Just One More Book | Reptilian Rivalry

By heather at 1:34 pm on Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aw, this really made my day… our book “Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise” just had a lovely review over at the Just One More Book podcast! I didn’t even realize my colleague, author Lisa M. Chalifoux, had sent a copy of our book to Mark & Andrea! Funny thing is, I’m still waiting to flip through a hard copy of the book myself… my copies arrive from Canada with my folks when they visit me in Australia for the birth of my first baby in 3 weeks. Anyway, enough rambling, you can click here to read the comments & listen to the podcast at Just One More Book!

Filed under: childrens books, reviews2 Comments »

The Little Boy’s Smile | One last sneak peak

By heather at 11:10 pm on Tuesday, January 29, 2008

little boy's smile childrens book illustrations acrylic

Ok, just one more peak, but that’s the last one as I need to knuckle down and finish the last five illustrations this week! The main things I’ve been working on are the greenery, sidewalks, tents, and backgrounds… putting off the hard parts for last, typical me :)

little boy's smile childrens book illustrations acrylic

little boy's smile childrens book illustrations acrylic

I tried a new trick too… I’ve seen quite a few digital illustrations which which use silhouettes of people, rather than illustrating every detail of the person, clothing, etc. So I thought I’d give it a go, and added in some silhouettes of people in the far background to add more depth & a sense that there are a lot of people in the illustration. Am pleased with the effect, as it was a simple way of adding some interest behind the action in the foreground, without taking the time it would had I gone in with my 0-Paintbrush and tried to illustrate those tiny faces & bodies! I think I’ll use this silhouette technique more often.

Filed under: work in progress, childrens books, The Little Boy's Smile1 Comment »

Tartan Meets the Queen | Sketches

By heather at 3:13 am on Friday, January 25, 2008

tartan queen elizabeth children's book illustration pencil sketch

My sketches have just been approved for “Tartan Meets the Queen,” by Charline Crous & Lauren Everton… can’t wait to start the finals! Here is a sneak peak at a few of the spreads from the story. I plan to illustrate these with regular old graphite pencil on paper first… then I’ll scan, and colour the illustrations digitally with Photoshop (check out my easy tutorial here.)

tartan queen elizabeth children's book illustration pencil sketch

tartan queen elizabeth children's book illustration pencil sketch

tartan queen elizabeth children's book illustration pencil sketch

To see other posts on Tartan Meets the Queen, check out :

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Tartan Meets the Queen1 Comment »

The Little Boy’s Smile | Another Sneak Peak

By heather at 1:01 am on Friday, January 18, 2008

The illustrations for Tom Krause’s “The Little Boy’s Smile” are ticking along well, so thought I’d share a sneak snapshot of the collection of illustrations for the book… only the top left 4 are completed, and the remaining six are well underway!  I’ve been working on completing these acrylic illustrations one at a time, up until yesterday when I was feeling “yellow” so painted all the soft yelow skies at once… and this morning when I was feeling “blue” and painted all the blue skies! I think this afternoon is starting to feel a little “green.” This book is a lot of fun to illustrate, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself painting, eating popsicles, listening to Just One More Book, and taking an afternoon nap! I’ll post again once I’ve scanned some of the finished illustrations…

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations, childrens books, The Little Boy's Smile2 Comments »

2007 Illustrations | Year in Review

By heather at 7:12 pm on Friday, January 11, 2008

I’ve been catching up on archiving my projects from the past year, and had fun looking over the 157 illustrations I completed in 2007 (clicking on the image above will bring up a bigger picture!)

Was a busy year for me, with illustrating 6 children’s books (Good-bye Baby Max, My Best Worst Sleepover Party Ever, Little Land Adventures, Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise, Bookie and the Scoliosis Diagnosis, and The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants); 10 signs/banners for Parks Canada; a brochure for the Library of Parliament of Canada; a chip bag illustration; a couple Threadless t-shirt contest entries (Kantina and Twisted Sister); 4 seashell mosaics; 10 greeting card illustrations; and several personal pieces.

I’ve focused on improving my illustration skills by experimenting with painting in acrylics, and being more attentive to the human form in my children’s books in particular (the fruit of which you’ll see in my current projects…) But most significant for me this year has been expecting our first baby, and discovering all the challenges of illustrating while pregnant :)

Filed under: work in progress, inspiration, illustrations, business of illustration1 Comment »

Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise | Is Available Online!

By heather at 2:13 pm on Thursday, January 10, 2008

red-eared sliders turtles childrens book illustration pencil

Spotty and Eddie Learn to Compromise,” written by Lisa Chalifoux and illustrated by yours truly, is now available online! You can buy a copy at Trafford for US$7.82! To see more illustrations from this story, click here!

“Children and adults alike will enjoy this beautifully illustrated story of two turtle brothers who learn the value of making a compromise.” –Trafford.com

Filed under: childrens books Leave A Comment »

RoadkillToys.com | Toys as dark as the inside of a heifer

By heather at 1:00 am on Wednesday, January 9, 2008

“We make toys with a twist. Toys as dark as the inside of a heifer. And they all have one thing in common. They’ve been run over. We’re calling it Squash-Plush. – Roadkilltoys.com”

A little dark, a little gross, but very funny… RoadkillToys.com had the brilliant idea of creating cute, cuddly roadkill toys! I can so see our bub chewing on the soft squishy intestines of Twitch the Racoon. Can’t wait to see how Splodge the Hedgehog and Grind the Rabbit turn out!

(pssst, I found Twitch the Racoon featured on BrandflakesforBreakfast.com, they have some pretty hilarious & geeky gifts)

Filed under: inspiration Leave A Comment »

IllustrationCastle.com Site Updated!

By heather at 1:37 am on Tuesday, January 8, 2008

illustrations heather castles illustration portfolio artist

Yippee, my official portfolio website, IllustrationCastle.com, has just been updated with new images in the stock & portfolio sections! My brother, Luke MacKay, came up with the original design & interface for me, I think he did a great job!

Filed under: illustrations, business of illustration3 Comments »

Tartan Meets the Queen | Concept Boards

By heather at 1:00 am on Monday, January 7, 2008

queen england buckingham children's book illustrations sketches

Developing concepts and thumbnailing is a step that I don’t often share with my authors, but is always the first thing I do before sketching in detail the layout of a children’s book. The first thing I do is break up the manuscript into chunks that I think would be fun to illustrate… basically dividing up the manuscript into however many pages the book will be. Then I brainstorm ideas and write notes for each spread, which gets out the cobwebs before starting to sketch! Then I sketch thumbnails (which are very small rough drawings) of each spread. By thumbnailing, I can work out where I want the text to go, what reference I’ll need to gather for the subject matter, and whether the compositions are working well. For “Tartan Meets the Queen,” by Charline Crous & Lauren Everton, I thought it might be interesting to share this earlier step with both authors to involve them earlier on in the creative process. You can see here some of my notes, thumbnails, and gathered reference materials for the story which I sent to the authors in PDF format.

queen england buckingham children's book illustrations sketches

queen england buckingham children's book illustrations sketches

queen england buckingham children's book illustrations sketches

queen england buckingham children's book illustrations sketches

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Tartan Meets the Queen5 Comments »

Directory of Illustration 24

By heather at 3:53 pm on Friday, January 4, 2008

This year I decided to place an ad in the Directory of Illustration… and the massive 600-page hardcover book arrived just a couple weeks ago! I took a flip through and there is some fabulous work in there… I’m feeling very inspired!

Since this is the first year I’ve listed in the DOI and the book has just launched, I can’t offer much feedback yet on how successful it is as a self-promotional piece for children’s book illustrators… I continue to find personable, old-school guerilla marketing techniques to be the best method of meeting new clients. So listing in a directory is a whole new kettle of fish for me! But thus far I’ve been impressed with the DOI website, which allows you to post your blog feed via RSS, your portfolio, and even feature your current projects.

If you want to take peak, you can Browse the Book here. My little ad wound up on page 362/600!

Filed under: inspiration, business of illustration6 Comments »
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