Monday, 21 March 2011

Fairy Potions and Miniatura

This weekend I did a lot of driving!  Henry and I went up to Birmingham to see the Miniatura exhibition for business research (but mainly because I wanted to go and get some stuff for my castle.) And we also went to and from both Nottingham and Derby to see his family.  So a lot of hours in the car were spent.   It was alright because we had mini eggs and a moomin audiobook.

Here are a few of the things I bought at Miniatura...
Firstly was this pumpkin tea set.  It was love at first sight!  The tiny spout even has a proper spout hole!  They're totally hand made, the only problem is that I don't know who made them!  There were so many stalls and I got given so many cards that I'm afraid I can't remember at all!  If I did I would credit them.
Secondly, these tiny bottles of potions.  Actually the only thing I bought at Miniature here was the crystal ball and again I can't remember from who. (sorry!) However I do know that the poison ivy, blue glass bottle and hemlock were made by Thimblemins and that the poison with the skull and crossbones I found at Claires accessories surprisingly enough!  They were originally earrings.  
This was one of my favourite things- the poisoned mushrooms in the glass jar.  All these things were bought at Miniatura (and I'm really sorry but I don't remember who from yet again!)
 All these potions are going to be put in the potion room in my castle.  Well, when I finally get round to making and decorating it properly!

I'm quite proud of my photography skills in these photos.  I specifically tried to make them look good with an interesting background.  I spent the morning in the garden, crouched down making a table out of leaves.  I'm always envious of people who are able to take really good photographs to showcase things they've bought/seen/made.

So yes, Miniatura was good.  Afterwards we drove to Nottingham to visit Henry's Gran and I was finally able to take home the fairy that she had started making for me last summer.   
It's amazing because she has made all the clothes and the wings herself out of lace.  What I mean to say is that she has actually made the lace!  I watched some of it being done and it was quite confusing.  Millions of bobbins and bits of thread all being folded across each other in different combinations and pins stuck in everywhere. 

The fairy looks a lot better in real life, the photograph does not do her justice.  She's a lot more shiny and glittery.  I especially like her face because it reminds me of Little My from the Moomins.  She looks kind of cross and mischievous.  
I have hung her above my bed.

So anyway, that was my weekend.  It was a good one!  I hope yours was too!

Friday, 18 March 2011

lots of things!

I mentioned before that I was attempting to illustrate a book that was completely different from any kind of thing I had done before.  There was to be NO pink cupcakes and NO pink rabbits and definitely NO glitter!  The story is about a father and his son who live in a normal house in London.  There was no room for any swirly twirly houses made from sweets or Victoria Stitch-ness.

This was fine.  I saw it as fine because the whole idea was to experiment and to stretch myself.  I didn't want to feel too attached to the story so that I wouldn't mind making loads of mistakes and in a way not caring so much about the outcome.

And you know what, I think I have learnt more about illustrating in these last six weeks than I have in a whole year!  When I look back at the first drawings I did for this project just over six weeks ago I can see how much I have improved and how much freer my work has become.  And yes I've missed the glitter and I don't really feel passionate about the story at all but I'm hoping I will be able to apply some of the things I've discovered to future work.

The first hurdle to overcome was drawing children.  I want to be a children's book illustrator but I realised that I never actually draw children!  I don't particularly enjoy drawing children if I'm completely honest, I find adult characters much more interesting.  But anyway, I had to do it.  I tried many many versions of the little boy, I filled up five sketchbooks with character designs.  I still feel like he could be improved.
I found this technique of painting the shape of the boy first with a watercolour wash and then drawing the outline over the top. It seemed to work well.
 This one (below) has a more realistic looking face.  I tried some with really realistic looking faces too and although my tutor liked them I think they look a bit scary and unappealing.
Rougher version-
And this is one of my favourite drawings of the boy that I did.  (The wings got cut off in the scanner.)  I love his happy expression.
 The main thing I learnt about drawing children is how big their heads are proportionately compared to adults.

And THEN I had the dad to draw!  I found this a bit easier because someone on my course kindly offered to model for me and as he has a very distinct look, it was a lot easier to translate that onto paper. And more fun! I used to whole painting with wash and then outlining over the top method for a lot of these again.

These were the ones (below) that the tutors really liked. I tried and tried to re create these but they never came out quite the same second time round.  It's because I initially drew them so spontaneously. Ah well!
He's a bit of an eccentric the Dad.  Likes his multicolours!
And then I drew some really really quick ones which came out like this:
and which I actually quite like.

So now I basically have five books full of character design!  Just gotta choose which ones to use now.

And here's a few more concept ideas/sketches for pages in the book:

School playground scene:

(secretly I'm looking forward to finishing this project now.  It's been a love hate relationship)  I give myself one more week!

In other news it was both mine and Henry's birthday at the beginning of march so there were a lot of festivities going on.  I made Henry this Zelda cake.
And he got me two teeny tiny royal crowns for my castle.  Haha we are so geeky.
I had a party which was a 'dress as your favourite children's book character party and I went as Dorrie the little witch.  We had light up balloons and glitter cannons and played pass the parcel
Henry came as Charlie Brown and we also had a Where's Wally, a flower fairy, Arthur, Shaggy and an amazing Scooby Doo in a full bodysuit and dog head!  It was brilliant!
It's been a great month!  I hope your has too!