Children's Books {MATS Week 3}

Well, Week 3 of Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells was the week I was looking the most forward to - the Children's Book market!

Illustrating a kids' book is something I've always wanted to do. Back in college, I was lucky enough to take a special illustration course with the amazing Peter Sis, author/illustrator of many children's books and winner of the beloved Caldecott Honor Award. A few years later I met my husband, a talented writer, and we discussed dreams of growing old together; he would write the stories, I would draw them. Then Stella was born, and her book collection grew, along with my dream of illustrating a book that she could add to her shelf.

Therefore, I took last week's assignment very seriously. Our mini exercise was to develop a snail character. Again, a subject I've never considered, but it was a lot of fun! 

After drawing plenty of snails, I decided the one on the left page, lower center was pretty cute and decided to explore his facial expressions. Onto the gouache:

During this exercise, I learned the eyebrows are the key to the expression.

Next we received our full assignment - illustrate either the cover or full page spread from the story The Snail and the Rose-Tree by Hans Christian Andersen. Wow, what a dark story! It really threw me for a loop. Usually my drawings are so happy and colorful - this would be quite the challenge. But I was up for it! I went through the story, line by line and started sketching out some compositions:

After working through some compositions, I decided the first two were too ordinary. I liked the third one, but since it was a wintery scene, there were no blooming roses (I really wanted to draw roses!). The fourth one was fun, but it was getting a little busy for my liking. So it was down to the last two. I decided to go with #5 because it much happier. Plus I could have fun with some curvy type and lots of swirls.

For this assignment I wanted to push myself, so I decided to forgo the digital design and do the entire spread in gouache. It took a bit longer, but I was able to play with subtle color changes and brushstrokes that I'd never be able to accomplish in Photoshop.

The black details in the illustration are all done with acrylic ink, and the text is hand-drawn using my beloved Micron pens.

I am so happy with how it turned out! Unfortunately, I got pretty sick during the middle of the week, so I didn't have time to do a cover as well. That would have been fun to explore some more hand-drawn type for the title. Maybe if I have some time I'll work on that for my portfolio...

Thanks again for following my process!
Have a great week,