children's books · illustration

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!
children's books · illustration

Covers – The Case of the Feathered Mask…

I was asked recently to do some writing for a rather lovely blog called Wonderous Reads which is all about books! Wonderous Reads were interested to know what goes into making a Maisie Hitchins cover, so I put together my thoughts as well as a couple of early sketches for The Case of the Feathered Mask and made a post. It you would like to read about how the Maisie Hitchins covers come into being then have a look here: Marion Lindsay Talks Covers It is a super blog and well worth keeping an eye on if you are a book-lover like me!

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children's books · illustration

Maisie Hitchins is on the loose again

I have new Maisie Hitchins books to report!

Holly Webb has been doing lots of writing and I have been doing lots of drawing and the result can be seen in the form of  The Phantom Cat, The Feathered Mask and The Secret Tunnel which are all out now. As well as scampering all over London in her adventures, Maisie’s stories are heading over to America where the first book in the series “The Case of the Stolen Sixpence” is going to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September. The Case of the Spilled Ink will be coming out in the UK in August too, but I can’t show you any pictures yet I’m afraid! For now here are the new covers:

The Case of the Secret Tunnel

The Case of the Feathered Mask

The Case of the Phantom Cat

American edition Stolen Sixpence

children's books · illustration

Maisie Hitchins hits the shelves!

Both the first book The Case of the Stolen Sixpence and the second The Case of the Vanishing Emerald were released in May and are proving to be popular with small would-be sleuths across the country! You can read some lovely reviews by children on Little Tiger Press’ website and below are some sneak-peeks inside the Stolen Sixpence…

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MH_dressing up

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Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Stolen Sixpence
Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Stolen Sixpence
Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Vanishing Emerald
Maisie Hitchins and the Case of the Vanishing Emerald