Thanks for visiting my blog!

By heather at 1:00 am on Monday, December 31, 2007

cute gray kitten kitty card flower ladybug

Another blogging year is coming to an end and I just wanted to say a big thanks for continuing to visit my blog! I really enjoy what I do, and loved the interaction I’ve had with many of you since starting the blog… all your comments, questions and suggestions have been much appreciated! Have a great New Year and keep in touch!

(Kitten greeting card illustration by Heather Castles Hazy Jean)

Filed under: illustrations, greeting cards2 Comments »

Happy Holidays from Australia!

By heather at 1:00 am on Tuesday, December 25, 2007

australia christmas kangaroo joey

Wishing a big happy holidays to you all from down under in sunny Australia!

(Kangaroos Christmas Heather Castles, available royalty-free at

Filed under: illustrations1 Comment »

The Little Boy’s Smile | Step-by-Step Painting

By heather at 7:07 pm on Thursday, December 6, 2007

little boy smile children's book illustrations acrylic

I just finished the first illustration for Tom Krause’s story, “The Little Boy’s Smile.” I thought I’d share my work-in-progress for the acrylic painting and took scans every hour or two as I was painting… check them out below going backwards to the original sketch!

One super time-saving method I’ve developed is painting right on top of my sketches. I don’t paint over my original pencil sketches, as I like to keep those, and also the graphite would likely lift off and taint the paint. So what I do is :

  • Scan the original sketches
  • Tint the sketches to sepia in Photoshop using actions (so they show through as a warm tone under the paint)
  • Place them into the book’s InDesign layout with the text so that I can make sure the illustrations don’t interfere with the text, gutter, and that nothing is getting clipped off in the bleed
  • Print out the InDesign layout at full size (text & all, with cropmarks too!) on printer paper (80% Recycled was all I could find here in OZ!)
  • Trim the pages down
  • Glue them to the cold-press illustration board (I used an entire large Bostik Blustick ACMI AP Approved gluestick… and was sure to recycle the empty casing!), then use a wood-cut ink roller to smooth the pages down so there are no wrinkles
  • Once it has dried, I paint right on top of this paper! The lovely thing about acrylic is that it doesn’t eat away or dammage the surface of the paper, so you don’t need to coat the paper with a sealant first (as you would with oils.)

So, I save a day or two of transfering the sketches by hand to the illustration board, and also maintian the integrity of my original sketches. It also makes painting text a dream (such as on the sign), as you just paint over top of the text placed on your illustration. It gives the text a warmer feel than just placing it on top in the InDesign file later.
little boy smile children's book illustrations acrylic

little boy smile children's book illustrations acrylic

little boy smile children's book illustrations acrylic

little boy smile children's book illustrations acrylic

little boy smile children's book illustrations acrylic

Filed under: work in progress, childrens books, The Little Boy's Smile9 Comments »