After 20 years of working as a commercial illustrator, the most common thing I have been commissioned to do, is various kinds of farm yard animals in varying styles: from computer 3D, to watercolour, to mixed media. Thats closely followed by jungle themes, sea creatures, pirates and princesses!……….it does make me reflect that this really is quite a dreamy job – I get to be a kid every day!
My latest children’s book was no exception. Based on the concept that I had done for this particular publisher the previous year, the book was a leprello – an accordion fold. In this case, it was 12 pages long, printed double sided – 24 pages in total. The brief was really very open, I didn’t even have any text to follow(mainly because it was for a French publisher, so I could easily have misinterpreted it)!………just a short suggestion of what could appear in the story. The internal spreads focused on the activities you might find going on indoors on a farm: milking, making cheese, mending machinery, pressing apples etc. The content of the external spreads concentrated on scenes outside: the duck pond, pig stye, harvesting, vegetable patch etc. Unlike briefs from educational publishers which are very prescriptive, this picture book allowed me the freedom to indulge in creating some humorous scenarios, which always makes the process more fun and the final product is a truer expression of you as an illustrator.
As with all children’s books, I will have to wait for some time to see the finished product – probably a year – can’t wait! I made an attempt to video the process of creating one section of illustration – done over roughly 8 hrs, it was a 1 gig file! So I have done some brutal editing and cut it down to 3 mins!