How I draw: A glimpse into my creative chaos...

illustrator studio

I have always been the sort of person to not over-think what I am drawing; that’s the best way to get it wrong! I tend to be expressive and quirky, and I like my illustrations to have something unique about them. However, every single drawing or painting needs a certain amount of preparation and planning, so here’s what happens!

My Method of Drawing

I like to scribble ideas down, whether it’s on a piece of scrap paper, or these days, usually on my tablet! It’s all part of the crucial process of developing an image. Sketching out the ideas kick-starts the whole process. Once these ideas are formed, I use the powerful software I have at my disposal to build up the images, layer by layer, eventually making the most simple illustration complex and detailed. In the early days of Happydesigner, and before the arrival of the powerful computers and bespoke hardware available today, the sketches were made on numerous pieces of paper. The illustrations were then gradually built up using the ‘Lightbox’ process, with the final image being scanned into a computer, ready for placing into the book template.

Lightbox

This is also a good method when drawing people, with their different angles and minute stages of movement. This is where knowing the character is crucial! It is so important for you to have a clear profile of your characters, whether it’s in your head or on paper. You need to know how the characters stand, what sort of expressions they have and how they fit on the page. It’s also good to consider how your characters will visually interact with your other characters.

What Do I Need to Know About Your Picture Book Idea?

  • What are the personalities of each character?
  • What does each character look like?
  • What is the theme/style/mood of the picture book?
  • What is going to go on which page?
  • How is the book’s layout going to enhance the flow of the story?
  • How do the characters move around in the book?

paperball-wt

When faced with this kind of planning I tend to not think too hard about the logistics. I like to work on my gut instinct; I find that working this way is a great thing, trusting yourself to know what looks and feels right. For me, being a little spontaneous is a good way to work.

You Need to Be Self-Critical

Yep, I know, sometimes it’s hard when you have spent three months (or more) on a book, and then have to objectively critique it. Trying to improve work you feel you’ve already analysed, ripped up, started again, re-analysed, ripped up and re-started again, can be really hard work, and tough on you. However, it’s a really, really important part of the process so that you are happy with the finished book. It also contributes to a happier working atmosphere, as we need to be able to communicate effectively throughout this whole process to create the right outcome for everyone.

character-rabbits

Your Characters

When I am given a brief, I like to almost sleep with it! I read it over and over until I find myself seeing the pictures forming as I am reading. The first, and most important thing of all, is characterisation. If the character is not 100% at the start of a picture book it can throw the whole project out. This is why it’s so important to have the characters clear in your mind when you approach me. On that note…

Approaching Me For Work

Creating a story-book is a very exciting adventure, especially if it’s your first time. It can also be quite daunting, but please don’t worry, I can help you with every step of the way!

A lot of the time, authors come to me with stories that mean so much to them, and I completely appreciate this. Whether the story has a personal connection or it’s an adventure book written on the back of a dream they had, to me, every story is important. It’s very easy for me to just draw anything and hand it over, but I much prefer to work with my customers to make sure they are part of the development process and adventure too. So, if your story is about a family member and needs the characters to reflect this, just send me a photo and I can make that happen. If you have ideas about your characters and book, I’m always happy to work with you to bring those ideas to life.

And that’s it! For all enquiries check out the services page on my website, or get in touch with me by clicking on the link.

A few of my previous clients

Design against furSt Ives Memory BayEden ProjectSkyRespect for animalsPets at HomeSt Moritz Hotel

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • "Thank you so much Sarah! What a fantastic set of illustrations for the first in our series of children’s books. We can’t wait to work with you on the second book!" Jane Archer-Wilms & Marlies Veenhof

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "It won’t be a struggle working with Sarah, it’ll be a pleasure. Can’t recommend enough”
    - Richard Quick

  • "Sarah is quality.  Not just her design but she is a pleasure to work with."
    - Bob Harper, Portfolio Marketing

  • "Sarah provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could" Discovery Leisure

  • Got home tonight and the books had arrived. Absolutely love them. My girlfriend loves your illustrations.” - Andrew Jeffery: 'Wolfboy Book'

  • "I am absolutely THRILLED TO BITS with your illustrations! THEY ARE MAGNIFICENT!”
    - Susanna Jennicrai, Book Author

  • "i really like ur books my mommy reads them 2 me all the time ur really good at drawling and i want 2 be like u when i grow up :-)"  Natassia Flegal (hd fan)

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "You do have a very positive feel about everything you do. I do wish you continued success in all your work. All the best, SimonSimon James, Famous Children’s Book Illustrator

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "Yes!!!! Wow…Love it!!! ..thanks so much, I absolutely the character design you have done for us!!! xx” Lisa Dell, Cornish Firewood

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "Our brand wouldn't be the same without her on-going input. Just fab xx”
    - Justine Rogers, Dainty Dizzy

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • “Logos received with a BIG thanks, Basically I love them all” 
    Helen Chuah, Giggling Baby Products