#illo52weeks – Weeks 45 & 46

Week 45: Leaves

My daughter was playing around on ‘Sketchpad.io,’ so I thought I would have a go as I am always happy to try out new mediums.

Here is my attempt at ‘Leaves.’ I had the story Jack And The Beanstalk in mind when I created this image:

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 2.21.03 pmThere has been a great trend for digital collage style illustrations in picture books in the past ten years. I am a fan of that style and love playing with patterned backgrounds. For example the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child, by David Mackintosh’s books, eg: Marshall Armstrong Is New To Our School and the wonderful illustrations by Liz Anelli.

Week 46: Circus

This is a great them and so many ideas could have been created. Sometimes just choosing the one idea can be a challenge in itself. I recalled that the collective noun for puffins was circus, so that was the basis of the idea for this weeks them, A Circus Of Puffins.

Here is the initial sketch which part of me prefers as I am always hesitant to add colour incase I ruin the image:

Week 46- sketch for Circus


And here is the coloured version in pencil crayon which is not 100% satisfactory but that’s because I ran out of time and am trying not to be too precious with my illustrations during this challenge. My focus is provide an illustration within the deadline rather than finish a polished artwork each week. Week 46- Circus

Now to the next theme: New York!


#illo52weeks – Week 44: Yarn

Each week I have no idea what kind of illustration I am going to do – each result is a total surprise to me. I thought yarn was going to be impossible and then an idea came from out of nowhere, like they do with my writing.

Here is this weeks theme:

Week: 44 Yarn

Week 44: Yarn

My house moving is complete and I am slowly finding all my art resources again. With this illustration I started off with a quick pencil sketch. I turned it around and looked at its reflection in the mirror (to check it wasn’t a wonky tree). Then I painted the illustration using watercolours and outlined it in Artline fine liner pen.

It’s November and signs of Christmas are springing up in the music being played in shops (already) and I attended my first Christmas function of the year. See photo below:

CBCA Christmas Dinner

I’m in the stripy dress with my fabulous friends from the writers group I belong to. Being a homemum means I have no staff doo to go to for Christmas, so I love writerly functions as a time for me to be able to socialise and get away from writing and drawing which can be a very solitary occupation. We are at this years Northern Sydney’s CBCA Xmas Dinner, where inspiring authors and illustrators like Peter Carnavas sang to us on his ukelele and Wendy Blaxland shared with us her journey for her newly launched picture book, The Christmas Rose.


And if I’m mentioning Christmas that means we are near the end of the year and near the end of the brilliant 52 Week Illustration Challenge that Tania McCartney founded  and that without it I wouldn’t have created half the amount of illustrations that I have achieved.

This weeks theme is: Leaves 🙂


PS: If you are thinking of Christmas present, than maybe my little Christmas themed picture book is the perfect gift for someone you know. The Jersey 12 Days Of Christmas

#illo52weeks – Weeks 40, 41, 42 & 43

Week 40: Abstract

My aunty told me about how my father had illustrated his family using abstract block shapes. The illustration used to sit on the mantel place. She doesn’t know what happened to it and I never found it amongst his things when he passed this year. So I thought I would like to try and recreate something similar and here it is;

Week 40: Abstract


Coloured pastels on a piece of cardboard.


Week 41: Black & White

I couldn’t decide between a zebra or a panda, then I copped out and thought a panda would be easier!

Week 41

Pastels and charcoal on black card.

Week 42: Under the sea

What you see above the water may not be what’s ‘under the sea!’

Week 42- Under The Sea


Copic sketch markers with paintbrush nib

Week 43: Bird

One of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs came to mind with this theme, Bird On A Wire.

Birds On A Wire

Copic markers with paintbrush nib and Artline pens.

How fast has the time gone! We are already into October and nearing the end of this fabulous challenge. My aim by the end of this year was to try and establish an obvious style, but as you can see by this  post  I have used a different style for each theme and do not look like I am getting any closer to my objective. Never mind, illustrating something is better than illustrating nothing. 🙂

#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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 12.36.26 pm
© 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!