Category Archives: Reading and Literacy

How to Draw Fantasy Landscape illustrations for Children’s Books – workbook sketches

By now you will know that I’m creating a space adventure trilogy for 8-12 year olds.

The action takes place at the International Space School, which I have set in a green and mountainous area of Wales – one of the countries that makes up the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

I’ll need an illustration of the school for the book but I also need it for myself to really get a feel for the place. It is a fantasy landscape, but based on experience – places I’ve been and lived in.

They say that abstract, concept art is finished when it most closely resembles the idea the artist first had. So it is with illustrating a scene from a story you have written yourself.

Towards the end of the painting, I realised I’d become a bit obsessed with certain aspects of the drawing and had not really got the whole thing to come together. I made the smaller buildings quite eco – with sedum/turf roofs, but that makes it look too 20th century.

I think it needs to be more contemporary, so I need to go back and do more research. You don’t know these things unless you do them! I’ll come back with another version when I’ve done it and am happy.

This is probably the biggest illustration in the book and needs to be got right. I think it needs to go twice as wide – a big wide landscape – so it fits across the bottom of a page – maybe even across the preliminary pages – in fact hold that thought!

My New Book Project – Generation Moon

Artemis 1 was due to launch as I am writing this, having been delayed many times. It is now due to go in two days time – Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Returning to the moon has brought back memories of the excitement I felt as a kid, as The Apollo missions headed out towards the Moon. Apollo 8 was my most favourite mission – It was so bold, so new, so intrepid and all wrapped up with the magic of Christmas.

My generation of Moonies were really let down with the ending of Apollo. But soon, it seems, there really will be humans established on the moon – the future we imagined was ours when we were kids.

So I am now writing a middle-grade, adventure trilogy called GENERATION MOON to inspire the new generation of kids who, one day – quite soon, will populate the Moon and will maybe go even further, to Mars and beyond.

I feel there is a need to get on with this project – time is of the essence and regular publishing schedules are too slow. So, I will be-self publishing over the next year to 18 months, launching the project as limited signed editions on Kickstarter soon.

Sign up to my YouTube Channel when I will be regularly posting news, hints and tips about the whole self-publishing process, writing – editing – illustrating – launching – publishing and, most importantly – marketing.

As well as inspiring a new generation of moonies and astronauts, I hope to help other along with their self-publishing projects.

Stay tuned!

Political Correctness or Wokeness in Children’s Books?

Times and attitudes change.I was brought up a child of empire and was imbued with attitudes and beliefs by parents, family, school, society and friends.

We have come a long way in a very short time. I found theses two little dummy books that I made to experiment with a character that I called clumsy clot – a commonly used epithet when I was growing up.

Clumsy Clot was a name I used and never thought about until my editor explained why publishers would not be likely to leap at the chance of using the character. Was it censorship, my first brush with political correctness or an awakening to a more empathic view of the use of language?