Spotty & Eddie Books Arrived!

By heather at 1:01 pm on Sunday, April 25, 2010

spottybook.jpg

It’s been a while since I’ve posted as I’ve been on holidays with my family for a few weeks in Canada. While away was delighted to have my copies of Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ arrive! Trafford did a wonderful job, the sequel looks even better than the original Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise, in that the new printing has a lovely laminated cover and brighter colours. Hera gives it two thumbs up, and now requests to read “Spotty Eddie” frequently… she especially likes looking for “Mama’s shoes” and searching for the little turtles on each page.

Filed under: childrens books, Spotty and Eddie1 Comment »

Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ | Off to the printer!

By heather at 1:00 am on Friday, January 15, 2010

spotty and eddie visit percÚ illustrations heather castles

Well, Spotty & Eddie have headed out for another adventure… off to Trafford to be published & printed! Was very satisfying finishing up the illustrations and layout right before the holidays, and then after having the author, friends & family put a fresh set of eyes on the book, made some minor improvements to make the book “just right” before sending it off.

I had a lot of fun working on this story… aside from drawing turtles which is so much fun, I like adding little personal touches like using my red sneakers and Hera’s top & necklace for inspiration for Trixie’s outfit. Trixie herself is inspired by a photograph of the author’s mum. I grew up watching the Ninja Turtles, so personalized the cab driver’s license plate to “TRTL PWR” for those other children of the 80’s who may read this book to children of their own.
Looking forward to seeing Spotty & Eddie’s second adventure printed and in my hands finished Here is a sneak peek at a few of the final spreads from the book (clicking on them makes them larger.)

spotty and eddie visit perce illustrations heather castles

spotty and eddie visit perce illustrations heather castles

spotty and eddie visit perce illustrations heather castles

spotty and eddie visit perce illustrations heather castles

spotty and eddie visit perce illustrations heather castles

Filed under: illustrations, childrens books, Spotty and Eddie5 Comments »

2009 Illustrations | Year In Review

By heather at 10:14 pm on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

heather castles 2009 illustrations

As another year fast approaches its end, looking back I realize how busy a year 2009 has been! I kept my paintbrush and pencil busy with completing just under 100 illustrations… wowsers, that’s a new illustration every three days! The illustrations include three children’s books (Celebrate! by Rubicon Publishing, Riley’s Lost Tooth by Diane Cantrell, and Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ by Lisa M. Chalifoux), a collection of green themed illustrations for ImageZoo, and several more little illustrations for my illustrated diary of Hera’s outfits. Looking forward to 2010!

Filed under: illustrations, childrens books, business of illustration, Spotty and Eddie, Riley's Lost Tooth1 Comment »

Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ | Before & After Colour

By heather at 6:03 am on Friday, December 18, 2009

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

Am about halfway through digitally colouring my pencil illustrations for Spotty & Eddie’s latest adventure by Lisa M. Chalifoux… wanted to share a couple before and afters of my illustrations (clicking on them will bring up a larger image). The colouring has been going very quickly thanks to my new Wacom tablet… I bought my first one this summer and taught myself how to use it, so this is the first big project I’ve used it on. And I LOVE it. Also, here is a snapshot of how the layout is turning out in the InDesign file… I find it helps dropping in the colour illustrations into the layout as I go so that I can make sure the colours balance nicely.

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, illustrations, childrens books, business of illustration, Spotty and Eddie3 Comments »

Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ | How to digitally colour a pencil drawing

By heather at 6:07 pm on Friday, November 27, 2009

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book photoshop tutorial

I’ve done this tutorial before, but wanted to show in a little more detail how easy it is to tint with colour a graphite pencil drawing in Photoshop. This example is from the children’s book I’m currently working on, Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ. (First off though I’ll apologize for my fluctuating spelling of the word “Colour.” Being Canadian that’s how we spell it… but Photoshop uses American spelling, but I just can’t help my English grammar sometimes!)

1) Scan the pencil drawing at 300dpi 100%. Then open in Photoshop, and resave as a PSD file.

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book photoshop tutorial

2) In this sketch I want a pure white background. Instead of erasing the background, I used the magic wand to select the background, feathered the edges, and then on a new layer filled the selection with white. This leaves me the option to later change the white to a coloured background. (Read on …)

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations, childrens books, tutorials, Spotty and Eddie1 Comment »

Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ | Finals underway!

By heather at 8:30 pm on Thursday, October 29, 2009

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec baby turtle turtles sketch illustration children's book

Thought it would be fun to share a few of the finished pencil illustrations for Spotty & Eddie’s latest adventure. I’ve really enjoyed taking my time with these illustrations… the remaining illustrations will be completed by December 2009. Once I’m finished drawing all the illustrations I will go in and tint them with colour digitally in Photoshop. I’ll show a step-by-step example of Spotty & Eddie when I’m at that stage… but if you’re curious as to how to colour pencil illustrations in Photoshop, you can check out my tutorial.
spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec baby turtle turtles sketch illustration children's book

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec baby turtle turtles sketch illustration children's book

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations, childrens books, Spotty and Eddie Leave A Comment »

Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ | Rough Sketches

By heather at 9:56 pm on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's bookI’m delighted to be working with Lisa Chalifoux on the sequel to Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise… in this adventure, Spotty & Eddie travel with their owner to visit PercÚ Rock in Quebec. Having never visited PercÚ myself and now living in Australia, I am relying heavily on photographic reference for the surrounding areas. While inspired by Bill Guffy’s use of Googlemap’s Streetview, unfortunately I can’t use it to get a feel for the town as Google has yet to “do” Canada yet. Sigh. Anyway, here are a few snapshots of the rough sketches generated from these thumbnails and ideas. By the end of this week I will have finished the revisions Lisa has requested on the rough sketches. The final illustrations are to be done in plain old graphite pencil with digital colour applied afterwards in Photoshop… stay tuned!

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percÚ rock quebec sketches children's book

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Spotty and Eddie2 Comments »

Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ | Children’s book sketch thumbnails

By heather at 8:09 am on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

spotty and eddie visit perce thumbnail sketches notes

For those who are curious about the process of starting illustrations for a children’s book, thought I’d post a scan of the first pencil-to-paper (click image to see full size) on my latest project (Spotty & Eddie Visit PercÚ.) The first thing I do is print off the manuscript and mark with a pencil where I think the pages should be split up. Then I sketch thumbnails of the entire layout (cover to cover,) and start making simple notes on what should go on each page… this allows me to see if the story will fit the page count, and what ideas I need to combine into the same spread.

spotty and eddie visit perce thumbnail sketches notes

After thumbnailing, I go back to my InDesign layout, drop the manuscript in there with gray FPO (for placement only) image boxes where the illustrations will go, and write in little notes of what is to go on each page… I save this out as a PDF and send it to my authors/publishers for their feedback before I delve into proper sketches.

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations, childrens books, Spotty and Eddie2 Comments »

Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise | Book Bites for Kids interview

By heather at 3:54 pm on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Author Lisa Chalifoux just took part in an interview over at Blog Talk Radio, and shares a little about her experience working with me on our book “Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise.” Lisa also chats a bit about her experience with self-publishing her first book.
You can listen to the interview here!

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Spotty and Eddie Leave A Comment »