Thursday, 24 July 2014

I am a Witch's Cat cover

I thought I would show you the process behind creating the cover for 'I am a Witch's Cat.'

It was a long process. From my short time working as an illustrator I have learned that covers always take the longest. I think I have done a total of six covers so far and they always seem to be the most tricky to get right.

So the idea behind this cover was to have some sort of pumpkin field with little Witch's Cat frolicking around in it. Initially the idea was to have it as a daytime scene but you will see that changes through out the process. 

It started out with a sketch...

...and the sketch was tweaked until it was right. The line of washing was removed and so was the tree and green house.

Then I started to build the image in 3d. I began by drawing all the pumpkins.

And then painting them.

Then I made the base from a sheet of cardboard covered in crinkled tissue paper.

And painted it to give it texture.

Then it was time to arrange the pumpkins and character on the base.
And put some vines in between the pumpkins.

Then I painted the sky and took some shots!

The clouds looked too solid and the pumpkins at the front and back looked too out of focus. It definitely wasn't right at this point.

Tried it with a different background but there was still something missing. The editor asked if the pumpkins could be 3d rather than standing cardboard so I went back and made some 3d ones. 

Things started to turn around when I added some sparkle to the pumpkins. I suddenly began to feel more inspired about the cover and began to see it was looking much better.

But during the time I was sparkling up the pumpkins I had another idea and I wanted to try it out. What if instead of daytime it was night time and the title was surrounded by a big round moon? I tried it out.

I had to use about three (or maybe even four) lamps behind the moon to fully light it as it was so big! All the pinprick stars had to be lit too.

I liked the result. Luckily the editor did too but there were still a few changes to be made like lighting the moon up more and making the lighting more dramatic.

But we went with it!

And this as you know, is the final result:

It took a long time to get this cover right but I'm so glad I persevered with it. I am really pleased with how it turned out in the end.

Monday, 21 July 2014

One day to go...

I was thrilled last week to get a good first industry journal review from Kirkus.

To see it click HERE

I am extremely chuffed with it! 

I can't believe my book comes out tomorrow!

It is available from lots of places if you want to buy it: Barnes and Noble, and to name a few. It is published by Harpercollins US.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Celestine is a witch's cat!

In anticipation of 'I am a Witch's Cat' being published (NEXT WEEK!!!!), I made Celestine a little black cat suit of her own.  She loved it so much that she wore it for days. She then demanded that I take photos of her posing in all the Witch Cat sets. I thought that actually was a pretty good idea! So we had a little photoshoot one Sunday morning and these photos were the result.

So yes these are some of the sets you can expect to see inside the book! I also thought this was a good idea becasue having Celestine in them shows more of the sense of space in the sets and shows how 3d they actually are. When they have my 2d drawings in them I think some people get confused. I've had people think I've done the whole picture on Photoshop in a sort of collage way before and that really isn't the case! I try to use very little Photoshop in my images. They are all built in 3d and then photographed- not collaged in any way.

Anyway here's actual Witch's Cat. In the books she doesn't have a name but I have always called her Tabitha.

I hope you're going to like her!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Our Wedding

Well finally I have got around to sorting out some wedding photos to put on here! It's been a busy few weeks...

So yes. Our wedding. It was wonderful.

My siblings and I ^ (all three photos above taken by Anne Greenhalgh)

My mum made all the bridesmaid dresses (and her own dress!) I sparkled all the bridesmaid shoes up with the matching colour glitter to their dress: (photo by Anne Greenhalgh)

Instead of a veil I had a cloak made of tulle which my mum made for me. You can't tell in the photos but the cloak is covered in gems which I spent hours sticking on one by one! I was told it did sparkle a lot in the church so I was pleased. (below photos by Anne Greenhalgh)

The cloak was fastened by a very small silver Tinkerbell pin that I already had.  Glad I managed to incorporate a fairy into my outfit somewhere.

I also made the all bridesmaids matching glitter stars for their hair. Below right is the seating plan also made using glitter stars. Can you guess I love stars? (photo below by Anne Greenhalgh)

Here's Henry and his mum arriving at the church and then Henry waiting at the church with his ushers and best man (who was not a man but a woman!) (photos by Anne Greenhalgh)

Here we all come! I came with my dad in a special wedding car. We actually arrived a bit early at the church through a slight error in time judgement so we drove off to town for 20 minutes and bought some mints at a petrol station because I suddenly really fancied a mint which was funny as I haven't had a mint in absolutely years. (photos below by Anne Greenhalgh)

And now (below) here's the church- before it was filled with people obviously!

My Grandmother is a priest and she actually took the service! It was so so nice to be married by my Grandmother.

It was a very special feeling the first time I saw and smiled at Henry as I walked down the aisle. (photos below by Anne Greenhalgh)

And now outside, afterwards having photos. This one was with my parents. That's my grandmother in the pink hat below- she changed promptly out of her priest robes after the ceremony!

My parents had some photos done on the day too to mimic their wedding photos they had done when they got married as they got married at the same church! (second photo above by Anne Greenhalgh and also photo below)

After the church we had a reception in a marquee. We were very lucky becasue the weather was beautiful and sunny. It was as though the sun came out just for that weekend!

I tried to incorporate as many stars and as much glitter as possible into the theme. I also had all my fairies and goblins hanging up from the ceiling so they looked like they were flying above everyones heads in the marquee. My mum made the bunting.

It was such a beautiful place that the marquee was in. It was just surrounded by countryside. (first photo below by Anne Greenhalgh)

Cutting the cake. It was an amazing cake! Henry's dad made it and it was a fairy castle!

I had changed dresses by this point (into one my mum made me) because I wouldn't have been able to dance in the other dress. Henry and I learned a special first dance with lots of twists and twirls in it that we had lessons for. Our first dance was to walking in the air... but not the original- the remix! It's a lot faster and trancier.

Here below I've zoomed in on a picture so you can see the necklace I was wearing. I made it myself and it's made of swarovski stars. I really really love it- it is so sparkly! I'll have to get a proper picture of it sometime. I made the bridesmaids similar ones to wear too. I wore matching earrings- one was a swarovski crystal star and the other was a moon.

And now a couple more posed shots... (two photos below by Anne Greenhalgh)

and some more snapshots...

My favourite part of the day (apart from saying the vows and the church bit) was the evening part of the wedding when I was just dancing with all my friends and family and having fun. That was when I felt most relaxed. We had a fire pit and fireworks and bacon rolls and late night ice creams. (photos below by David Ellis)

It was such a great and marvellous day and so nice to be surrounded by so many people we love and also to see family that we don't see very often.