Ahoy!

Ahoy there! I’ve been busy creating some new characters for the next book I’m doing which is based in a small fishing village.  I got the idea when I visited Staithes in North Yorkshire.  It’s a really quaint, quirky fishing town with higgledy-piggledy cottages and winding streets, Staithes has the air of a place lost in time. The story is based around a group of rocks, the main character is a rock called Seamus who lies all the time! I’m still in the process of writing the story, but have been having a go at creating some characters who might frequent a fishing town.  The guys below were started as rough drawings in Illustrator and then I took them into Photoshop to finish them off.

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Sneak peek

I’ve been busy working away on the portfolio 1 module since October as part of my MA. Trying to juggle two new jobs, moving to Wales and fitting in time to produce art work has been hugely challenging.  I’m doing the MA part time over two years as I wanted more time to develop my work and I am SO glad I decided to do it over two years instead of one.  Watching all the full time students stressing about getting their work done in time for their first exhibition in May made me breathe a sigh of relief! Although funnily enough I have surprised myself with how quickly I have managed to produce the images for a children’s book.  I worked on a story based on ‘Swimmy’ by Leo Lionni, a story about a fish whose family is eaten by a giant tuna!  I got so into producing the images that I’ve finished the book already and I’ve finally managed to make all the amends.  The book has gone off to the printers today and I’m so excited to see what it looks like when it returns.  Here is a sneak peek at a few of the images inside – the images are all done with paint, collage and finished digitally in Photoshop.

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Abner…oh Abner

What better way to start the day than a post on my hero Abner Graboff. Abner was a prolific illustrator of children’s books in the 1950s and 60s.

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I don’t know what it is about the illustrators of this period, but I am so drawn to the simplicity and jauntiness of the illustrations.

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The way Abner used colour and simple shapes is so inspiring and his layouts are so quirky and unique. There isn’t much to be found about him online and his books are hard to come across. However there is an excellent blog post by The Ward-O-Matic which features an interview with his son Jon Graboff.

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I’m hoping some of his magic will rub off on my own work! We shall see…

Made a GIF!

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I’ve been meaning to have a go at making an animated GIF for a while now. For those of you who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, basically it’s file containing a string of images which makes it appear as though the image is moving.

Although they may look like they are quite difficult create, they are actually really simple! If you have access to Photoshop and a few spare minutes you can most definitely create one yourself.  There is an excellent post on blog hubspot which explains exactly how to do it!

The magic of printing

So today a book I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of finally arrived ‘Blockprint’ and here it is in all it’s glory.

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I saw it advertised on that section on amazon, that brings up loads of books similar to ones you’ve been looking at so you end up buying them all! I’d recently watched an interview with one of my favourite illustrators Christian Robinson, who talked about making little handmade stamps and incorporating them into his illustrations.  As an example, here he has made a little stamp to paint the leaves on the trees.  It looks super tactile and playful.

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Loads of ideas have been popping into my head about the next book I want to do as part of my course.  In my head I’ve been thinking about quirky fishing villages, with a printed sea and lots of nice mark-making.  So I’m excited to start experimenting with the techniques in this book.  I’ll keep you posted how I get on!