Updated: Oct 7
Hi everyone! This is my first blog ever and I'm quite excited to share a few things with you all about my journey into children's books. As some of you may know, I've been illustrating children's illustrations for a little over a year now and it's been such a journey, let me tell you!
Learning Everything From Scratch Again
To begin, everything started simply because I got bored of my own art. I didn't like what I was drawing, I didn't know exactly which niche I was into, it was a bit of a mess. I loved drawing everyday, but I had no clue what kind of work I wanted to get into. Everything I tried didn't seem to stick for very long & it actually made me question whether I was an artist or not. It wasn't until one of my professors from college introduced me to children's illustrations. I don't know why I never thought about looking into that field because everything just clicked that day and I felt like a kid in a candy store... To be dramatic, maybe it was love at first site, haha. When I first started, I had no idea how to divert my style towards children's illustrations. I had no experience whatsoever, I only knew that I wanted to draw picture books from now on. After doing a lot of research, I decided to try and create a few characters for different age groups, and, oh my god, was it frustrating! I felt as if I was trying to unlearn anatomy and that was much harder than I expected. However, after a while, I started getting the hand of it along with a new rendering method. Things were finally going a bit more smoothly. Between December and the beginning of the summer I found that there was so many things I needed and wanted to change. I had a style I liked, but I didn't have the narrative to go along with it. My professor in college had told me the following... "Kate, your drawings tell me nothing... They don't give the viewer anything other than the fact that you can draw." That honestly made me realize the cold truth. What's a storybook without a story or narrative? Dead cold picture? After my discussion with him, I went online and bought many picture books and studied them like I would for a test. I tried to understand how to create compositions that would help the viewer follow a story better, I started adding more characters interacting with one another and accompanying movements and props.
During the summer, I joined and hosted a challenge online called Midsummer Magic Month with a few other incredible artists. I had in mind to use the prompts and create my first book ever. I planned out my character and everything and I was pleased with the way my illustrations looked, but that event soon made me realize that I still had a few elements missing to complete a good narrative. I didn't include any side characters that would interact with my protagonist. Big yikes again.
Back to Square One... or Two
So after analyzing my pages, I started to pin point everything I needed to work on and then I began really intergrading that in my bigger illustrations. I asked myself (and still do) the following questions: "Who is my character? What is she trying to accomplish?" "How is she reacting to so & so? How is she communicating with people?" etc...
During the summer, I illustrated a story for 3dtotal (which is coming out soon), and a few other illustrations for independent authors. Unfortunately, I was still far from reaching my own goals in terms of my illustrations. How much more practice did I need?
So What's the Scoop Now?
So, after a few more tries and drawing for days, I'm now in my last semester of college specializing in children's illustrations. Our final project it to create one picture book by the end of the semester. I think this is a perfect way to test my narrative skills once again and hopefully I've learnt something new. My book is titled Tilly & the Woods. It's about a young girl and her friend Alejandro who go venture out into the woods behind their neighbourhood. While playing hide n' seek with the weird creatures of the forest, Tilly & Alejandro find a weakened tree spirit. After talking with the magical being, Tilly & Alejandro embark on a journey under the roots of the forest to find the item that can save the light of the tree spirit. My goal for this picture book is to be able to have a consistent style throughout, successfully tell a story through my illustrations and be able to deliver positive subject matter and themes to children.
Here's a snippet of a page!
As artists, there is always something new to learn, something to fix and room for experimentation. I have lots of hopes for this book, but I am very interested to know how I will feel after finishing it and what new challenges I will face along the making of it. I'll surely let you guys know! -Poopi