and illustrator.  I met Alison virtually on the 12 x 12 in 2012 Picture Book Writing Challenge organised by Julie Foster Hedlund. This challenge has become a huge community of aspiring and successful children’s writers/authors who are all giving each other support and great tips along the way.

On Alison’s blog I talk about my journey as a writer and my hopes and dreams of one day being published. The post also focuses on my artwork and the processes I go through to achieve my images. I felt quite privileged to be a guest as this is not something I have done before.

I also talk about the things I have done to proactively get my work out there, like entering competitions. Which reminds me to remind you that the closing date for  CBCA Frustrated Writers Mentorship Program is on Friday 1st June 2012.

I thoroughly believe that:

“You’ve got to be in it to win it!” 

I also feel that:

“This writing business is not a straight and easy Roman road, it’s more of a bumpy country lane!”

One Word Day: ‘Fly’

Today on Facebook a post has appeared highlighting One Word Day in Melbourne. This is a special event organised to raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. It is supported by local illustrators of Australian Society of Authors who were given their choice of art supplies to create one or more pictures interpreting the word ‘fly’.

I decided to do my own illustration. I was thinking of a character I am currently writing about in one of my picture book manuscripts. It highlights his dilemna! I’ll say no more for now…

initial sketch
The beginning stages of my penguin in the arctic.


The finished piece.

Quick sketch – Seagull hovering

Here is just a quick sketch of a seagull. This is not a subject I have much practise drawing and getting a sense of movement is quite difficult. This is in preparation for one of my books I am getting ready for the Christmas Season. I have used the airbrush for the colour of the bird, inkpen for the outline and paint pot to fill in the background on my Bamboo pad using Art Rage Studio Pro


by Ramona Davey

I felt inspired to create my own Valentines image. The inspiration came from the book: Me Want Pet which sounds great from the review. Simple language is used very effectively, alongside the simple images. I am still a novice at digital art and have a lot to learn still. But it is enjoyable never-the-less!

Written by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Bob Shea

Getting the hang of Art Rage

I have been playing around with the art package Art Rage on my Bamboo tablet for a little while and am slowly getting the hang of it. In the images below I have shown 2 different stages for a character I have been starting to explore.

The Little Limpet - stage 1

This is the half way through stage. I used airbrush for the coloured areas and chalk for the outline. I have not used these 2 mediums before (not digitally anyway).

The Little Limpet - stage 2

I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to make the subject not too life like which is generally the style of my artwork. For the first go I am pretty pleased with it, of course there is always room for improvement. My next challenge is backgrounds!

To see other illustrators work in progress check out Debbie Ohi: ‘I’m Bored’ – illustrations in progress