Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sparkle Creations: Celebrating Chloe

Chloe is one of my favorite characters in the Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamp collection. When I was asked to do a "celebrating" Chloe that can be suitable for making birthday and party cards I quickly bullet pointed things Chloe can be paired up with: balloons, cake, presents etc. And since Chloe is often riding on things (scooter, Volkswagen, sled) I thought this time it might be fun to make her ride a train!
But the direction was changed from the initial rough and we ended up with a more generic stamp, so it can be more versatile! :) Maybe one day you will see Chloe on a train...
Simonne Clay has created a wonderful card with this stamp! I love her creations!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go Girl Relaunch

April was an exciting month with relaunch of the popular girls series Go Girl, published by Hardie Grant Egmont. I'm sure parents with young girls have come across one of these books in the past.

Since its launch in 2005 the series has grown into over 30 titles, written and illustrated by variety of authors and illustrators (including my favorite Sally Rippin), and the series has sold over 2million copies internationally!
I have been privileged to be the illustrator for the relaunch of 5 popular titles (those in the image) followed by three more by the end of the year! The reason for the relaunch is to reintroduce these popular books to the new generation of readers and their parents.

Illustrating for a series means total re-branding of the whole Go Girl world. New style. New look. A total make over! And like the start of Billie B Brown series (click here) it takes months of character designing and development of styles to reach the desired and suitable new "look".

The five new titles features five new characters. Here goes some of the character sketches in the initial development phase.
The characters started out rather short and plumpy (like the original version). Beth, the lovely editor (who also guided me through Wild Rescue covers) told me to make them more longer and taller. Also to stay away from them being too pretty, stereotypical and commercial. Somewhere between Billie B Brown and the Disney princesses. So I proceeded on and on....
After the character designs were finalized it was matter of refining them for the cover illustrations!
Then the illustrations were sent to Beth for the designer at Hardie Grant Egmont to complete the five covers! :)
Obviously there were changes made inside too. The originals featured simple black and white vector illustrations.
The new books retain that simplicity. But I got to use two colours! Purple and black :)
Now I am working on three more titles which will be released later this year. Hopefully these new books will be as successful as the predecessors. I have also worked on the new Go Girl website as well. Currently you will only see the welcome page where you can sign up and receive updates. I believe soon there will be games, chat rooms and many fun features for both the readers and the parents! So stay tuned!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Tribute

Wahine, the rising sun, red and white poppies and colours of NZ flag (red and blue).
Here's my tribute! Kia kaha NZ, Kia Kaha Japan, Anzac Day and PEACE!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Girl

Billie B Brown- The Big Sister

Here goes another post for those Billie fans! "The Big Sister' is the 9th book in the BBB series and it came out in March 2011. Billie becomes a big sister!
Usually Karri, the lovely editor at Hardie Grant Egmont who has been guiding me from the very beginning, briefs me on the cover illustration before I even get to read the story. This is because the marketing team needs the cover designs well in advance for promotional purposes.
I did two roughs. Billie with her teddy Mr Fred was chosen for the final version. Very cute huh.
Then about a month afterward I receive the edited manuscript written by Sally Rippin and I proceed to work on the internal illustrations! :)
I usually do some sketches to work out Billie's wardrobe for the story.
Then some roughs to work out how the baby should look...... (read the book if you are curious as to how he/she turned out!) 
Then onto the internals! Like any illustration work some changes are always made but I always enjoy working on Billie :)
When I did this soccer scene I wanted to convey the loneliness Mr Fred was feeling, thus the illustration is drawn with Mr Fred in the foreground. But Karri suggested for change in perspective. This turned out well and makes the story flow better as Billie is always the central focus of the story. Duh!

I really enjoyed drawing Billie's mum's big bump. Hopefully I will look as good as her if when I get pregnant in the future!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Easter Break!!

Sparkle Creations: Lucy, Josh and Mother's day.

I have been illustrating the designs for Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps store since it's launch last year. These stamps are ideal people who are into crafts, card making and scrap booking!
Sparkle Smith, the store owner, runs weekly and monthly challenges where people can upload their creations and win Sparkle Creations stamps!
Here goes my work process of Cafe Lucy stamp!
 When Sparkle initially briefed me for an image of Lucy with Coffee I came up with Lucy in a teacup rough (holding onto a sugar cube). But Sparkle suggested for a Cafe scenario and we ended up with a stylish Lucy!
When I do these I get the urge to colour them in... but it's more fun seeing how other designers incorporate the stamps into their crafts!
I love how Lisa Hjulberg used this stamp!
When I drew Cafe Lucy I also completed Street Corner Josh.
The initial rough started off as relaxing Josh on a rocking chair. I like how it turned out. Lisa Seabrook always inspires me with her creations!
Anyway for those who are stuck with ideas for Mother's Day gift why not check out Charlotte stamps. They are ideal for making a personal card! I love these ones made by Simonne Clay!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wild Rescue Series: Forrest Fire

Before I was in this business of freelance illustration/graphic Design I was clueless as to how much work can be involved for just making one book cover. Wild Rescue series is the first project where I was asked to only do the cover designs as the series already has internal illustrations done by Diane Le Feyer of Cartoon Saloon.
Actually the series has already been published in the UK by Stripes Publishing last year and launched into the market with cover illustrations done by Andrew Hutchinson.

So why am I needed? Well Hardie Grant Egmont decided to relaunch this series in Australia. To give the series a new vibe they decided to remove the beautiful realistic illustrations on the cover, which actually made the series appear as wild life documentary books, and go with something that reflected the inside of the books better- comic style of Diane Le Feyer.

This was my first time where I had to work in someone else's style, quite different to any I have done in the past. Anyway I took on the job. Starting with "Forrest Fire" (the red cover with the Orangutan).
Fist I did some roughs and a quick colour scheme.
Going with the right option I came up with some potential directions I could work up the colours and background.
Other than the colours and background I started thinking about the new logo design and how the end look can apply to the remaining three books I still had to design. Anyway after this over 30 cover options were pushed back and forth between the lovely editor at Hardie Grant Egmont and I. I could upload them all but that would be a waste of cyberspace.  Here goes some I've picked out so you can get the feel.
Anyway the eventually we got there.

And three more followed. But I will talk about those some other day.
The back covers? WELL! That's whole another story!
Anyway the books are great! Suitable for children aged 7+. At the end of each books there are some interesting fact about endangered animals so very educational too! The four books were launched in January 2011. Haven't come across any in shops here (NZ) yet. Hopefully they are doing well in Aussie!

Billie B Brown- The Secret Message

Wow, it has been quite a while since the last blog...
This year has been a busy year, I have 24 books scheduled to come out this year that I have worked on!
Now that 12 of them has already come out in the shops I can share some images and some very late launch updates!
First up, the 8th book in the Billie B Brown series "The Secret Message".

This was released in January by Hardie Grant Egmont. Another lovely story written by Sally Rippin.
Below are some images to show the processes I went through.
As you can see the little girl named Charlotte was a bit too little and young looking in the original rough.

Billie makes a new friend named Harriet  in this story. She started off being rather slim. I like how she is looking in the final illustration, nicely rounded!
Hopefully I will make more effort to keep my blog up to date from now on! I will do another update tomorrow! :)