Purple Ribbons | working with pencil

By heather at 11:29 pm on Sunday, November 19, 2006

Having five layers of watercolour dried, I’ve gone over with some gray pencil to start shading & bringing out the form of the bunnies themselves. This helps me see where I need to bring in more darks & lights with the watercolour, and where the colour is just right. (Read on …)

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Research before you create

By heather at 6:17 pm on Friday, November 17, 2006

“…One of the biggest challenges that professional designers face: clients who visibly don’t understand all the steps that are involved in coming up with great work. They think that you can just throw things together after a couple of hours (sometimes even a few minutes) of thought, and it will somehow magically be brilliant, because they think that’s what it means to be good at what you do.” Dani Nordin, Zen Kitchen

The Misconception : just because you are creative you can come up with a great idea.

The Truth : if you research & understand your client’s business and target audience, because you are creative you can come up with a great idea that will meet your clients needs.

What should you research before beginning a creative project? Here are some tips :

  • who is your client and what do they do?
  • what does your client want?
  • why is your client commissioning your design services?
  • what is your client hoping to accomplish with this design?
  • who is the target audience?
  • what are other products the target audience responds to?
  • who are their competitors?
  • how are your client’s competitors handling similar products?
  • research online forums, visit shops, watch tv shows that relate to your target audience to understand what appeals to them
  • research & sourcing imagery
  • brainstorm concepts
  • …then, get creative!

The Result : you are more likely to give your client what they hoped for…a creative product that meets their needs.

“This is the thing: any significant creative venture…requires appropriate time spent doing research - learning about the company or product you’re promoting, figuring out who their best customers are and brainstorming the best tactics for reaching them. Skip out on that, and you end up guessing your way through the entire project - sometimes you get lucky and you hit on something really great, but more often your designs end up falling flat, and do nothing for your client. And when that happens, the chance of that client coming back to you is significantly less than if you take the time to research the company and its customers, and use that information to come up with a design that speaks to them.” Dani Nordin, Zen Kitchen

Filed under: business of illustration1 Comment »

Giant Sushi Pillows

By heather at 2:59 am on Friday, November 17, 2006

I stumbled across these giant sushi pillows today….mmmmmm….suuuuushi… Each pillow is handmade by Cindy & Mel at The Original Sushi Pillow

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Charmaine Ceramics | Feeling Curly

By heather at 9:42 pm on Thursday, November 16, 2006

I’m not a big art collector but am a sucker for pottery. These little guys (”Feeling Curly 1″ and Feeling Curly 2″) were at a charity auction and I thought they were wonderful in a prickly hedgehog/echidna crossed with an anteater sort of way! Almost a bit Dr. Seus-ishThey were created by Charmaine Suares Howard, who was inspired by cacti & sea urchins.

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Purple Ribbons | fifth watercolour wash

By heather at 9:21 pm on Thursday, November 16, 2006

I think I’m ready to get onto mixing up the media a bit with using some pencil in there now to pull out the details.

Time : 2 hrs

(Read on …)

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falling in love with heels

By heather at 9:42 pm on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I blame Ayelet for this post, as I was inspired after seeing her Croc Boots and falling in love with shoes all over again… I’ve recently discovered the world of “heels.” These are my feet’s new best friends… my cheetah heels & my cabaret-esque heels. I have happy feet…very, very happy feet.

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Portfolio | “9-1-1 Quack!” children’s book illustrations

By heather at 7:45 am on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

9-1-1 Quack!

Heather Castles / Scholastic Education Canada

“9-1-1 Quack!”
Illustrated by Heather Castles
Written by Vi Hughes
Published by Scholastic Education Canada (Toronto, Ontario)
ISBN 0779151771
Literacy Place for the Early Years - K
(Big Book, Small Book, CD)
Published Date : December 2004 - March 2005

Media Used To Create :
Colored Pencil, Pencil, Watercolor
Collaborators : N. Upfield

Description of the process :
This is the second children’s book I illustrated…and the process was much different, as with an educational publisher there are more restrictions on what you can / can’t do for children’s illustrations. For instance the second last page of the story I had a police officer in the background enjoying a donut & coffee on a park bench… and though the idea was found to be endearing by some, it was swapped to having the officer drinking bottled water to avoid making stereotypical impressions on the kindergarten aged kiddies. This story was a delight to illustrate, and I was very happy with the end product.

Story Synopsis :
Based on a true story, baby ducklings fall through a drain grate and are rescued by local policemen.

“9-1-1 Quack!” is available through Scholastic Education Canada.

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Portfolio | Hazy Jean greeting card illustrations 2006

By heather at 3:14 am on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hazy Jean

Illustrated by Heather Castles
Art Direction by Heather Jean
Published by Hazy Jean (Toronto, Ontario)
Published Date : 2006
Media Used To Create : Colored Pencil & Watercolor

Description of the process :
I was provided subject matter that fit within the existing card lines, and provided a sketch for Hazy to review and provide feedback on. Once a sketch was approved, I illustrated, scanned, and colour corrected each greeting card design before zipping & sending via FTP the print-ready illustration files (TIFs).

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Purple Ribbons | fourth watercolour wash

By heather at 10:00 pm on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Painting, painting, painting, doo-dee-doo, painting, painting, painting…

Time : 1.5 hrs

(Read on …)

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Portfolio | “Bit by Bit” children’s book illustrations

By heather at 7:44 am on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Latest News 3/20/2007 : ‘Bit by Bit’ is listed as one of ResourceLinks Best Picturebooks of 2006!

Heather Castles / Annick Press

“Bit by Bit” Search Inside! (Read on …)

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