Hermux Tantamoq is a watchmaker who is pulled into all sorts of adventures in Michael Hoeye’s books. My drawing is from Hermux in Time Stops for No Mouse, the first in the series, but my favourite is The Sands of Time.
Miss Minton is a severe but wonderful woman in Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea, a beautiful book set in the early twentieth century about a young girl discovering the Amazon and the people who live there. I’ll be drawing a couple more of the characters over the next few days.
Captain Frederick Wentworth, for those who haven’t read (or watched) Persuasion, is the love interest of Anne.
A little over a year ago I set myself the challenge of illustrating a short story I’d written. I’ve posted some concepts and development of these illustrations before, but now I’d like to share a few of the finished drawings.
Most of the drawings below are spreads, and are viewed over two pages when printed. Odd blank spaces are normally where there’s some text! I had a few copies printed as presents for family and friends this Christmas. I’d like to illustrate some more stories and perhaps create a collection, or maybe tackle something larger, to be published.
Though I’ve been working on a few different projects I can’t share much from them yet. So here are some drawings from my personal project, a story of mine that I’m illustrating. I posted some concepts for it back in February (see them here).
I began with very loose digital sketches, brainstorming ideas for each page. Next I took my favourite sketches and refined them into a page for the book. (You can see how this drawing, originally portrait, has turned into a spread.) The stage I’m at now is creating more detailed sketch layers for each page. I’ll then go back over them with the rough brush; I want to try and create a finish somewhere between the detail of the final image and the contrast and looseness of the first two.
I’ve been working on one page for a while and it was only yesterday that I finally understood what I was actually trying to say. The words for this spread read “Liffey was a big dog who thought she was a small dog.”
My first few sketches were all using the same idea. On the left, Liffey looking down on a smaller dog; on the right, her surrounded by the “scary shadows” of her imagination.
Using the sketch I started to play with colours. But it never felt right. I wanted the scary page to be full of clashing colours and conflict, but it never sat right with the other page.
I am not proud of this page, and it was never really meant for general consumption, but it’s needed here – so I apologise for its crumminess!
Next I changed my colour scheme for the dogs a bit, bringing them into a more natural realm. However I tried to keep the bright green and blue.
After completing it I wasn’t happy and left it for a while, wondering how to fix it. I knew it didn’t work as I wanted it to – painting technique aside, Liffey looked sad rather than scared, and the monsters seemed like an afterthought. So I started sketching out ideas in my notebook giving the monsters more precedence.
So this is what I painted yesterday. I’m pleased with it as a piece (though of course there’s always things to nitpick) but I still wasn’t happy with the page. Liffey sure looked scared, but it felt TOO scary. After all, it’s supposed to be a light-hearted children’s story …
It was when I was taking a bath yesterday evening (baths and walks are fantastic for coming up with ideas) that I finally realised where I’d been going wrong. Somehow I’d forgotten all about the words on the page: “Liffey … thought she was a small dog.” I’d moved away from “small dog” to “scared dog”, even though her fear of other dogs is addressed on the next page in a much clearer way.
Now just twenty-one more pages to go …
I’ve been writing and illustrating a book, and this is a test page from it. I’m pretty set on the colours I want to use, but I’m still trying to figure out how detailed I want to go. I quite like how this has turned out, but I think I need to clarify some areas more and I definitely need to work on the poses of the characters.