Thursday 2 August 2018

Travelling With My Sketchbook: Illustration In The Wild!

You'll pretty much always find me with a sketchbook in my bag. I never know when I might get a flash of inspiration I need to note down, a tiny moment to sketch, or I get stuck at an airport for four hours waiting for a delayed flight (happened last week!). Mostly, I like to use my sketchbook as a way to record my travels and hone my memories of lovely places and moments I have experienced. I think it's just those extra minutes spent really studying that view, the consideration of that person's stance, or noticing the little details, which really help crystallise your memories. 

In July I ventured out of the studio to both 2000 Trees festival in Cheltenham, and then over to Northern Ireland. I was lonnnng overdue a holiday, so it was great to get a bit of sunshine and have a good, revitalising, break from work. 

So Andrew actually won a ticket to 2000 Trees in a competition, and even with limited knowledge of the lineup, I went too and had an amazing time! You'll have to forgive my very muddy little hands in these photos, camping at a four day festival does not for sparkling clean hands make (that and I'd just been sitting on the dusty floor in the forest!). I managed to squeeze in a couple of quick sketches between bands, and I think they capture a bit of the flavour of the festival.

At the end of July, I headed over to the top coast of Northern Ireland for a week exploring beautiful historical places and gorgeous scenery. Honestly, the trip was so jam packed with amazing places to see and important history to learn. We visited castles, cities, GOT filming locations, beaches, breweries...I'm still unpacking all my memories and the information I took in (as well as my clothes). I actually brought my whole watercolour set over with me, but after one failed attempt to paint on the beach I gave up and stuck to ink and pencil (a huge gust of wind covered my paint-set with sand and I nearly screeched 'MY KUREKATE'). 

I spent time sketching in some of my favourite places I visited - Dunluce Castle, Belfast, Portstewart Beach... We actually stayed really close to the Giant's Causeway (near enough that I ended up visiting three times!), but unfortunately I couldn't squeeze in the time to draw all of those magnificent columns (geology rules). I'll hopefully come back one day. 

So, next time you're heading off on holiday, I really recommend throwing a little sketchbook and pen into your suitcase - I can so perfectly recall the sights, sounds, smells and the feel of the ground in all those locations I sketched in. One day I'd love to go on a pure travel sketching adventure! I'll keep you posted...

Happy travels!

Illustrating 'The No More Bulling Book For Kids' - New Book News!

Hey everyone! I'm really excited to finally share the new book I've illustrated - which is out right now! The No More Bullying Book For Kids is written by Vanessa Green Allen, and it was a joy to work with the team at Rockridge Press and Callisto Media to create the illustrations for this important (and charming) book.

The book aims to help young people and their parents through the horrible experiences of a wide range of bullying. Having been through some of these things when I was younger, I wanted to channel that and show strong young characters to help encourage anyone who's going through this right now - it's really tough, and there's no one cure-all solution, but knowing that other people come through the other side happy and healthy can be useful. The book's full of encouraging tips and acts as a really great break down of a complicated and sensitive subject.

Visually, the illustrations in the book were made completely digitally, using a simple, cheerful, limited colour palette using some of my favourite colours to draw with. I loved creating the cast of characters for the book, they seem like such a great bunch of kids! I have to say I wish I had the outfit of the girl in the title page illustration (I always seem to end up drawing a wardrobe I wish I had!). 

The roughs stage for this book was really fun - a clear brief from the client, but room to experiment and bring ideas to the table (the best kind of brief!). I enjoyed working up alternate ideas in greyscale, especially with the 'Stop Bullies' illustration where I got to draw a tough-girl / dragon face-off! I'll be posting more of the prep and sketch work on my soon-to-launch Patreon page, so keep an eye out for that!

The book is out right now! You can find The No More Bullying Book For Kids on Amazon in the UK and over here in the USA:


USA Book Giveaway!

If you're in America you can also grab the chance to WIN a copy of the book over on my Twitter, Instagram, and/or by leaving a comment on this blog post before Friday next week! Winners will be drawn at 9am EDT on Friday 10th August (that's 2pm Friday in GMT)! Notes on the giveaway are below!

Giveaway rules -

For entry on Twitter, see this post

For entry on Instagram head here

For entry on this blog, please just leave a comment!

Feel free to enter all three ways!

USA only I'm afraid, as the publishers will be sending the prize out. When the winner is chosen (randomly) and announced I'll do my best to get in touch with them, then will pass their address on to the publisher to send the prize. I won't use or store your address for anything else. Competition runs from Thurs 2nd August to Friday 10th August. 

Pass it on! I appreciate all the support. Any questions, just ask!