Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Educational Material: In My Opinion

Yay, I have finally received my copy of "In My Opinion". :)
If you have any children who attends schools in New Zealand they may come across this book this year!

When it comes to educational materials I try to keep stereotypes and negative assumptions away from the characters while sill trying to keep diversity in their ethnicity and personalities!

I thought I would share some work processes of couple of  spreads from the book.

In the first round of roughs  I was guilty of being a bit biased gender-wise???? It wasn't intentional but I was choosing "girly" pastel colours that featured girl characters and more intense, you could say, more boy-ish colours for the other pages. 

 For the second round of roughs I brought in more intense colours to these spreads and also started adding in details.

After that it was a few days and nights of mad inking, coloring and cleaning up the rough edges, all 17 pages plus cover and titles page illustrations! Now that I have the printed copy with me it seems that their designer changed things around a bit more. 
I hope my illustrations will bring a bit of fun to the reading classes in schools!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The growing Billie world.. Hey JACK!

I have just received some letters from Billie fans! YAAAAAY!
Thank you Jennifer for sending these through!!

Aren't they adorable? I never hardly receive fan letters (maybe because I'm just the illustrator???) but honestly these made my DAY :D 
Sally Rippin, the author, sometimes forwards me emails from Billie fans too. I just makes my job worth while. Thanks Sally.

There are couple more exciting news. The French Canadian market are selling Billie B Brown series as well! Joanna from Hardie Grant Egmont publisher has sent me some copies of "Lili B Brown" (apparently Lili works better than "Billie" over there). These french versions have sparkly glossing on the cover, so pretty. Sucks that I can't read french though...

The most exciting news of all, due to demands from the readers and bookstores, Sally has released new Jack series "Hey Jack". Jack is Billie's best friend, and this spin-off series are told from Jack's point of view. I don't do any of the illustrations for this series but it's really fun seeing bits of Billie's world crossing over and expanding!! Boys who are moving on from picture books or parents who wants to keep science fictions, dragons and swords away from their bookshelves will definitely enjoy this new series!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Go Girl Series 9: Back To School

 The 9th book in the Series Go Girl is out! "Back To School".

"Chloe's nervous about going back to school. She has to get used to a new teacher and harder work. But she didn't expect to be the only one to find the new math so difficult.
Is everyone else really smarter than Chloe?"

Go Girl series are full believable and likeable characters, I'm sure girls can relate to these books very closely. And NO, it's not all about boys, princesses or hating schools. Genuine stories, which I'm sure parents will appreciate too!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps T shirt Lucy!

This is rather a late announcement but Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps store took part in the CHA 2012 Winter Conference & Trade Show.

Isn't it amazing, it was in March 2010 when I first contacted Sparkle through an online freelance website. She was thinking of opening an online Rubber Stamp store and was looking for an illustrator to design her stamps. Out of many applicants I was chosen :)
Since then we have been releasing new stamps every month and SCRS has grown so much! I am so happy to be part of such a great design team! Thank you Sparkle!

Anyway Sparkle commissioned me to design a Tshirt for CHA (which took place in January) and asked me to use Lucy, as Lucy was Brent's (Sparkles hubby) favorite character!

I wanted to incorporate Lucy with the SCRS logo:

And ended up with the rough below!

Rough was approved and I coloured her in using the SCRS colours, light blues and greens, plus a few other palettes for variation!

 Sparkle was happy with the design and it was sent to the printers! Yay.
I have also sent through some monotone versions so that Brent can have the option to avoid wearing pretty pastel colours on his Tshirt :)

All seemed well but the printing place wrote back later asking me to reduce the illustration to only six colours so the final image ended up looking like this!

You scan check out photos from CHA here or on SCRS Facebook page. But you can't really see the Tshirt so I'm not sure which one they've ended up using! Still waiting for mine in the post :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Educational Material: Mind Your Manners

I have just received a copy of "Mind Your Manners" from PEARSON publishers. They have commissioned me to work on a few text books for schools around New Zealand. 
Unlike children's picture books, which takes about 6~12months to complete, these educational materials have very tight deadlines.... like three weeks to do the whole thing from the first email from the editor to sending them the final illustrations!!! 

But I didn't want this to effect the work quality, the last thing kids wants to read in class would be text books with horrible half-hearted illustrations. For me some of the most memorable stories are those from my junior school years when I was still in Japan and I believe that high quality illustrations had something to do with it! So I have tried my best to put in as much as possible into this one!

I love it when artists show their process in image making, so here goes some work progress of some of the spread from this little book.

In the first round of roughs I made the girl look too young and I had to make her look older in the final illustrations. Although I do love adding details to my images I was getting rather sick of drawing jars and containers when it was 4am in the morning... and I was actually in Australia doing a Billie B Brown tour with author Sally Rippin. We got to stay in beautiful hotels so at least I had nice surrounding as I worked on these (sucked that I had early starts every day though)

Anyway, one major downfall with these works are that I cannot buy them in bookshops as they only get distributed to schools. So this one copy that they have sent me is the only one I can get hold of... mum is not happy as she want to have a copy or two of all the books that I have worked on. Sorry mum.

Billie B Brown: The Cutest Pet Ever

The 14th book in Billie B Brown series is out! The Cutest Pet Ever! Being surrounded by animals all my life I can understand Billie's desire to have the cutest pet that she can cuddle and love.

 For those who are familiar with BBB books you may notice that I never show any of the adult character's faces. Billie's dad has been appearing in quiet a lot of the books so far and when I first drew his head from behind (in "The Birthday Mix Up") I brought out a bit of my own dad in him, especially the curly black hair.  But this illustration of Billie's dad baking resembles my dad the most! Although my mother is a great cook (ex-chef) dad has always been in charge of baking cakes for our birthdays and Christmas.

I always had preferred drawing animals rather than people, so it was really fun drawing for this story.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps February releases!

Gosh! I have been so busy lately! Moved twice during the past three months! 
We have finally settled into our new flat now... still living amongst boxes but all the essentials are accessible. Except there's not enough power points at this new place and I have actually ran out of extension cords....so my PC is set up next to the freezer right now.

Also my laptop's charger has decided to die out on me. So no laptop... which means no scanner or printer, as my 15years old scanner and printer does not want to be compatible with my PC's Windows7. Hence I kept my laptop as Windows XP. Sucks, there's nothing wrong with my scanner and printer, yet Windows 7 decided to reject both. Feels wrong to buy new ones when the old ones are working fine... oh what to do...

Anyway, enough of me moaning. Here goes some belated announcement of February releases at the Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps, starting with Leprechaun Oliver! St Patricks days aren't really celebrated in NZ so I am glad to get the opportunity to illustrate for this particular festive season.
I love how Kerri used this stamp to make this beautiful 
St Patrick's Gift Box! Isn't she just clever

Pam was SCRS's February guest designer.

And I looove the funkiness of Savannah's design!

Easter Bunny Ruby was the second stamp that was released this month. When Sparkle asked me to do a Easter Bunny Ruby I immediately wanted to put her in some fluffy bunny ears poncho and fluffy bunny feet! Glad she liked my rough!
Simonne fascinates me with her cute design!

Margie inspires me with her attention to detail!

 Also another little release... from January actually! Poor Tea Set Rin was ignored by me last month, I was totally overwhelmed with work, packing and moving. Better late than never though, here goes Tea Set Rin!

Another beautiful card by Simonne!

All these new stamps are all available from the Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps store so check them out!