Friday, November 23, 2012

Billie B Brown: Big Book of Billie 2

Big Book of Billie 2 is out in the Billie B Brown series!

Written by the wonderful Sally Rippin and published by Hardie Grant Egmont, this mammoth book features 12 stories from the Billie B Brown series. Sally has written more about which exact stories are featured in this book, check out her blog post here.

I went through a number of roughs for this cover. Since it is the special second Big Book of Billie I wanted Billie to look gorgeous as Billie can be!

I thought I would go literal and played around with Billie and "BIG Book" ideas.

Then I thought I should try making the Book a bit more manageable size. I didn't want the BIG Book to take over the whole cover space, I still wanted Billie to be the dominant subject on the cover.
I was also conscious of Billie's outfit; she can't be wearing something too seasonal. Also I always want to mix girly and feisty in her wardrobe.

I actually liked how these two were looking. The Book was big enough and Billie had total control over it :)
I could have sent these 5 roughs off to the editor but I thought I would do another rough with Billie in her usual classic cover style.

Then I sent the 6 roughs away and hoped that the editor will choose the one I secretly like the most. But I have learnt not to get tooo attached to any specific piece and I don't try selling any specific piece to the editor either. Karri, the wonderful Billie B Brown editor is great, she knows what she's talking about. It is her job to create books with great contents and marketable. I have so much respect for her and I trust her decisions.
She chose the classic Billie! I put away my "Big Book" ideas and colour up the chosen illustration. Here she is! 

With some more tweaks with the colour palette the final cover is approved! Below is the promotional piece for the book!

More exciting news. Sally made an announcement on my Facebook Page!

"Congratulations to Aki for all the beautiful Billie illustrations she has done over the last three years. Today we just found out Billie B Brown The Big Sister won the 2012 Kroc Awards for best children's book. It also won the 2012 Family Therapist's Award and books in the series have been shortlisted for various other awards too. Thank you to Aki for bringing Billie alive and for all your hard work. I'm so lucky to have you as my illustrator."

What can I say, I am just so happy that I get to illustrate the Billie books. I am so lucky, I get to read Sally's stories before all the other girls! Such a privilege. Thank you :D

Saturday, November 10, 2012

SCRS November Release: Mistletoe Lucy

It's Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps NOVEMBER RELEASE DAY today! All new stamps are now available to buy from the SCRS store and they are also previewing Mistletoe Lucy stamp today.

This image took a few alterations to get it right! 

Initially Lucy started off looking on from an angle, and in a winter coat outfit.

Then Sparkle suggested for a more formal winter dress outfit...

Then we decided to totally change the concept to a more 
"Mistletoe Lucy at a informal home party" setting

Her angles were a bit off so I drew her for the last time!
Approved for inking!

Sparkle is giving away one Mistletoe Lucy to one lucky person but you have until midnight EST tonight to enter. Follow this link to the store blog to find out how! 
Also check out some wonderful cards created using Mistletoe Lucy by the wonderful designers!

Friday, November 9, 2012

SCRS November Preview: Poinsettia Charlotte

Hello everyone!
Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps is excited about the new releases stamps this month! First up is the new Poinsettia Charlotte stamp illustrated by.. ME! (She will be available for purchase on Saturday from the SCRS store).

It was a couple of month ago when Sparkle briefed me for this stamp. She asked for a "Poinsettia Charlotte" design to use for the Xmas season. Seemed simple, yet it took me a number of roughs to get the design right!
The first rough I sent through was a little compact design.

Sparkle then asked me to turn it into a whole body image. So I came up with the below image.
 (I had to tape on an extra paper on the bottom as she went off the page)

Here dress was a bit too like a wedding dress here.

After a few tweaks with the outfit, pose and putting the poinsettia into a pot I got the approval to ink for final :)
Sparkle is giving away one Poinsettia Charlotte stamp to one lucky person. For details follow this link. The offer is only on for one day so be quick!

Check out how these talented designers used this new stamps to come up with these wonderful cards :D

Drawing at "Taste of Japan" Event

Wow, how fast time goes by. Have so many things to post! For now I will write about an event I participated a few weeks ago. Japanese Art Festival, an organization that brings Japanese Art culture to New Zealand, took part in the annual Taste of Japan event that was held at the Auckland Museum. For this free event the entire Museum was filled with Japanese culture; its food, music, dance, fashion and art of course.

Japanese Art Festival exhibited art works by Japanese artists on the 3rd floor of the museum and the organizers were kind enough to let me (Kiwi-Japanese) to have my little space to draw and sell cards/prints while talking to the visitors. This announcement was made only a few nights before the event. So on the day before the event my room turned into a shamble of paper and bits and pieces as I worked away on my computer, printer, cutting board and knife, to make my gift cards and prints for the show.
Beetle Girl and Summer Santa Cards

Hungry Geisha design I made especially for this "Taste if Japan" event.

Alice and Rabbit. One of my favorite combo

Halloween theme "Jacky o' Babysitter"

"Turtle girl" and "Halloween Black Bath" cards

And many more!

Once I got to the event I sat up my space then drew all day from 10am~5pm. It was so much fun as I got to draw whatever I wanted without guilt. Thank you for everyone who has bought my prints and cards. The Christmas and Halloween themed cards were the most popular.

Also for all those lovely people who took their time to talk to me and give really nice complements, THANK YOU! Sometimes when you are dungeoned away in your studio for a looong time you forget that people actually like do your work :D
Now that I have had a good doze of ego boost and complements I have enough energy to keep drawing nonstop!

Not only did people by my cards and prints, many people bought the drawings that I was working on at the event... I was too busy to take any photos at the event (thank you for the organizers and the girls who sent these images through to me ) but below are the illustrations that did return home with me :)