More from the back of the cupboard

This week thought I’d show you some illustrations from the other book I mentioned last week – Eco-Rangers Save The Planet: Earth-friendly missions for green kiwis, written by children’s author Maria Gill. This book is A5 size, and could be slipped into a back pocket. It’s full of ways young people can think about the their environment and finds ways to keep it healthy. I was asked to draw the two main characters first, and make the boy and girl a bit funky. The book was aimed at young teens, so I looked through a great Taschen book on recent illustrations to get an idea of styles. My work would be grades of back on white, with green and blue being the background print colours.

I used smooth illustration board, as it prints well, and cleanly. The editor had a feel for good design and that was great help, as I tried to produce images to suit his thinking. The illustrations were scattered throughout the book, and were quite small generally. I really enjoyed drawing these, as they covered everything from drawing vegetables, fish, a globe in a hothouse, hens, cartoons, a dog and the main characters.

Hot-house warming

I have always loved drawing and never use rulers to achieve my lines, as many have asked me. This image is showing graphically the effects of global warming on our earth. I use the same techniques for the next image which is highlighting the overuse of electricity in our homes.

I used grades of graphite, from H through to 2B, and pen. I did use an edge of paper to get the crisp edges in the cast shadow, but the rest is freehand.

I have always enjoyed sketching houses, or buildings of any type. Perspective is fun to do, and with these wee drawings I had a great time, as it was up to me to invent the images.

I love getting the tones right too, making sure there’s an obvious light source to create the light, middle, and dark tones, and using a middle tone for the cast shadow. I aimed for a similar effect when I drew the main characters. A more graphic, than realistic look.

And as much as I liked doing all the drawings for the book, when it was published, I also enjoyed talking in schools to students about the book and running art workshops. We worked on perspective, and I had the students draw their own boxed vegetable gardens, using examples from the book. Now, that was fun! Next week, more sea creatures.

11 thoughts on “More from the back of the cupboard

  1. You have an exciting cupboard! I look forward to more treasures. I totally agree with Krishna’s remark. That chicken has character.
    Wish I could participate in some of your workshops. So interesting.

  2. How wonderful Vivienne! Such a variety of illustrations…I wouldn’t have known where to start! Your two teen characters are spot on…And you had the opportunity to meet and help your young audience in workshops as well! What more could an artist ask for? Congratulations!

  3. Lovely pictures, Vivienne, and such a worthwhile project. AND such straight lines! (My hand seems congenitally incapable of drawing a straight line freehand.

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