Friday, May 20, 2011

Which Witchy cover?

"Witchy Goes Shopping" is a very special book to me. Of course all the books that I have worked on have a special place in my heart, but this one is particularly magical as it was my first published children's picture book.

Character Study of Witchy

I did both the illustration and the design for this book, so I got to learn all the do's and don'ts in the making of this book, including sending the wrong colour format to the printers and causing a major setback to the publishers..... I am very apologetic :(
The publishers were great though. The editors at Scholastic are so nice and warm-hearted, they were very patient and understanding through the whole seven months process (Yes, it takes that long to make a picture book!)
The lovely scholastic team, Penny and Diana 
at authors and illustrator conference

I have also learnt that the buyers and the marketing department have a HUGE say in the design of the book. Obviously they know what sort of "look" is in demand right now.
For the cover of "Witchy Goes Shopping" I took the normal steps of coming up with a number of roughs then proceeding to finalizing the chosen design.

We liked the Witchy in shopping trolley option the best

After the initial design things were further simplified to the below cover (note that the left part wraps around to become the back cover of the book)

Everything seemed done and the Scholastic NZ branch took "Witchy Goes Shopping" to the Australian market to see how they would respond. They were very interested in taking on the book to be distributed in Australian bookshops, only if I change the book cover design. 

They didn't like the white cover as they easily get dirty while handling (very good point!) and suggested to try out a pink cover with lime green or similar coloured title.
And they really liked one of the Witchy illustrations in the book and asked me to use that image on the cover instead of the existing one.  And I only have a day or two to rework the cover, as we are already behind schedule, gulp!
So the final design ended up looking much more pinky! I also didn't want the shopping trolley illustration to go to waste (as I really liked it) so decided to use it on the back.

The files were sent away to be printed and I had to wait for about five months before they were in the book shops. For the first couple of months I couldn't look at the books as I could see my little mistakes and imperfections...but now that more than a year has gone past (it was Witchy's one year anniversary in April!) I can appreciate the book as it is. My first special picture book.

I also met up with the lovely author Dianne Boles. I was so nervous when I first met her, she is so beautiful. She used to be a former international catwalk model in LA. Now she lives very close to me in Auckland. She dedicated Witchy to her magical grandchildren while I dedicated the book to my 20 year old cat Dorothy, my little furry familiar.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May preview: Relaxing Charlotte

Today Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps is showing sneak peeks of it's second new stamp of the month, Relaxing Charlotte! This is perfect for those who love spa days or just a nice bubble bath! 

Sparkle will be giving away this new stamp to one lucky person! For a chance to win click HERE and follow the blog hop! Sparkle has already announced the lucky winner of Shopping Emily from yesterday's hop! So don't miss your chance!

I'm not part of the blog hop, but as the illustrator for the company, I thought I could share the work process of the new stamp.
When Sparkle briefed me to do a bathing Charlotte I immediately thought that she would look so classy in a classic claw foot bathtub! I always wanted one of those in my house!
And here goes my version of the coloured up Charlotte!

I adore how Shaela Odd used the stamp! I love her use of mixed media!

Friday, May 13, 2011

May Preview! Shopping Emily!

Today Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps and the Design Team are showing sneak peeks of Shopping Emily! She's perfect for those hard core shoppers and fashionitas! All new stamps will be available on Saturday, May 14th.

Sparkle will be giving away a Shopping Emily to one lucky person! For a chance to win, you need join the blog hop to comment on all of the designer's blogs listed here!. Then head on back to the SCRS blog and comment on the Emily post. You have until midnight EST each day to comment. The lucky winner will be announced the following day!

I am not part of the blog hop but thought people might be interested in seeing the work process of this rubber stamp image! :)
And here goes my finished version of Emily. Couldn't resist leaving her as just a line drawing!

I hope everyone has fun with the stamp once it goes on sale. I love how Simonne Clay used the stamp! Lovely colours and patterns!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Billie

Billie B Brown turned one in April and it was celebrated with the launch of the 10th book The Birthday Mix Up!
Sally Rippin, the author, also held a BIG Billie Birthday Party at  The Victorian State Library in Australia. It's amazing how quickly time goes past. I can't thank everyone enough, the readers, the parents, the wonderful team at Hardie Grant Egmont and or course Sally for making Billie B Brown such a successful series! (Although I don't really feel it much here in NZ....maybe I need to get out of my studio more)

The cover was a pretty pink one featuring balloons and Billie in a fancy yellow dress!
A new character named Poppy features in the story. Wanting to express variety in the Billie B Brown cast I came up with two possible options for Poppy.
Read the book to see which character design was chosen!
The story was told over several days leading up to Billie's Birthday party. I always want to mix girly, funky and a bit of tomboy in Billie's wardrobe! Here goes a little sketch I did before working on the internal illustrations.

Like all other books Billie faces some trouble in this story and in the original illustration brief there was a lot of Billie being upset. Karri, the editor, decided that maybe there was one too many sad Billies and replace it "Jack resolving the problem" illustration.
Speaking of Birthday parties I have recently attended a friend's 3year old daughter's birthday party. It was filled with candies, Easter eggs, games, face painting, cup cakes and fairy dust. With nearly 30 children's laughter (and a few tears)  it was such a fun magical day!

face painting

face painting

Birthday girl and her towers of cupcakes!