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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, quirky and like to have a something a little unusual about the drawings, as well as my own quirks. 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 the best quality watercolour paper or simply on a napkin! 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 finally on paper I use the “Lightbox” process, building up images layer by layer, thus making the most simple image become complex and detailed.

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 to 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.

childrens-illustrator

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?

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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 ripped up, started again, ripped up and 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.

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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 like 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.

I find that keeping things simple is the key to a successful working relationship, and I have set my process out below. 

My Process

  1. Let’s Talk. Firstly, it all starts off with a chat about your story. Creating your book, or books, is such a fun adventure, so it’s important that I have a good understanding of the story, its characters, its focus; anything that you think is important to the story. Whilst this can be done via emails, I would much prefer a chat over the phone to get a better feel of the project. 
  2. Deposit. Once the project has been agreed between us. I will send you a contract detailing all aspects of the project. A week prior to the start date the  50% deposit will then be due, preferably via a BACS bank transfer (as I live in he middle of the moors!!!)  I will begin work once payment has been received.
  3. Let’s Get Started. Before I begin work I will need to be provided with ALL the details regarding your book. This includes a copy of your proof-read typed story, a descriptive paragraph for the back cover and any dedications for the book (if you wish to have one). Also please inform me of any ideas for how you want your characters to look, if you have any, and the style you would like, along with any other ideas. I also need to know if I have any illustrative restraints, or anything you definitely don’t want. This will save us a lot of time in the editing stage! 
  4. Storyboard/Sketch Building. This is the stage where you can check the sketches/rough book layout and make any suggestions. We will discuss colours, style and other important decisions so that it’s right for you. It’s important to ensure the sketches are correct at this point, as illustration changes are unable to be made after this stage free of charge. I’m afraid that once they are painted, any changes will require a re-paint. Make sure you’re honest with me and let me know in clear terms what you want to change, if anything, about the sketches.
  5. Illustration Development. This is the stage that can take the longest! This is when I get to colour everything in. Bear in mind that this will take approx. 3-4 weeks of work, dependent on the complexity of the illustrations. I will advise if it will take longer than this.
  6. Book Generation. The book template generation stage involves importing the text and images, editing, etc, and this will take approx. 1-2 weeks.
  7. Payment/Final Files. Once I have completed the illustrations and book itself, and before the release of months of work, the final payment of the remaining 50% will be due. Upon receipt of that payment I will send you the complete, finished proof. Payment is to be received first as the files I send you will be the completed book ready for final editing. Once this final payment is received the copyright to the book is yours!
  8. Editing. Once you have seen the book and have it all proofed, I then work with you to edit out any little errors; typos/imperfections etc. These edits are crucial to the finishing of the book and I always advise you to A// take your time and B//get other eyes to proof your book as well. (3 rounds of edits are included in the package pricing, any further edits or alterations will be chargeable) 
  9. And to Finish. After all the editing has been completed, I will provide you with all the final files. At this stage you will have everything you need; illustrations as separate files, the book PDF for print and cover images. If  you need any assistance dealing with the printer I’m happy to offer my advice and I can liaise with a printer on your behalf if you wish. You can find some information about this below. 

If you are happy to go ahead please bear in mind that the whole process can take just over 3 months, depending on the size of the book(s).

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