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marionlindsayillustration

About illustration, pattern and the love of doing arty things

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children’s books

into the unknown

I’ve been working on new colour images for my portfolio over the last few days but so far it is looking suspiciously like a black and white portfolio that I’ve coloured in… hey ho! Here is one of the things I’ve been working on; this is Gnat, a brave little fellow flying all alone into the deep dark forest.

bookworms

I’ve been focussing on creating new black and white work recently but when these guys came along I realised they needed a little colour. They are bookworms discussing the merits of “Maisie Hitchins -The Case of the Stolen Sixpence” and the Victorian era in general when lots of people (and worms) really enjoyed wearing top hats. This picture is put together using drawing and collage and features a Marion wallpaper design in the background.

inky quadrupeds

Here are some inky drawings featuring creatures that don’t have an awful lot more in common than the number of feet they possess and the fact that I like drawing them! Above is a wingless dragon and below a couple of horses and…well I’m not altogether certain what the one at the bottom is. I made these with my favourite exhausted 1 cm wedge brush and black acrylic ink. I think these creatures are trying to get me to write them a story…

horses

horsey-dog

Zoey and Sassafras

I’m working away on a new and exciting series of chapter books at the moment and here is the first cover! Dragons and Marshmallows is the first of three titles in the Zoey and Sassafras series written by multitalented superlady Asia Citro of Fun At Home With Kids fame. All three books will be coming out in March 2017 from American publishing house The Innovation Press. It’s a bit of a dream illustrating these books – not only do I get to draw pictures of Zoey and her constantly entertaining cat Sassafras, but I also get to draw monsters and dragons – perfect! Here is a sneak peek at some of the interior illustrations from book 1:

Z&S-DRAGONS-artwork-p55

Z&S-DRAGONS-artwork-p36-37

Z&S-DRAGONS-artwork-p7

chapter-header9

 

further experiments in ink…

I have been doing some more work lately using splodgy ink and a feathery brush. I quite like the results and I thought I’d try adding other collage layers digitally. The black dog above is the result of ink and collage combined and the creatures below are ink applied with brush and dip pen. There’s a story there, I’m just figuring out what it is…

meeting-of-the-minds

the-pointy-finger

 

 

scruffy garden dog

I like scruffy dogs, they are the best kind if you ask me. Here is one that’s been padding around the garden lately, sniffing everything and contemplating life. I think he might be looking for a friend…

scruffy-dog-colour2

witches at Ramsey Ram Jam

Witches were abroad at Ramsey Ram Jam this Saturday! By and large they were about 50cm high, made of paper, card and various sparkly things and looked a bit like Bella Donna

The children who took part in my workshops made some truly magical work and I think they were extra inspired by the previous day’s visit from Ruth Symes who is the fantastic author responsible for penning the Bella Donna series.

Ramsey Ram Jam is a super event with all sorts of workshops and talks from authors and illustrators who this year as well as myself included: Matt Brown, Nicola Killen, Lizzie Finlay, Steve Antony and Helen Moss. Thanks to all the children and parents who came along and the library staff and volunteers who make Ramsey Ram Jam a wonderful event for us all to be a part of. Below are some of the stunning results from witch class:

witchy1

witchy-medley1

witchy-medley2

witchy2

witchy21

witchy15

witchy18

Maisie travels the world

I’m delighted to find myself in possession of some of the co-edition copies of the first three Maisie Hitchins stories. It seems that intrepid Maisie has now travelled to France, Poland, Indonesia and America! I love to see the differences between the books, the Amercian edition for example uses a little scroll for the series title “The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins” and underneath its dust jacket the book is a perfect reproduction of the notebook that Maisie carries everywhere with her – what a lovely detail. Thanks so much to Emily at Stripes Publishing for rounding these up for me!

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence in American and Indonesian editions.
The Case of the Stolen Sixpence in American and Indonesian editions.
The Case of the Phantom Cat in American and French editions.
The Case of the Phantom Cat in American and French editions.
The Case of the Vanishing Emerald in Polish and French editions.
The Case of the Vanishing Emerald in Polish and Indonesian editions.
American hardback copy of The Case of the Phantom Cat
American hardback copy of The Case of the Phantom Cat
Phantom Cat interior - American edition
Phantom Cat interior – American edition
Maisie book stack
Maisie book stack

Maisie Hitchins – The Case of the Weeping Mermaid

May saw the launch of the last story in Holly Webb‘s wonderful mystery series Maisie Hitchins. This book is called The Case of the Weeping Mermaid and its action centres around dark and mysterious London docks which were the perfect setting for a front cover. I took photos as I was painting the cover so that I would later remember the different stages and here they all are below from the sketchiest beginnings to the final scan. I always find it challenging painting covers, they seem to go through a lot of different stages and look fairly awful for most of the time until suddenly at the end it all comes together – always a bit of a relief!

Here is the sketch for the cover ready to be transferred onto watercolour paper, as you can probably see I changed my mind about how the clouds were going to look!
Here is the sketch for the cover ready to be transferred onto watercolour paper, as you can probably see I changed my mind about how the clouds were going to look!
Here is the cover all drawn out on watercolour paper and I've just begun painting with the most important bit - Maisie!
Here is the cover all drawn out on watercolour paper and I’ve just begun painting the most important bit – Maisie! As you can see the sketch is to hand and I’m working in acrylic ink. There is a lot of empty space here which is to allow for the title and Holly’s name which will come later.
Here you can see the monotone background is beginning to appear, everything is still quite pale.
Here you can see the monotone background is beginning to appear, everything is still quite pale.
I've kept on working into the background to boost the colour and tone and to strengthen the shadows, and Maisie is getting more vibrant too.
I’ve kept on working into the background to boost the colour and tone and to strengthen the shadows, clouds are beginning to appear and Maisie is getting more vibrant.
Now the cover is nearly finished; I've added highlights to give the feel of moonlight and everything has an outline to bring it all into sharp focus.
Now the cover is nearly finished; I’ve added highlights to give the feel of moonlight and everything has an outline to bring it all into sharp focus.
Here is the finished image, scanned this time. The tendrils of mist were the last thing to arrive, they were made by painting dilute white acrylic ink over the top of the painting.
Here is the finished image, scanned this time. The tendrils of mist were the last thing to arrive, they were made by painting dilute white acrylic ink over the top of the painting.
Here is the finished cover as it looks with all the text in place - what a difference!
Here is the finished cover as it looks with all the text in place – what a difference!

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