Sunday, 29 May 2011

Black Cats and Cut-out Characters


Ok so first some delighting news. I found out a couple of weeks ago that I got highly commended in the Macmillan Children's Book prize competition for my 'Casper and Jasper'/Rainbow Dad entry!  So I was extremely chuffed about that and got to go to the private view of the highly commended and winners work in Foyles in London which was exciting if a little daunting.  So thanks Cas and Jas! You did me proud!  Still, I'm kind of glad all that's over now and they can (finally) take a back seat.  I feel it's time to work on something else.

bye bye Casper and Jasper!

Now these past couple of weeks I have been doing work experience at Egmont publishing house in London.  I felt like a proper business person getting up at half six and hopping on the commuter train along with all the other business people.  It almost made me want to get an office job.  Almost.  The commute at the end of the day was not fun though.  Forty five minutes on the tube crammed into the carriage like a sardine in a tin was something I could have quite happily bypassed.  Sometimes, actually quite often, I wish I could apparate like in Harry Potter.

Anywho the work experience was worth the tube train ride.  It was very interesting and fun and they were all so nice there!  I mainly worked with the design team and I loved seeing how children's books are created from a publishers point of view.  There are so many things that go into making books that I had never realised before!

Also lately I have been practicing more with 3d illustrations, making little figures and putting them in places.  I havn't done a lot, most of my time has been spent doing work experience of course, but here are a few little random snapshots, nothing finished or anything, just pictures of the models really.

I like working this way.  I find it very absorbing but then I've always had a fascination for making tiny things.  This is also me working in a looser style with a dip pen, kind of similar to the way in which I did Casper and Jasper.  It's also me practising drawing children. I don't really know where my work's going at the moment to be honest.  It seems to be going down a road of it's own!

I like the bat boy best.

Also I finally have an etsy shop!  Though it is completely empty at the moment!  I need to work out how to actually list things on there.  I shall let you know when it is open for business should you have a penchant for paintings of fairy cakes or magical black cats...
To all my readers, I hope you have had a wonderful weekend and here's to a sparkling and glittertastic week starting tomorrow!

'Til next time x

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Rainbow Dad

So a few weeks ago I realised that it was almost that time of year again when the Macmillan Prize comes around.  Being on my MA and still technically a student I thought I may as well give it a go seeing as it's probably my last chance.

So the past couple of weeks or so I have been working on creating some final images for the book I posted about a while ago about the little boy and his eccentric father.

I'm not terribly passionate about the story to be honest and I was quite ready to leave this project behind a good four weeks ago and concentrate on my dissertation but for some reason it sticks to me like a magnet and I find myself spending all my time working on it and tweaking it.  Such is life.

So anyway, I just about have four spreads ready for the Macmillan Prize now and I'm pretty pleased with them if I say so myself.  And by now I'll admit that I have grown quite fond of the characters after all this time!  An awful lot of work went into them.  I know the little boy still needs some work  (drawing kids is not my strength)  but I really like how the Dad came out!

This is my second time using the 3d cut out paper technique.  I enjoy it so much.  I get really absorbed in making all the little sets.  The only problem is that I don't have a great camera to take the photos with however I was lucky because a man called David Austin who does have a great camera came and photographed them for me.

The other thing about these illustrations is that because I had so little time to make them in I had to be not too neat about the drawings.  Usually I am quite laborious in the way that I draw but this time I really had to make myself loosen up.  I found using a dip pen helped with this.  You can't be too neat with a dip pen because the line is so unreliable.  I actually quite like this looser style of drawing. (and I also like that it took half the time!)

Doing the night scenes was fun because I loved making the sparkly star effect using lamps.  None of these illustrations are photoshopped or digitally enhanced by the way.  (well apart from where the writing is put on)
I think forcing myself to illustrate this story has been a real learning curve.  I hope so anyway!  I definitely feel as though I've progressed in some way, or at least taken a direction that I don't think I would have otherwise.

So that's what I've been working hard on these past weeks!  Also my dissertation which I can not WAIT to finish!

Other things that have occupied me this month have been the Royal Wedding, which was majestic and beautiful.  We watched it on the television and then had a street party which my mum made the bunting for.  It was such a nice day.

These (above) are some of my tiny miniature crowns that I have. I love them and thought the Royal Wedding merited a photograph of them.  I like to put them on my fingertips and wiggle them around but soon (when I finally get around to completing it) they will be displayed in my castle.

Also something which I forgot to mention before was that I went to the Bologna Children's book fair in March/April which was a really eye opening experience.  So. Many. Books!  It was nice to see the european children's book market which was not nearly so commercialised as the English one.  The whole thing was just crazy! And huuuge!  And I got to speak to publishers which was great.

So that's about all for now.  I need to get on with this dastardly dissertation haha. x

Monday, 2 May 2011

Tartan Houses

This is old, I did it about a year ago (I think it was supposed to represent edinburgh.) I had forgotten about it because I didn't think it was very good.  I recently found it buried somewhere on my computer and second time round thought it didn't look as bad as I thought.  Why does that happen?

Anyway, I would genuinely love to live in a tartan house.  And if I did  I'd wear tartan clothes every day.  Apparently when the Queen is at Balmoral she 'goes native' and wears tartan and even has tartan wallpaper!