Sunday, January 19, 2014

Can A Level art translate into illustrations for children's books? Join me on the journey.

 I did indicate that it was not one of my New Year resolutions, attempting to see if A Level art can lead me to my own illustrations for my children's stories. But here I am. Oh, in all honesty, it was called Higher Schools when I did it, but who today would know what that was? So the equivalent is A Level. Also, in all honesty, I did some painting after I left school, flowers in water colour, but not really using a water colour technique, and landscapes and still lifes in oils. I actually sold a 'mother and child' in oils, and a number people asked to buy one particular landscape, which I would not sell, because I like it. However, none of this makes one a children's book illustrator. The challenge is this; there's this book Things I Like  (Early Childhood level) and I would like to republish it, but need the pictures to be in colour. I don't think I can afford the artwork. So I tried my hand, and my acrylic paints again. Aha!

Here, therefore, are two versions of the same illustrations; the second with the elements of the picture outlined in black, because I saw somewhere that illustrations for children's books should/could be outlined. And I know those lines are perhaps too thick, but that's the only pen I had here. The black broken line on the figures indicates that they are stuffed toys, and not real children. That's how the original artist interpreted them, and his name was Warren Chen Shui. I'll show the cover done by him as well.

I invited you to join me on my journey, although I'm not sure how far I'll take it. However should you wish to, you can say which of the pair you prefer.  We must bear in mind also that I did not draw these pictures. I have merely coloured them. So that would be something else to see if I can do.

By the way, it was my Higher Schools Art teacher, Mrs. Burrowes ( I hope that I've spelt her name correctly - I so admired her)  that introduced us to the earth shattering concept that the pictures we drew were to look like our people, our skin colour, not a copy of the golden haired, pink skinned figures we saw in books. What a release! What a freedom! What a pride in ourselves was uncovered! People who complain about all sorts of inequalities now, imagined or otherwise, have no concept of the difference between a colonial island and one that was independent, no knowledge of some of the people who really freed our minds. Mrs. Burrowes was one of those. Giving thanks.


  1. Diane, I prefer the drawing with the thread showing, as it dispels any doubts about whether or not this is a doll. Publishers prefer illustrations by trained artists - once they've bought your ms, you don't have much say. I saw the black and white drawings for Errol's taxi, about which I made a few comments, but only saw them in colour after it was printed. But if we are self-publishing, we have a choice. I couldn't afford to pay an artist to do a cover for 'Flash', as I self-published free as an ebook. I had to do my own illustration and take a photo of it. I got only as far as 'O' level art, but have spent many years doing biological drawings from specimens and on the chalkboard. What I would like to learn is how to convert a photograph into a book cover, but have got frustrated with that process. Your own illustrations they are certainly good enough. If I were you, I would go with what gives you pleasure.

  2. Thanks for your comment and stated preference, Helen. This book is not going to a publisher. I know that they do their own artwork. This book was done in 1983 as a colouring book, but to do a print run as a colouring book would be really very expensive, so I'm looking about adding the colour myself as I cannot afford to pay an artist to do that. Then I'll see if I can get a sponsor. It would be a good book for the early childhood level.