Tag Archives: children’s books

Children’s Book Illustration Master Class

I had an email from Galya, an art student from Wales, wanting to ask me questions for her dissertation. I made a video for her, which I thought might be interesting for others to watch too.

Here are her questions:

1. Do you think that the different areas of illustration(picturebooks, editorial, etc.) differ a lot in terms of the methods you use to visually communicate the idea or message that you want to convey and how?

2. Focusing specifically on your children’s books illustration, do you have to adapt your methods of illustration individually for each book? If so, in what way?

3. How do you select the colours that you use and is there a specific meaning or message in the colours you choose?

If this suggests questions you would like me to talk about on a video, please feel free to ask.

Here are the links to other videos mentioned in the video:

How to draw in Adobe Flash/Animator

Greyscale painting

Euclid Videos

The Ginger Ninja – The Dance of the Apple Dumplings – Full Read Aloud Story

 

I hope you enjoyed the first two stores in the Ginger Ninja series? (See me read The Ginger Ninja here  – and the Return of Tiddles here )

In book Three – The Dance of the Apple Dumplings –
There’s a weird new teacher at school with some wild, new ideas. Neither Ginger or Tiddles want to join in – Could this bring the two enemies together?

I hope these stories will inspire you to get a copy from the library or from the links below, to be able to read along and then feel confident to read alone. Following along with a story is a brilliant way to build confidence to read a whole book on your own.

Get a signed copy with free poster with this link.

Are children’s book authors and illustrators adults too?

I went to London on Thursday and had some time to spend in the mediaeval galleries at the V&A  (Victoria and Albert Museum in London)  I did some sketching and shared the work on YouTube.

This morning I woke to an interesting comment:
I thought about it over breakfast and ended up with a much longer reply than usual, so I thought I’d turn it into a blog post. What do you think? This is what I wrote in reply:

You might think, but a sketchbook is made for only one market and that is the artist themselves. If they choose to share the contents that’s another thing. Children’s books are inspired by everything – adult or children’s. A children’s book author/illustrator is an adult and, as such, interested in adult things. An illustrator in particular needs to be interested and try to understand pretty much everything they ever come across. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a catholic school, but you are often greeted with similar images of Jesus, wounded, dead or dying all over the place, even in classrooms, so young children can absorb the horror all day long.

This is a drawing of a statue that used to be on display in a church, and which is now openly on display in a museum, where children not only go but are welcomed. Such images, and far worse, are on display in churches all over the world and, once you get your eye in, you will find all sorts of horrors casually displayed in all sorts of religious establishments. My sketching is about exploring that idea.

This sketch is particularly about the casual nature of the horror. In the Bible, the scene is about doubt, the disciples having to see the wound to be convinced it was really him. While drawing this and the other things in the exhibition, I was struck by the idea of how each age and culture adapts bible stories, recreating scenes with their own dress codes, ethnicities, hopes, fears and prejudices. This sketch brings that though consciously up to date with the comment, “Hey guys, check this out.” And the Monty Python cherubs in the back reflect music video/Giorgio Armani style.

My job as a children’s writer is to take those ideas and make them accessible to children, gently preparing them for the realities of adult life. My job as a illustrator means I need to understand how the world is put together to show, explain and yes, to entertain too. But that involves going out into the real world, and continually drawing to learn, understand and improve my skills. It is a never ending job.

As Octopusbeak says, This channel has become for an older audience. Have a look at DrawStuffRealEasy for everyday drawing with a target audience of children – which is also watched by a large audience of older beginner drawers who are picking up from where they left off at the age of about 11!

All the best