Sunday, 7 June 2009
Well I mentioned a few posts back that I was having a crack at a children's book illustration competition.... I think it's safe to post up my submissions now as, like 894 other people, I haven't been selected as one of the lucky 6 to go through to the second round... ho hum. Of course I'm a bit disappointed but it's all part of a jobbing illustrators life I suppose. If your work isn't right for the project that's all there is to say about it.
I was really happy with aspects of the artwork I produced. Being a bit outside of my comfort zone with illustrating fairies (they wouldn't be my first choice of subject matter, but again, all part of being a working illustrator, so a healthy exercise) I felt a need (rightly or wrongly) to push the fairy envelope somewhat and come up with something a bit different. After researching Julia Donaldson's (the writer of the Gruffalo and also the competition text entitled "Freddie and the Fairy" ) working practices and inspirations I opted for a folk tale feel to the illustrations. As the fairy in the story was called Bessie-Belle I just had to style her like a bell, and once I had that shape it was just a small step to depicting her as a Russian folk art Matryoshka doll. Maybe the judges didn't approve but it helped me find a direction for the submission. Another decision I made early on was that I didn't want a bright green spring / summer forest setting which would be too similar to the Gruffalo. For me autumn is more visually inspiring, so the colour palette for the artwork came quite quickly. I was very happy with the loose leaves in the Bat background piece.
So a lot of sketches and a couple of late nights later here's what I came up with. I don't think I'd do things much differently if I had my time over (although Freddie does need a redesign).... but I'd love to know where I went wrong with respect to what the judges wanted :)