Thursday, January 26, 2006

Illustration Friday - Cats

A nice easy Illustration Friday topic this week, just 'cats', great. I've found four old pieces of work and put them together as a little group, maybe the big cats are stretching the theme a bit, but never mind. The black cat and the tiger were for the Holiday Happenings series one for Halloween and one for Chinese New Year. The lion is illustrating one of the signs of the zodiac and he is currently being used on a Slovenian website and the remaining ginger cat was just for fun.

hello there

Hooray, I finally got some self promotional things in the post. It took me much too long to produce 11 sets of letters, 3 prints, a simple response card and an SAE, but it's a start at least and now I've introduced myself to a few more potential clients. A "hello there, I draw - hire me. My website is here ..." My letter was a wee bit more wordy of course, but not much.

All 11 recipients are based in London, so I'll phone them in a couple of weeks time and try to arrange meetings. In the meantime I'd better update my website and sort out my portfolio. Yikes.

But first, I think I'll procrastinate a bit more by checking the topic for Illustration Friday this week and seeing if I have any old things that'll fit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

a new home for a Nelliephant

My parents are very organised and recently asked what I'd like for my birthday (which isn't for ages). I knew straight away as I'd just been looking at my friend Gretel's gorgeous 'Nelliephant' prints.

Mum let on it's arrived and she's really impressed with it, thankyou Gretel, I can't wait to see it too!

Monday, January 23, 2006

One more promotional piece and last Friday's school visit

I decided to use a Rainbow frogs illustration as another promo piece and I've printed out a little heap of them ready to send out. Unfortunately this gobbled up all my cyan and magenta printer ink and has prevented the printing of any letters to accompany them, oops. Hopefully, the new ink is winging it's way to me now and so there will only be a small hiccup in proceedings.

Last Friday's visit to St. Peters' school went very well, Tamsyn asked some well-timed questions when I dried up a bit in front of a sea of attentive little faces and the audience also had some prepared questions. One little boy asked "how did you colour inside the lines so beautifully?" and later in the day he told me my Halloween book was his favourite, because he really liked the way I'd drawn the vampire's teeth. Aaw, needless to say I think he's a little hero.

I was also asked "how did you stick the little plastic frogs on?" which is a fair question.

The children seemed to like learning about the process of illustration and then copying my hastily drawn frog picture later in the day. Although one small girl groaned "oh no, not again!" when Tamsyn announced the plan, I'm pleased to report she drew a great little frog with huge eyes and multi-coloured legs.

I really enjoyed my time with Class 2 and stayed for the whole day, joining in with their lessons, helping them to read through their 'key words' and then attending the hour-long 'Fizzy Disco' in the evening too, where my new little friends danced to the conga and played musical bumps in their best party clothes.

So, all in all, a pretty successful first school visit I think. I need to come up with more of a presentation, tying together all the different elements I'd brought along: the art direction, roughs, copies of artwork and the final books etc but that can all be worked on.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

bookmarks for tomorrow's class

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Self promotion time again

It's mailout time again and these are my latest. Printed onto A6 pieces of glossy photo paper they'll be sent out with a covering letter to as many art directors as I can find in the Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. Then in a week or two, I'll phone all those folks and try to arrange an appointment to show them my portfolio.

Well, that's the theory anyway, now all I need to do is completely redo my portfolio and to pluck up some courage from somewhere.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tuppleballs and Chubbawubs, not to mention Twizzlewillies

My second set of books were all written by Cathy Drinkwater Better, who must be very proud of such a great name.

Rachael Phillips and I worked on these illustrations together for very long days, all the paintings lay along her huge kitchen table jostling for space with the remnants of innumerable sarnies and cups of tea.

Once my pencil roughs were approved, I drew them on watercolour paper and handed them to Rach, who painted them and returned them so I could add the black ink outlines. After four books worth of tuppleballs, polydactyls, twizzlewillies and chubbawubs, I think we went a wee bit barmy. It was all good fun though and I was certainly disappointed to discover very few, if any, of these books were published and distributed due to a lack of funds somewhere along the line.

The Cuddly Beasties
Originally uploaded by Beck W.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

planning for my first school visit

I'm off on my first school visit on the 20th, only just over a week away yikes, I'd better get to work deciding what to say to Mrs. Wallis' class at St. Peters school in Chippenham, Wiltshire. The similarity of the teacher's name to mine is no coincidence, Tamsyn's married to my baby brother and over Christmas she collared me to arrange a date to visit. I'm hoping her class of 4 and 5 olds won't be too tough a crowd.

I've always intended to visit schools and discuss my work with the children, but have never quite got around to it. I'll take my trusty laptop and graphics tablet to hook up to their fancy 'interactive whiteboard', no more dull ol' blackboards like in my day. Crikey, now I feel old. I'll also take along some of my books produced for Dingles and Company. I illustrated ten books for the Community of Counting series and twelve for the Holiday Happenings series. Both series were published in English and bilingual English/Spanish versions.

I'll finally be able to show someone how completely over the top I went with the detail in some of the illustrations for these books.

Barbie the art director wanted the images to be at a very high resolution, 900 dots per inch, so she could choose and enlarge elements of the design at a later stage. This meant I could 'zoom in' to a ridiculous degree and add things like a highlight in the pupil of a spider's eye. In the final printed book 'Number Ten - Where is the Hen?' the spider itself was only just visible if peered at very, very closely.

Hm, think I could've saved myself a lot of time there.

I'm looking forward to seeing what questions the children have for me, hm I'd better do some homework before I go so I can come up with some answers for them.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

swaddled waddling in winter woollies

Walking around Clissold Park at the weekend, I saw lots of little children waddling around happily despite being swaddled head to toe in many layers of bulky winter woollies. This quick doodle took much too long, oops. Maybe I should come up with a new year's resolution after all; to draw and sketch much more often, and to speed up.

Swaddled toddlers waddling woollily.
Swaddled woolly toddlers waddling.
Woolly swaddly toddling waddlers.