Monday, October 31, 2011

storyboards for Bye, Bye, Butterflies!

I thought it might be interesting to show how much thought and work go into the early planning for the visuals for a book.  Everyone works a bit differently, but this was my approach.

Once I had read the manuscript for Bye, Bye, Butterflies!, I started by making a lot of notes about the things in the story that stood out to me and the initial images that came to my mind.  Then I doodled very rough layouts in small boxes to see what might work.  I did a lot of those.  Once I had an idea of which layouts seemed to work, I did slightly more refined drawings (but still quite rough) in little boxes that were scaled down from the actual size of the book.  That way I could see all of the spreads for the book on one piece of paper and I could see how they would work together.

My storyboard went through several incarnations as I tried to work out the pacing and figure out the best visuals to tell the story.  Once I was happy with it, I showed it to my editor who gave me very helpful feedback.  Then I used the storyboard to create the proper sketches for the book.

Stay tuned for a peek at some of those...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

just a peek

Last weekend I completed two illustration projects that I've had on the go.  Although I'm not showing them in their entirety until they're printed, here's a tiny peek...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

charlie's teacher

As promised, here's some more process from the picture book.  This is some of the character development for Charlie's teacher.

From the start I envisioned her with hair that would take on a big, interesting shape.  At first I was thinking she'd be a red head, but I didn't want her to steal the show from another red haired character in the story.

I played with some other options.  I thought pig tails might be fun.

But in the end, the big shape stayed and I've decided to render her hair with graphite.  I think it will make for a nice contrast with the paint I'll be using in the finals.  (This last drawing of her is from one of the spreads from the book)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

another exciting finalist...

I was finally able to check the site to find out who the other Governor General award nominees were for children's illustration.  Red Wagon, written and illustrated by Renata Liwska is also nominated! Renata's books are so beautiful and Red Wagon is especially creative in the way that she's combined the pictures with the text.  Good luck Renata!

Every time I buy one of Renata's books for myself, I end up giving it away to a child I know (they make really great gifts), so I'm unable to provide any photos of the actual book.  But check out Renata's website for a peak inside of Red Wagon, a lovely and imaginative book.

You can check out the other GG finalists here and here.

picture book - migrant

One of my favorite illustrator's, Isabelle Arsenault, has been nominated for a Governor General Literary Award for her illustrations in the book Migrant, written by Maxine Trottier.  I'm really excited by this because Migrant is one of the most beautiful and perfect picture books I've ever seen.  The story is so lovely and the illustrations are the perfect compliment, substituting animals as metaphors for the characters and telling another story than the text does.  The images are so well drawn and the style is very unique and beautiful.  I love her use of a limited palette and the way she combines collage with graphite, watercolor and colored pencil.  And check out those amazing end papers.

I picked up a copy last spring and it's one of my favorite books in my collection.  Here are a few photos:

I'd like to see who else is nominated for picture book illustration, but the link doesn't seem to be working at the moment...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

bye, bye, butterflies update

I'm pretty excited because last night I finished all of the drawings for the picture book and made a very simple book dummy. Today I'm just going over everything and doing refinements before I submit the drawings to my editor. It's really good timing because after weeks of spending all of my available time on this project, I finally feel like I can take some time off to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with friends.

Stay tuned - I have some more visuals to share later this week :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

introducing charlie's dad

When I first read the manuscript for Bye, Bye, Butterflies, the character of Charlie made me think of a drawing of a little boy that I had done in my sketchbook while I was living in Paris.  That was what I started with when I was trying to figure out how Charlie would look.

I had no idea what Charlie's dad would look like, except for the fact that I knew I wanted him and Charlie to share a bit of a resemblance.  Since this story is based on something that happened to the author, Andrew Larsen, and his son, my editor suggested that perhaps my character of Charlie's dad might resemble the author.  I played around with that idea and ended up liking the result. I don't know that the drawing looks a lot like the author, which wasn't my goal, but it was inspired by his appearance in the one photo that I saw of him online.