Little Land Adventures | Now available as four books

By heather at 8:11 pm on Wednesday, August 4, 2010

little bird pencil illustration childrens book

I was pleased to discover that the first four stories of Little Land Adventures, which I illustrated a few years ago, has now been divided into four separate books. Little Bird, Little Pig, Little Iguana, and Little Raccoon are now available on for $9.99 each. (Have a sneak peak at the illustrations inside.)

little pig pencil illustration childrens book little bird pencil illustration childrens book little bird pencil illustration childrens book

Filed under: illustrations, childrens books, Little Land Adventures2 Comments »

FAQ | How to show foil and emboss on greeting card mockups

By heather at 9:57 pm on Thursday, July 8, 2010

Further to the question of how to show glitter on greeting card mockups, here is a real example of one of my greeting cards that has a pearly foil pattern in the background, on the text, and embossed flowers. When I created this card, I had four printouts from the layers in my Adobe Illustrator file…

1) The Print Only Layer shows what will be printed in ink on the card. (Click to see full-sized images)
greeting card mockup example

2) The Foil Layer shows where glitter or foil stamping will be used. Note that when you go to send the design to a printer, if there is more than one colour of foil used, you will need to make separate layers in your files for each colour.
greeting card mockup example

3) The Emboss / Cup die Layer shows the outlines of what shape needs to be created with the emboss.

greeting card mockup example

4) The Mockup shows where the foil and emboss layers are meant to line up with the printed image below.

greeting card mockup example

If you are sending a card design to a greeting card publisher and wish to show foil, glitter, or embossing, the simplest way to do it is to show it in black printouts separately from the design itself. You can find more of my greeting card tips here.

Filed under: illustrations, greeting cards, tutorials, FAQS2 Comments »

Mumbai Waterfront Property | Part 3

By heather at 3:23 am on Tuesday, June 8, 2010

heather castles mumbai painting

hera castles painting

I’ve had a busy couple months (work & travel), sorry no time for blogging! Here’s a peek at the progress on my Mumbai Waterfront painting… spent less than an hour on it, mainly added in grays and neutrals while supervising my toddler! It’s fun painting alongside Hera, who this time requested I paint her dragons to paint-in… and occasionally added a blob of paint to my canvas.

heather castles acrylic painting indiaheather castles acrylic painting india

P.S. I’ll post soon some packaging I recently illustrated for a boutique cheese brand in the States, am very pleased with them, but want to wait till the product is launched before showing them here :)

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Spotty & Eddie Books Arrived!

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


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 Percé 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 »

Riley’s Lost Tooth | Book Launch Party in San Antonio!

By heather at 1:06 am on Monday, March 22, 2010

heather castles riley's lost tooth illustrations

Diane Cantrell will be hosting a book launch for our latest children’s book, Riley’s Lost Tooth. If you are in the San Antonio area this weekend, here are the details if you want to meet the author and pick up a signed copy of Riley’s Tooth.

heather castles riley's lost tooth illustrationsWhen : March 27th 11:00 A.M.- 3:00 P.M.

Where : The Friendly Spot Ice House
943 S. Alamo St. San Antonio, TX 78205
Ph. 210-224-2337
King William Area San Antonio, TX

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Riley’s Lost Tooth | Review by Swamy

By heather at 1:41 am on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

riley's lost tooth children's book coverDiane passed along to me the first review of our book, Riley’s Lost Tooth, over at Swamy Reviews. Here’s an excerpt from the review :

“The book is colorfully illustrated and the story is simple but delightful. Riley, a small girl of about 5 years loses her first tooth. When she shares that news with her grandma, the pups in the house get worried and start searching for the lost tooth. A tooth fairy appears and assures them that it is a natural process and Riley will in fact get a regular, permanent tooth in its place.

….The book is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. The book will definitely appeal to all children (including children at heart like this reviewer) and their parents / grandparents / elder siblings and other care givers. Strongly recommended as an educational gift.”

Riley’s Lost Tooth is due to be launched in just a couple weeks!

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Mumbai Waterfront Property | Part 2

By heather at 1:15 am on Friday, March 5, 2010

heather castles acrylic painting india mumbai waterfront

Here’s a recent look at my painting of a filthy section of waterfront across from the ritziest shopping district in Mumbai. I’ve added mainly neutrals and some lights… not the brightest whites yet, I want to build up the texture and colours first. You can see how it looked before this step here.

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations2 Comments »

Riley’s Lost Tooth | The books arrived!

By heather at 1:21 am on Monday, March 1, 2010

heather castles riley's lost tooth illustrations

riley's lost tooth children's book cover Eeeeee! So excited, my copies of Riley’s Lost Tooth (Written by Diane Cantrell, Illustrated by moi) arrived in the post! Hera was right into them, opening up each one up, flipping through the pages, then declaring “The End.” I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out, Brown Books did a great job. Riley’s Lost Tooth now available online at Book launch party in San Antonio is planned for March 27th… I’ll post details later!

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Mumbai Waterfront Property | Part 1

By heather at 1:57 am on Friday, February 26, 2010

heather castles acrylic painting india mumbai waterfront

I’ve just started on a new painting for our living room from a photo we took in Mumbai, India three years ago (below.) I’m working with acrylic as they are safer to work with around my toddler than oils. And we can share so setup isn’t a big deal – a squirt of paint for Hera, and a squirt of paint for Mommy! The only challenge is keeping Hera from helping me paint my painting, hee hee. The lovely thing about working in acrylic is it dries so quickly, so I’m able to hang it right back up on the wall and be able to consider my next “moves” between paint sittings.

heather castles photo india mumbai waterfront slum

hera castles toddler painting

As you can see, after about 40 minutes Hera was tuckered out, so was a very short & sweet painting time!

Tip : Something I learned from Kiff Holland while in college, painting your canvas a bold colour to prime it gives you a fun surface to work on. As you paint over top, leave little flecks of the original bright colour peeking through here and there to give some zing to your painting!

heather castles acrylic painting india mumbai waterfront

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations2 Comments »

Tutorial | How to colour an ink drawing in Photoshop

By heather at 1:32 am on Monday, February 15, 2010

heather castles hera baby clothes illustration red polka dot dress

I just finished this illustration for my diary of Hera’s stuff, and thought I’d share the simple technique I use for colouring pen illustrations in Photoshop. Clicking on the images below will bring up a close-up image.
heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 1 | Open the scan of your drawing in Photoshop, and create two new layers below it. One will be your background colour (I’ve used white here), and the other will be for painting in the colours of your drawing.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 2 | Adjust the brightness and contrast until the paper is as white as possible.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 3 | Select the background of the sketch with the magic wand tool, and delete it. Make sure all little bits of paper speckle are removed so the colour comes out nice and clean.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 4 | Set the drawing layer to Multiply. This will allow the colours below to show through your drawing, and make the pen work come out nice and dark as it multiplies over the colours below.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 5 | Use the magic wand tool to select the background of the sketch. Then invert the selection so that you have only the drawing selected. Feather the edges of the selection (Menu Bar > Select > Feather.) Click on the blank layer below the sketch (multiply) layer and fill the entire sketch with a predominant colour.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 6 | From here in, apply colour to this colouring layer whichever way you feel comfortable. Applying colour on its own layer(s) makes it easy to adjust the colours later while keeping your drawing in its original condition.I use a combination of the paintbrush and the magic wand / lassoo tools to select areas from the sketch and fill with colour. You can experiment and go as elaborate as you want with colour, shade and textures.

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations, tutorials4 Comments »
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