Master Copy - Catherine Rayner

  • SVS OG

    I’ve seen some great master copies posted on here recently and it’s inspired me to try one myself! Lots of reasons to do one:

    1. I haven’t done one before.
    2. @Lee-White recommends them as good practice.
    3. @Will-Terry said in a video I watched recently, that “if you’re not doing things like master copies then you don’t really want it badly enough” - so that rather threw down the gauntlet!
    4. I’d like to infuse a bit of whatever technique I learn from this into my 3rd Thursday piece.

    So, this is my choice - a piece by Catherine Rayner, one of my absolute favourite children’s book illustrators, I’ve researched her technique before because I wanted to emulate it but never done a master copy..she uses acrylic inks, screen printed backgrounds and spatters and crayons and so on to add texture. I love her combination of inkiness and graphic.


    So, I drew the outline (no tracing!) and transferred onto paper. Then laid down undertones…


    ..This is halfway through the midtones…


    Then the darkest bits and inky lines. She apparently uses a cocktail stick to pull the ink about, didn’t have one but improvised with tweezers and a dip pen. Here's the finished version:



    And here's how the scans compare (fixed the eye blob digitally..)


    It’s not perfect but I do think it’s helped me understand much better how she feels a lot different actually trying to emulate a piece, compared to analysing it visually. So hopefully this will help in future pieces 🙂

  • Sweet! I love her work. I think she does several different techniques and media like acrylics, inks, and silkscreen. You've done a very nice job capturing the essence of her work. 🙂

  • Wow!! This is great! And her technique looks really fun (although very hard...) I think you really nailed it, I actually have trouble knowing which is the original.

    I never heard of this artist before, I just looked at her website, wonderful stuff! She's now saved in my "favorite" on my internet browser so I can use her as inspiration!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Dulcie Her work is awesome and you did a fantastic job! Love it! I love the hint of blue green in the ears.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    LOVE it! so great that you guys are putting in this work!!! You will be SO much better for it! : )

  • Pro SVS OG

    Her sketchbook is really fun to look through and read... she has some early character exploration in there from her books. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pro SVS OG


  • Wow, that's really good! Good job, it looks like a fun process too 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @Dulcie This is really wonderful Dulcie! Looks like you really had a lot of fun working on this as well, which really shows!

  • SVS OG

    @Suzy-Heitz Thank you! Glad you think so 🙂
    @NoWayMe Thank you! That's very kind to say.. Glad to introduce you to a new illustrator! Yeah it's one of those 'fun but frustrating' art techniques 🙂
    @Charlie-Eve-Ryan Thank you!
    @lmrush @Camomilla Thanks 🙂 It is fun feeling free and messy with the inks..
    @Rich-Green Thank you 🙂 Glad you like it! I think I'm going to try to try this sort of process more often...

    And while I'm here, here's a couple of my favourite spreads from her books...



  • SVS OG

    Awesome job! You're definitely very close to the original!

  • Great work!! Your version looks really good. I love the vibrant colors.

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