So I'm back in Cornwall and my clothes are unpacked. It's actually felt colder here than in Poland! Inside my house anyway.... I've got a hot water bottle on my feet and I'm tucked up in bed
I am now trying to get my head around my next steps and so I'm researching publishers and agents as well as working on ideas for my own picture book.
I am enjoying playing around with a looser style and experimenting with different character designs. I learned so much on the MATS course and want to find my joy in my art. Of course I love creating, but there can be that awkward phase where you don't really know where your picture is going or if you are on the right track AT ALL! Not to mention technical problems that leave you wanting to rethink your whole idea!
I just want to practice loads! There are so many things that I see and wish I could sit and draw, but that can be tricky with a crazy three year old that needs both eyes on....
I'm not complaining, I just need to remind myself that there is no rush and that it's great to feel so inspired and motivated.
Back to the day job.
It's just the beginning
The Make Art That Sells course is finally over and I'm more committed than ever to illustrating for children. It's definitely time to let all the lessons sink in. There was so much information presented in such a short space of time that you can't really take it all on board.
So what are my top lessons?
1. Keeping a sketchbook. This has been a bit of a revelation to me as I do most of my work digitally now and so tend to either hit delete or keep going till I like it! But now I have learned that not only is it a useful way to do a quick bit of life sketching, but it's also something that an art director might like to see.
2. Character development. Being able to get a solid feel for the character has given me a pathway into illustrating my own work. By working on emotions and poses I have learned it is possible to bring the character life and work out how they move and what they need to express before making things complicated by trying to work out their environment at the same time.
3. It's okay if your character changes -it's natural. It's good to let that happen and not get too hung up on your first attempts.
4. It's all in the details, or accessories! The little things help to make your illustration full of life!
5. That you should draw happy! Your energy goes into your work and so if you are happy when you draw, then you will have a happy picture - and people buy your joy!
6. That you can create good lettering by slowing your breathing and slowing your strokes! I have always wanted to rush my letters, but now I'm beginning to take it more slowly.
7. That it's okay to be where I am right now - and it is! I am so excited for this journey and I'm so lucky that at the moment I get to decide what I want to do. It's awesome! I am visualising a time where I have more art direction though and I am looking forward to growing and learning.
I'm already starting to work on my characters for my own children's book now and keen to build my portfolio.
Falling in love with Norman
So, my husband really has nothing to worry about. I'm talking about Norman the Red Footed Booby which I am illustrating for the Make Art That Sells children's book course.
I think it it takes a while to properly bond with your text and get to know your characters. I'd read through the story five times, watched a load of YouTube videos and also read the true story of the red footed booby that ended up in the UK. Even so, my first attempts at drawing Norman didn't have a great deal of soul to them.
Thanks to the course I feel like I have a better awareness of creating characters with 'spark' and this comes down to confidence, looseness and embracing your own aesthetic. And lots and lots of drawing! There are sketchbook prompts everyday as well as an assignment every week which takes up every inch of time. It's full on and addictive. At the moment I am working on poses for Norman and the girl that finds him, Ruby
This image was my submission for last Sunday and was supposed to show a range of expressions. I think that experimenting with Norman's emotions and starting to let go a little that he started to emerge. There was something in the blue version that appealed to me and things started to change from there.
This little Norman showed up and I liked the relationship that was building between these characters. I went back to researching booby's
(😂) and saw that their necks are longer than I had been drawing and I thought that that could actually be quite an expressive feature.
This is Norman at the beginning of the story. His dad calls to him to keep up and so it makes me think that maybe he is learning his skills and therefore he is a bit of a schoolboy. The addition of clothes adds an extra bit of character and also allows for a similar treatment of the other animal characters that show up later.
Seeing Norman and Ruby together likes this has made me fall in love with them! I'm so excited about the rest of the week - drawing more poses and their interactions. And it reinforces my desire to do children's books as it has reminded me about how amazing it is to bring words to life!
It is now half way through the course and I feel as though I have come a long way already. I don't want the course to end, but I'm so excited to push forwards with the knowledge and energy that I now have. 💕😀✨