Monday, 28 July 2014

Princess Ballroom!

Last week I made a ballroom for the princess books.  It ended up being the biggest room set I have ever made! I thought it ought to be big though as it was a royal ballroom.

It was requested that the floor should be wooden which was something I had to think about how to make- because the floor was so big . In the end I found some very thin sheets of wood, cut them into individual miniature planks and stuck them down one by one. It didn't take as long as I thought it would and I was really pleased with the effect so that was all good!

Here's a close up of the floor:


It was also suggested that a grand piano could be included in the ballroom. I was very taken with that idea so went right ahead and created a gold glittery piano fit for a princess.


Here's how the whole ballroom looked. The pillars and panels were another challenge- something I had not tried before. I was pleased with how they came out though. I also used a string of fairy lights poked through the walls to create lighting round the edge of the room.

Again the flowers were another little challenge. I bought some cheap ones and then spent quite a while painting them (with Henry's help!) different shades of purple and then glittering them up.

I took a few shots without daylight to show how the lights on the walls light up. I think it looks more atmospheric this way. 

Here come some princesses!

 I especially like their glittery skirts:

I am looking forward to seeing how all this will look once it's photographed professionally and put into one of the books!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

I am a Witch's Cat cover

I thought I would show you the process behind creating the cover for 'I am a Witch's Cat.'


It was a long process. From my short time working as an illustrator I have learned that covers always take the longest. I think I have done a total of six covers so far and they always seem to be the most tricky to get right.

So the idea behind this cover was to have some sort of pumpkin field with little Witch's Cat frolicking around in it. Initially the idea was to have it as a daytime scene but you will see that changes through out the process. 

It started out with a sketch...

...and the sketch was tweaked until it was right. The line of washing was removed and so was the tree and green house.


Then I started to build the image in 3d. I began by drawing all the pumpkins.

And then painting them.


Then I made the base from a sheet of cardboard covered in crinkled tissue paper.

And painted it to give it texture.

Then it was time to arrange the pumpkins and character on the base.
 
And put some vines in between the pumpkins.


Then I painted the sky and took some shots!


The clouds looked too solid and the pumpkins at the front and back looked too out of focus. It definitely wasn't right at this point.

Tried it with a different background but there was still something missing. The editor asked if the pumpkins could be 3d rather than standing cardboard so I went back and made some 3d ones. 

Things started to turn around when I added some sparkle to the pumpkins. I suddenly began to feel more inspired about the cover and began to see it was looking much better.

But during the time I was sparkling up the pumpkins I had another idea and I wanted to try it out. What if instead of daytime it was night time and the title was surrounded by a big round moon? I tried it out.

I had to use about three (or maybe even four) lamps behind the moon to fully light it as it was so big! All the pinprick stars had to be lit too.

I liked the result. Luckily the editor did too but there were still a few changes to be made like lighting the moon up more and making the lighting more dramatic.

But we went with it!

And this as you know, is the final result:


It took a long time to get this cover right but I'm so glad I persevered with it. I am really pleased with how it turned out in the end.

Monday, 21 July 2014

One day to go...

I was thrilled last week to get a good first industry journal review from Kirkus.

To see it click HERE

I am extremely chuffed with it! 

I can't believe my book comes out tomorrow!

It is available from lots of places if you want to buy it: Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk to name a few. It is published by Harpercollins US.






Friday, 18 July 2014

Celestine is a witch's cat!



In anticipation of 'I am a Witch's Cat' being published (NEXT WEEK!!!!), I made Celestine a little black cat suit of her own.  She loved it so much that she wore it for days. She then demanded that I take photos of her posing in all the Witch Cat sets. I thought that actually was a pretty good idea! So we had a little photoshoot one Sunday morning and these photos were the result.

So yes these are some of the sets you can expect to see inside the book! I also thought this was a good idea becasue having Celestine in them shows more of the sense of space in the sets and shows how 3d they actually are. When they have my 2d drawings in them I think some people get confused. I've had people think I've done the whole picture on Photoshop in a sort of collage way before and that really isn't the case! I try to use very little Photoshop in my images. They are all built in 3d and then photographed- not collaged in any way.

Anyway here's actual Witch's Cat. In the books she doesn't have a name but I have always called her Tabitha.

I hope you're going to like her!