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 »

The Little Boy’s Smile | Sketches

By heather at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

Well, I’ve been a bit negligent blogging the last few weeks as I’ve been working hard on the sketches for Tom Krause’s children’s book, “The Little Boy’s Smile.” It’s a fantastic story, about a little boy who moves to Frown Town where all everyone does is frown… and you guessed it, he just doesn’t fit in because he smiles all the time! Now that the sketches are approved, I’m setting up the final illustrations and working on the first colour proof. The finals will be in acrylic on illustration board, so bright, vibrant colours. So check back, I’ll be posting my work-in-progress as I’m building up the layers of my acrylic paintings.

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

little boy smile children's book story illustration sketch

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

Bookie And the Scoliosis Diagnosis | Sketches

By heather at 4:47 am on Wednesday, August 15, 2007

scoliosis children story illustration

Illustrations © Heather Castles, Story © Nina Saab

I’ve been having fun working with author Nina Saab on her first children’s book, “Bookie and the Scoliosis Diagnosis.” Scoliosis is when a person’s spine grows in a curvy ‘S’ shape rather than straight (you can learn more about Scoliosis on Wikipedia.) The story is a lot of fun, with great characters to illustrate. The book is going to be published in time for for the National Scoliosis Day in Ottawa, Canada this coming November 2007, so the deadline is tight, tight, tight! The sketches were approved just this week, and I’ll be starting the watercolour illustrations next week, so stay tuned! Here are a few sketches from the story…

scoliosis children story illustration

The book opens with Bookie’s ballet teacher phoning Bookie’s Mom to tell her she thinks Bookie may have scoliosis. I love the ballet classroom setting, especially for little kids, as I always imagine the cute chaos as all the little angels attempt to do these beautifully graceful poses, all the while simply looking like a bunch of little girls pretending to be princessess in their tutus.

scoliosis children story illustration

While Bookie’s mom is calling Dr. Healy (love her name,) Bookie and her brother listen in. I love it how kids sometimes have to peak up over tables and rails to see what’s going on.

scoliosis children story illustration

Throughout the story, you’ll notice Bookie’s little brother, who is probably like most little brothers and wants to be included in all the action… and he’s right in the action here, whether he’s wanted or not! I love his enthusiasm for what his sister’s going through… even if he’s a little annoying at times, rummaging through doctor’s drawers… but I think he’s cute even if a little too curious!

scoliosis children story illustration

This might be a bit oversimplistic… a big scary box for the X-Ray machine! I went and had an x-ray a few months back, and even though I’m an adult, I still found the unknown machine in front of me a little intimmidating, and couldn’t even remember what it looked like… just that it was big & scary! Which is why I didn’t try to make it exactly like a real X-ray machine… just big & mysterious and a little domineering for poor Bookie!

scoliosis children story illustration

I love the expressions kids get when something scary but fun is about to happen… like getting told you’re going to get hit with a snowball. You tightly close your eyes and bunch up your fists and wait excitedly for it to happen! That’s the feeling I wanted to capture when Bookie was having her first X-ray done.

scoliosis children story illustration

Heh, again Bookie’s little brother is interrupting Dr. Fixie Bones… gotta love him.

Okalie dokalie, will post some snaps of the watercolours once they’re all set up!

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Bookie and the Scoliosis Diagnosis4 Comments »

Sketch of Pears

By heather at 4:20 pm on Monday, May 28, 2007

pears sketch pair

© Heather Castles

Went to the market yesterday and bought some fruit… and I loved the curly tops on these pears! So I sketched them while watching a movie last night, then tinted them with colour in Photoshop this morning with a light layer of each green and yellow.

pears sketch pair

Filed under: sketches, illustrations2 Comments »

The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants | Sketches

By heather at 7:25 pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

stinky underpants sketch

Here are the final sketches for Elizabeth Austin’s children’s book, The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants. I’m pretty excited about starting the final illustrations on these, as the story is pretty fun, and Elizabeth was great to work with having a lot of cute suggestions for the illustrations along thee way as well. The final illustrations are going to be in oil over an acrylic underpainting on illustration board…should be fun! I’ll post again once I’ve got the underpainting done.

stinky underpants sketch

stinky underpants sketch

stinky underpants sketch (Read on …)

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, illustrations, childrens books, The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants4 Comments »

Little Land Adventures - Sketches

By heather at 5:12 pm on Tuesday, May 15, 2007

little bird illustration sketch

I’m working book with The James Family called ‘Little Land Adventures’ about several little animals and their adventures! The sketches are finished & approved for the first book, which stars four of the thirteen little characters, so I’m ready to start the final illustrations, whoooo!

little bird illustration sketch

This is going to be a little different, as the books will be printed in 2 formats… B&W and colour, both different sizes. So I’ll have to keep the contrast of the illustrations high so that they translate well both in colour and black & white.

little bird illustration sketch

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Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Little Land Adventures Leave A Comment »

Potty Training | Sketch

By heather at 12:35 am on Friday, April 13, 2007

stinky underpants bathroom

I’m having a lot of fun working on the sketches for Elizabeth Austin’s children’s book, The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants, a story about a little boy who, with the help of his big brother and the rest of his family, learns how to use the potty.

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants2 Comments »

Whimsical Garden Sketch

By heather at 8:34 pm on Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I was doodling a bit last night… have had a hankering to illustrate another colourful garden scene, and a fairy, and some kids… so here’s my plan! I’m hoping to use this for a self-promotion piece, and will have time to paint it early next week.

April 18, 2007 – Check out the finished illustration here!

Filed under: sketches2 Comments »

Goodbye, Baby Max | Sketches

By heather at 7:31 am on Tuesday, December 5, 2006

These are the final sketches for “Good-bye, Baby Max”, written by Diane Cantrell, for you to have a peak at as reference when seeing my splotchy first coats of paint on the finals! The swatches in the corner are colours I am thinking of use to paint that particular spread. I am working on the text layout for this book as well, thus the type application on these sketches… I found working with the type & illustrations at once to be very helpful in creating more dynamic illustrations. I’m quite excited about starting the illustrations for this project.

(Read on …)

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Good-bye Baby Max Leave A Comment »

Butterfly sketch

By heather at 7:41 pm on Monday, October 16, 2006

© Heather Castles

An art nouveau inspired butterfly. Signed prints are available at my Etsy.com shop!

Filed under: sketches49 Comments »
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