Friday, 10 November 2017

MAKE ART THAT SELLS illustrating children's books

Last week I finished the 5 week long Illustrating Children's Books course with Lilla Rogers and Zoe Tucker. 
I signed up because I felt like I was drifting a bit and needed a kick up the arse and an injection of fresh ideas (and enthusiasm)
And I got it.
It was a struggle to fit it in with my normal work but I loved it so much I just worked stupid hours. And abandoned my children. And the cleaning. 
So here I am, just beginning to recover...and writing this in order to put the cleaning off a while longer...

Week 1 We got to choose from 3 texts that Zoe wrote. (I'll be honest... I only read one. It was perfect for me so I didn't bother with the other two. I'm soo profesh. 😬) It was called Pet Problems ... about a kid who lives in a tiny high rise flat but really wants a pet. I drew a zillion character ideas. I even did some real life cutting-and-sticking-collage and painted some bits too. With an actual paintbrush! I enjoyed the old school methods for about a day before having to admit to myself that I'm a computer sorta chick. I can't do with the length of time the real life methods take... and the total lack of an undo button stressed me out.
So I used some of the real life bits but put them together in illustrator.
Week 2 was all about expressions...
and Week 3 was about poses...
with a BobbyBonus if we wanted to submit secondary characters...which of course I did. Why make things easy for yourself...
In Week 4 we looked at environments. By this point I was feeling a bit like my usual flat style was just not cutting it. Everyone else's work was so full of depth and texture. I do like the flat and simple look but I started to feel a little inferior next to all the photoshop brushes and actual real life painting going on. So I scanned in a few textures I created with pastels and I had a go at photoshop brushes. 
Then I moved them all into illustrator cos my total rubbishness in photoshop was making me want to kick my screen.
We had to illustrate a double page spread. I'm not kidding, the hardest part was deciding which one to do. It took a few days of total faffery before I settled on this one.
In real life you get to illustrate every page so it doesn't really matter where you start. And in real life when I work on books I keep going back and forth on all the spreads and kind of do them all together. Obvs I couldn't do that with this 15 one week.
Finally we got to week 5 ...this was the cover design week... I had to finish it super early cos I went to London for the weekend with my Dotty Wren design besties.
I have to admit I've been a bit sad this week with no new brief and no classroom posts. Back to the normal jobs where people want everything like yesterday and there's no money in the budget for pastel pencil faffery.
I loved the course and would recommend it to anyone. It's made me  determined to go get myself the proper picture book deal I've always this space people x


  1. These are SO amazing! you are so clever x

  2. I have always followed you, because I identify with you. I only see the flat mode of the illustration (personally I love it) but comparing with the work
      around, I also feel inferior sometimes. You have always been my role model and motivator. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I hope some day to be able to take lilla rogers courses (when my English allows it)

    Karen Thaco

  3. Aw thanks Karen, your work is lovely 😘 You should definitely do a course, it was soooo good!! xx

  4. Dawn, your work is fantastic. All creatives doubt their abilities sometimes and it is ok to feel like that - just for a second, because there are many more seconds to fill with your cleverness. I love your character and all the compositions. Go get that book deal!

  5. I really love this work Dawn! You can tell by looking at it that you really enjoyed it too, apart from the self doubting bit ...You should be well proud!