Dragonflies helping a dragon fly
Can't even have a relaxing day building sandcastles anymore!
It finally seems that the print version of my first book I illustrated "Patrick Picklebottom and the Penny Book" is stocked and available on amazon, and should be on the shelves (soon?) in some retail stores. I honestly wouldn't have reached this point without SVS, the monthly competitions and especially without the help of it's forum members so I owe a lot to everyone here!! I'm currently at work on my 4th book and hope to include a special dedication to the SVS group that has helped guide the way
I hope it's not against the rules to post the amazon link and i'm happy to take it down if it is
Inspired by @smceccarelli amazing "100 kids" project I thought I would give it a go myself to explore and experiment with a variety of styles and character designs. I'm mostly using reference images found on pinterest which I then do a 3 minute timed sketch of and spend another 5 minutes refining the design before doing color studies (again I want to give my thanks to @smceccarelli for her great youtube video on her own color scheme explorations).
Both of these took a bit over 2 hours each and although I could refine them more it would be against the point of the exercise If you are interested in the brushes used, I used Kyle Webster's Gouche Round Opaque with a few custom adjustments for the block in and my own pencil brush which is a mix of the splatter with a texture on top (Will Terry has a great video on making your own pencil brush)
Sometimes the monster under your bed isn't as scary as you think.
I haven't been on the SVS forums as much as I would like in recent months as I have been tackling working on my first books, working multiple jobs and the birth of my first child last year (a job in of itself!!). I have missed chatting with a lot of the members on here and looking at all your great work , so I hope to be a lot more active and back into things.
Anyhow, my meaning for this post is just to thank everyone on SVS, the teachers and the forum members, who have helped guided me through the process of becoming a children's illustrator. I have 2 books that are coming out quite soon and may hopefully be on some major bookstore shelves (fingers crossed). Although I have a million things left to learn and improve upon I feel like i'm slowly walking in the right direction
Quite a while ago I started illustrating a book for somewhat of a personal project, but it got put to the side and after getting busy with my first contracted work the project was forgotten. Recently I was practicing some new styles and thought about revisiting and restarting the project with a little bit more experience. I want to try out something a slightly different than what I currently have on my portfolio, but still remain something that is my style.
As the SVS forums have been a big part of my illustration career I want to try and document the process here and hopefully it will show others one way of making a book, or even the mistakes you should avoid ......
Below are a few of the pieces I was working through a few years ago, but looking back there wasn't as much structure as I would have liked and things kept changing as I was going through the project causing redraws and repaints:
Below is a test piece for how I plan to lay out the new book with 1 page of text surround by a relevant border and an illustration on the other page. This is my jumping off point and the next stage will be to refine the characters (which should be easier as I have previous character sketches) and layout the book, which I will be updating with shortly.
Today I have been sketching out ideas for the "hidden" assignment and working on finishing a painting of Robert Pattinson to add to my portfolio. Later on I have to finish off some caricature commission (fortunately those are a lot simpler)
EDIT: Calling it finished
I'm currently going through the process of illustrating a new book and would like to document the journey here from my initial concept sketches to the final product. I hope it will help other illustrators learn from the things I do right and wrong and will be a good insight into how I work, but feel free to critique anything that you think can be improved upon.
About me - I moved over into children's illustration about 3 years ago and have been working part time on building up a portfolio, finding my own style and finding a process that works for me. Previously I mostly focused on portraits and caricatures, but I found it hard to find a clear career path through that. SVS has been a great help in guiding me and the forums have been invaluable in helping me advance.
Who I'm freelancing for and how I got work - I'm currently in the process of making my 4th book for New Paige Press, which is only a small American publisher, however the owner works very hard in getting his books out and is well connected for distribution and sales which is why I have been creating books for them. I was contacted by the owner after posting some pictures of my work on a facebook group and created my first book "Patrick Picklebottom and the Penny Book" which was recently released! I don't have an agent as of yet, but if something good comes along or when I feel ready it may be an avenue I will consider.
About the book I'm making - The book is aimed at around the 7-10 age groups and is a story that deals with carefully considering the information you read around you and not jumping to conclusions. It echo's a lot of the recent political issues, but without preaching or focusing on any side and in a way children can understand and learn.
I'll try document my process as it happens, as it should go something like this:
Character and Design Concept Sketching
Light and Shadow Studies
Final Paintings WIP
I'll also try to create a more concise blog about the process of the book on my website www.garywilkinsonart.com , but you should be able to see most everything here first. If you have any questions feel free to ask away and I advise everyone to check out SVS's own course: https://courses.svslearn.com/courses/illustrating-childrens-books-part1 which will give you 10 times more information than I possibly could!
Going with a smartphone theme again (I might add an hidden octopus later) I thought I would try represent old and new with the abandonment of old toys. Got a busy month in March so I thought I would get an early start to it. Any thoughts or critiques before I move into adding color would be appreciated. I still have to add a few more smaller items into the scene and fix that monopoly box perspective yet.
I figured where better to start out than the main character Harry Potter. Once I transferred the image and drew over it (1) I began painting. At first I wanted everything to be quite subtle (2) but I didn't like how things were going and started over. With the Griffindor colors being yellow I wanted to focus on those colors, but the end result lacked impact (3). I was happy enough with the painting of the character, but I wanted to improve the background and add a bit more atmosphere (4). It's not the most original of paintings, but i'm pleased with the first piece and it will help as a guideline for the other characters.
After paying too little attention to my blog, I thought it may be helpful or at least insightful to make a post about how I created my most recent piece "Misunderstood Monster" for this month's competition. Many of you may have already seen a lot of the progress images and well as helping me improve the painting and help guide it to completion, so I give a lot of thanks for that.
If people find it useful then I will add further tutorials/how I painted it posts for my other work and if you have any thoughts on how I could improve my explanations or teachings, then it would be really helpful. You can find the post below