Origami Farm

This is the fourth origami book by Mari Ono that I have worked on. I made and designed the paper backgrounds to create colourful environments for the origami animals. It's always fun to make these as scissors and glue are a refreshing change of tools from a pen or a mouse! I also really enjoy the days spent working with photographer Geoff Dann at his studio - it's really rewarding to work in a collaborative way and to leave home for the day!

50 Shades of Erotica

A double page illustration for Woman's Weekly on writing erotic fiction. The brief was to keep it looking pretty and not overly sexy. It was fun working to a long thin format and creating a writer's environment.

The Little Book of Wedding Etiquette

Just published last month by Running Press "The Little Book of Wedding Etiquette" was a lovely project to illustrate involving twelve chapter illustrations and a cover. And I managed to slip a wedding guest dog in too!

Rhode Island magazine - Spring

 This was for Rhode Island Magazine to illustrate a piece by Ann Hood. It's was a very reflective and poignant piece of writing about Spring from early childhood memories of Easter celebrations with snow still on the ground surrounded by her extended Italian family through to the loss of family members and how it affected  her ability to notice or appreciate seasonal changes through to the springtime adoption of one of her children.

I've also included how the illustrations looked in the magazine layout - I really like how the designer laid out the pages, the text and the flowers against the clean white pages.

Decorating Eggs

I illustrated this book by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell  a few years ago but thought of it again today. 

When small in Scotland on Easter Friday - my brother and I would paint hard boiled eggs or colour them with felt tip pens and then roll them down a hill, chasing after them until they smashed, then eat them as part of a picnic  - often the whites of the egg were very stained with colour from the shell! I never really understood why I was doing it - but it was to symbolise the rock rolling from Jesus's tomb. It's been pointed out to me that my family were three days early in celebrating this!

Work for Illustrated Ape Magazine

In the autumn I was asked to contribute a double page illustration for a special issue of Illustrated Ape  - and my fourteen year younger self was super excited - I can still remember the thrill of seeing the first issue of the magazine in 1998 and feeling like it was a sign of a new emerging illustration "scene". The fact they asked me to contribute to a comic themed issue, printed in red and black and to illustrate a section of a really dark torch song seemed like a slip up - don't they know I mostly draw dogs in clothes and flowers?! However I loved the challenge as so often having a colour palette that isn't a natural choice to me or subject matter I wouldn't normally be asked to tackle are the types of things that move my work on.

Four Seasons Illustrations

This was a project I did in December - it was a commission from a friend's husband to do four illustrations of his wife and dog through the seasons as a Christmas gift from him to her.

I loved working on this and producing a set of four meant it gave me the opportunity to play around more with scale and composition and viewpoints.

Drawing New Lines in the Sand

Sometimes I love to do really detailed work but I also love it when an art director is happy for me to go with a simple drawing as the solution. Looking from the objective outside I'm totally aware the idea/message the illustration is conveying is key and the length of time to produce it is irrelevant...but I do still have a small interior "voice" that sometimes says I should be working hard and long for my fee! It must be my Scottish work ethic :-)

New Family Traditions

I loved illustrating this book so much!

It was for Running Press in the US and written by Meg Cox. It's packed full of great suggestions on  how to create personal family rituals and traditions - it has a really imaginative and cosy feeling text. I also loved working in two colours plus tints for the interior illustrations and as well as the forty illustrations I also produced a few repeat patterns that were used as backgrounds throughout the book.

This project was a bit like reading a good book because as I got near the end of it I felt a little sad it was almost over!

Dinogami - Paper Props and Styling Project

I loved making the paper props for this project. It's the third origami book by Mari Ono I've worked on for Cico Books. When I first heard it would be twenty five backgrounds all for dinosaurs I thought they might all end up being really similar but once I cleared out all the dinosaur books from the children's section of our local library and also watched "Walking with Dinosaurs" I became fascinated by the different forms of life on the planet at the time and ended up with too many different background ideas. I also thought since it would be a lot of fanatical eight year old boys making the origami dinosaurs that it was important that I got the facts right. So the dinosaurs in the third period - Cretaceous have some flowering plants in the backgrounds but the dinosaurs in the earlier periods just have ferns.

I think one of the great things about being an illustrator is that you end up researching subjects you might not otherwise go to. I remember in primary school the only things I ever received prizes for were art and projects...which is exactly what illustration is.

Isn't the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the bottom just the gentlest, sweetest looking dinosaur.

"My Felted Friends" - Prop Making and Styling Project

I worked on this project back in February making all the props and backgrounds at home then working with Geoff Dann the photographer at his studio styling them. The book is by Mia Underwood who not only makes these amazing felted animals but just seems to be all round talented - take a look at her beautiful work on her woodfolk website. 
I loved how on this project I was free to mix up "real" animal settings and anthropomorphised ones. So the badger lived in a house with a wood burning stove but the hedgehog lived amongst leaves.

The Fundamentals of Illustration

"The Fundamentals of Illustration"by Lawrence Zeegen has been revised by Louise Fenton and my website is featured in it. Isn't that mustard and pink cover by Mia Nilsson gorgeous! 
I think it would make a great book for an illustration student or recent graduate - though I too plan to read it. Thinking back to when I graduated in 1990 there just wasn't any printed information on starting out in illustration  - just three pages of handouts from the last term. 
In February next year my US agent Lilla Rogers has a book coming out "I Just Like to Make Things: Learn the Secrets to Making Money While Staying Passionate About Your Art and Craft" which I'm looking forward to reading.

The Homemade Home for Children

The Homemade Home for Children is the sequel to Sania Pell's previous book the Homemade Home. Both are full of her gorgeous projects and ideas for the home and all the photography is stunningly styled by her. I love her colour sense and the way she uses shades of grey with flashes of bright colour and the way she uses flowers to bring rooms and settings alive.

I drew the step by step illustrations for both books. It's funny how at the start of a project like this where over 200 illustrations are required the end seems unimaginable - then you just get your head down and work away and at the end the beginning seems unimaginable!

The look for the illustrated steps was initially to be sketchbooky in feel. Above is a rough mock up I did at the start of the project - where I placed my sketches on top of various bits of paper from my beloved "paper drawer". However the finished book has a more uniform feel and the designer laid my drawings on top of water colour paper.

I think I'm repeating my self about this - but I really couldn't have imagined when starting out in illustration that I'd end up drawing step by step illustrations and enjoying doing so - so much.

Family Fun Magazine

This was for an article in the US Family Fun Magazine about a young girl overcoming her fear of cycling up hill. I have the same fear about driving up hills! 

Rhode Island Monthly

This was for a piece in Rhode Island Monthly back in May last year. I remembered about it as I've just completed my third illustration for the magazine. All three illustrate articles written by the author Ann Hood. I love her writing as it's incredibly vivid and poignant. This one was about her relationship with her mother and how over the years though she had experienced many changes her mother's support had remained constant. It was a double page spread with the top image on the left page and the lower image on the right hand page.