Tag Archives: children’s book illustrations

2020 Review

I had a wonderful start to 2020 with skiing in France and Bulgaria, and little did I know when watching Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall in March that it would be the last theatre visit of the year. Since we first went into lockdown in March my creative work has been enjoyable distraction and focus. As a result it’s been a productive year for my art and illustration work.

I have explored editorial illustration, children’s picture book work, and the themes of food and travel. Enjoyed the wonderful Make Art That Sells global community, and also the UK/US illustrator group that I’m blessed to be part of.

Ski Illustrations

After a day skiing in Les 3 Vallees, France I relaxed by painting ski related equipment.

This initiated the Ski A-Z book project which I have worked on throughout the year and will be in book form in early 2021.

Sharing these ski illustrations on social media led to an exciting client commission, which I will be able to reveal in the coming weeks – watch this space.

Here are my favourite ski illustrations of 2020 (that aren’t embargoed). I find that often the favourite pieces are breakthroughs in terms of the detail, materials, and/or techniques.

My intention with the project has been to demonstrate the joy and emotions of skiing and related activities in a way that is often less apparent in photographic images.

There are people who are at their happiest when skiing, unfortunately many of them aren’t able to ski at present, I hope they can feel some comfort by seeing the work and vicariously having some ski escapism.

More about this work at this link Night Skiing and TOP 9

Ski Prints

I’ve had a number of people requests prints of the ski work, so I’m pleased to reveal that I’ll be producing limited edition prints in 2021. Follow my blog for more details when they’re available. If there are ski illustrations that you’d like to be included in the selection made into prints please email me inspirebykim@outlook.com

Top 9 of 2020

Here are my overall favourite 9 pieces of 2020 across ski, travel, food and character design…

I worked hard on the first to show an expression of joy in this freestyle skiing pose. The second was a children’s book character I created for the Make Art That Sells Illustrating Children’s Books briefs. The third was a painting of juxtaposed elements of our biking holiday in Flamborough, the stunning scenery and incredible bird life.

The fourth was for an illustrated travel memoir of heli-skiing in Russia. The fifth is a conceptual illustration for Apres-Ski fun, my entry for the AOI World Illustration Awards. Sixth was my favourite piece from a number of dessert illustrations.

Seventh – the delightful feeling of calm and seclusion when enjoying some quiet time after skiing, warm and snuggly as the temperatures drop outside. I contacted Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards for a quote about the feeling of flying, and created this illustration from images that at Eddie provided. The ninth was a festive illustration/animation of steel deliveries at Santa’s Metal Workshop, commissioned by steel stockholder K Steels for their social media channels.

A particular highlight of lockdown, and since, were regular ‘Art Chats’ with my friend. We simultaneously worked on our individual creative projects on video calls. Being able to see the development of each other’s work, and to get ‘work in progress’ feedback, was helpful, I have found that chatting can help to divert the conscious mind and allow the subconscious to create in flow; the art nirvana that one can experience in particular circumstances and creative activities.

In the course of the chats my friend created an entire 2021 calendar of bird watercolours. You can see his work at

@dgrealise

For me personally good has to come out if a challenging situation, and thus I’ve made it a productive year with development of my skills and evolution of my illustration work. Here’s to a good 2021. Enjoy this short illustrated gif…

Thank you for each view, like, comment and all the support in 2020. Sharing my work gives me the impetus to continue to create, and to push myself to be able to more and more effectively express concepts visually.

It is always my mission to spread joy and inspiration so I hope that it contributes to the positive vibes going out into the world consciousness.

Read more about the key 2020 projects

Apres-Ski Illustration

Christmas 2020 Steel Illustrations

Pretty Pudding Paintings

Love After Lockdown – Graphic Novel

Bob The Balloon – Children’s Book Illustrations

Thanks so much for being here. Feel free to ‘Like’ the post if you do; and if you’ve friends who’d also be interested please share it with them.

Here’s to a great 2021. Hoping you have freedom to enjoy everything you wish for.

Find your joy

Love and luck

Kim x

Here’s are my latest posts:

Bob The Balloon – Children’s Book Illustrations

I hadn’t considered that children’s books was an area I wanted to explore, but knew that my drawing skills and illustration techniques would progress by doing the Illustrating Children’s Books course.

However, what I experienced during the intensive five week course was a wonderful journey through the process of creating characters and their world.

Book cover mock up with props

The Make Art That Sells course was a live global gathering of aspiring and professional illustrators having a wonderful shared experience towards a common goal.

I chose Zoë Tucker’s story about a balloon with wanderlust to travel the world; a feeling which I imagine a lot of people can relate to this year.

My initial concept for the characters

I decided early in the process that Bob would be a heart shaped balloon, as our world needs love.

Accessorising Bob – fun but fussy

In the story Bob the balloon lives with his best friend Bug in a lighthouse; until he’s gusted away on an unexpected magical adventure.

Bug looked out at me from a page of my character sketches

I created Bob using four small heart balloons (blue, pink, teal and purple), overlaid digitally and areas selected to give Bob’s unique colours, highlights, shadows and transparency. I added facial features to one of them to help with three quarter, side, high and low angle perspectives.

The balloons which altogether make up the character Bob

The challenge then was to demonstrate Bob and Bug’s different emotions, whilst keeping the characters and colour palette consistent.

Conveying a range of emotions and interactions between the two characters

Initially I thought that Bob might change colour with his feelings but then decided to keep the main shade of blue consistent. The real balloons were helpful in understanding the form, movement, bulging and deflation characteristics for Bob.

Animation frames for Bob bouncing on a river, studying the globe and observing a ladybird which Bug is drawing.

Whilst considering the character motivations I felt that Bug’s fascination with the balloon (Bob) may have been due to physical limitations, maybe she wished she could be light and rise off the ground. I experienced such yearnings after major knee injury, so could relate to these feelings. Therefore I developed Bug’s character to represent a person who is assisted to move around using a wheelchair, whether this be temporary (due to injury), or ongoing.

Character poses for Bug, using her imagination.

It was a criteria of the course to demonstrate the character in different action poses to give the character life.

Lighthouse inspired by Amsterdam architecture and a love of gardens.

The culmination of the course was a double page spread (16 x 10) inches of a scene from the book. I chose to represent a sunset scene where Bug is telling Bob stories of far away lands in her cosy nook bed. I made a pop-up book to include in the scene and made it cast a shadow on the wood panelling behind Bug. I added my watercolour paintings as wall art and soft furnishings. The globe form is inspired by a garden ornament at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire.

Bug is telling Bob stories of faraway places.

By conveying emotions that draw the reader and child into the narrative, they will care about the characters. I wanted to demonstrate the connection between the characters and to give them a place to exist which is in a consistent style and medium.

The final task was to create the book cover, important for point of sale marketing whether viewed on a book shop shelf or as a tiny thumbnail on Amazon.

Bob flies through the travel themed cover design

Thanks to Make Art That Sells, art agent Lilla Rogers and children’s book author/art director Zoë Tucker for a fabulous course and the wealth of informative content, sketch prompts, and weekly assignments. I felt my work shift forward enormously during the five weeks. I invested a lot of time, was determined, and am pleased with the outcomes.

How the final book would look.

Thanks also the the many insects who landed close by me during the course, which seemed quite serendipitous.

Grasshopper, beetle and ladybird.

Mediums used include inks, gouache, watercolours, cut paper for the pop up book, and digital techniques.

I am open to illustration projects, editorial and children’s book illustrations so please email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com

Thanks for being here and following my work. I’m creating new work all the time so please pop back soon or head over to my Instagram space to see work as it is created. My latest posts follow and a link to an illustrated children’s book that I created a few years ago.

Thanks so much.

Kim x

The Dog Who Wanted To Fly – Illustrated Children’s Book

Snowy Children’s Book Illustrations

Building on the Reaching For The Stars artwork (image below) featured in the previous blog post, I explored the character further.

Reaching For The Stars

I set myself the challenge of creating the same illustration from a top down perspective, with each of the animals in the correct order and corresponding position to the original illustration.

Here’s the resulting painting of the animal tower and young Jelena reaching for the stars, supported by the animals as snowflakes fall from the sky. Jelena believe her late mother to be amongst the stars; the animals assist her in her goal to reach closer to the stars.

In order develop the character further I created a page of illustrations of Jelena’s accessories.

I then thought about how she would move, painting different poses that she would move through in a children’s book story.

This work grew out of the Ski A-Z Book that I am working on. You can see this work at these links.

Apres-Ski Illustration

Technical Ski Illustrations

A-Z of Ski – E for Exhilaration 

Thanks so much for being here on my website. I’m posting new work as its created on my Instagram feed so you might like to follow my work.

Here are my latest blog posts…

Bye for now.

Kim

REACHING FOR THE STARS – CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATION

Children’s book illustration for the culmination of Jelena’s journey through a winter wonderland, to reach the stars.

“Grandma said Mummy is polishing the stars, so that they shine on me.”

My character Jelena (meaning Bright) is helped by the mountain animals to go closer to the stars, where she believes her late mother to be.

I’m delighted with this latest work. I can feel the progress, enjoyed painting it and am pleasantly surprised with the final piece. It’s already framed and on our wall.

Illustrated children's book page. Little girl Jelena lifted up by alpine wildlife.

Having lived with the next generation effects of childhood bereavement I wanted to create a work that speaks to children, and the child inside the adult, who lost their parent.

Jelena realises through the narrative that she is not alone, and is reassured by the support and kindness from her new animal friends.

The stars are so bright and you can see multitudes of them above the mountains, as there isn’t the light pollution. It can be breathtaking to walk at midnight in the snow and gaze up in wonder.

I created this painting for the Make Art That Sells #matsprep assignment. The inspiration for the mountain setting is from the Ski A-Z book that I am presently working on.

How This Piece Was Created…

I painted the alpine wildlife that we see when we visit the French Alps, and the Vanoise National Park.

I have often seen deer, foxes and wild boar whilst driving the mountain roads at night. The marmots we see emerging from hibernation in the spring, enjoying eating crocus as the snow melts away. I once encountered an imposing bouquetin at high altitude by the glacier near Val Thorens. We would also see herds of bouquetin grazing and fighting on the slopes of Champagny Le Haut. Mountain hare tracks can be seen from the chairlifts indicating their nocturnal presence. Whilst driving by Lake Annecy a family of five wild boar crossed the road ahead of us, parent and their young, so cute.

I also painted a Eurasian brown bear which lives in the Caucasus mountains of Russia, where we skied over bear tracks in the snow. Next to our hotel was a woodcarver’s yard where he whittled life sized bears from huge tree trunks. I chose a small carved bear as a souvenir of the trip. To read about heli-skiing in Russia click here.

Collage of the animal paintings

My first composition (below) felt predatory, I needed a less confrontational arrangement of the elements.

Therefore I chose a tower of animals, united in assistance for the story’s main character, painting them in a less literal style for the final artwork.

A3 Painting in progress, using masking fluid, watercolour paints and acrylic gouache.

I’m determined to keep learning and growing my skills through study of theory and techniques, practical art and colourful exploration. You can follow my blog to see work as it develops and the projects progress.

My intention is editorial illustration work, ideally the cover of Flow magazine, and commercial artwork for ‘change for good’ marketing campaigns. The big dream is an interactive art TV programme.

Here are my latest blog posts…

If you would like artwork to support a positive project please email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com

Thanks so much for being here.

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I think you’d really like to see this illustration. Take a look.

Many thanks

Kim