Leanne Barrett: Illustrating with Flair: The Art of Creating Books for Children

Thursday 27 July 2017

Illustrating with Flair: The Art of Creating Books for Children

What kind of illustration are you interested in doing?
To find out the answer to this question and more we gathered at Gungahlin Library to attend a workshop by award winning author and illustrator, Stephanie Owen Reeder.

Stephanie showed us examples of books that highlighted the variety of illustrations that are found in children's literature;

  • picture book illustration
  • cover art
  • concept books
  • younger chapter books with black and white illustrations
  • illustrated books - novel style book that includes illustrations

What is your style?
Do you already have a style? I am not sure what my style is and during my year of creative discovery the 52-Week Illustration Challenge is helping me find my style. I know that I like working with watercolour paints but I am also currently exploring collage and acrylics.

  • What mediums do you like to work in?

Emotion sketch in 5 minutes
What are you good at and what do you need to practice?
Stephanie led us through a discussion about her illustration strengths and the strength of other illustrator's works. I like to do a variety of things and my most successful illustrations have been botanical and landscape pictures. See here for some of my illustrations. While I have had some success in drawing people (see link above) I also know that this is an area that  I need to practice (faces from different angles, emotions and poses) and my goal is to take some of Nina Rycroft online classes.

  • What are you good at drawing? eg: animals, people, backgrounds
  • What do you need to practice? 
  • Think about where you can go to learn some of the skills you need.
  • Draw every day.

Use reference material?
Stephanie talked about how she often uses photographs as reference material. If you don't have your own photos try resources like Trove or Google images. 

What's in your portfolio?
Essentially your portfolio will demonstrate your illustration range and versatilityStephanie reminded us to always refer to a publisher's website to see what they require you to send them before you submit any work. Research the publishing houses to find the ones that are most suited to your illustration style. 

Learn from other illustrators by viewing their books.

  • Read veraciously. 
  • Look at how do they draw? 
  • Do they include subplots?

Finally, read, read and then read more. 

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