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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: childrens illustration, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Meerkat Love

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CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE

It has already been a year since I feverishly put my portfolio together for the 2013 SCBWI L.A. Summer Conference and this was the art I used for my promo postcard. And here we are, the 2014 starts next week! Where does the dang time go?

I won’t be making the conference this year, but I am really jealous happy for all y ‘all that are attending this year! Yessss, so, so very happy (clenches jaw.)

But seriously! I’m thrilled for you, especially the folks who haven’t ever attended before. You’re going to love it and get so much out of it!

I’ll be waiting with baited breath for photos and to hear all about it!

 


4 Comments on Meerkat Love, last added: 7/25/2014
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2. Illustration Samples: Karate

hl-karate 4 up samp

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3. Elegant Elephant, Arrogant?

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..A PERFORMANCE YOU’LL NEVER FORGET

… although a  repeat performance may depend quite heavily on the tightrope’s tensile strength.

………………………………………………………………………..

The Illustration Friday theme of the week is “repeat.”

So.

You know.

This.


4 Comments on Elegant Elephant, Arrogant?, last added: 7/24/2014
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4. I’ve missed you!

Long time no see!

Actually… I’ve been busy working on a new Halloween book that will be released in 2015.

But Sometimes you just have to stop and say hello to old friends.
Like Fairy Mary here. She’s one that has gone through several designs.

Hello Mary!

fairymary1

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5. Happy 4th of July!


4th of July kitty 450


3 Comments on Happy 4th of July!, last added: 7/4/2014
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6. Independence Day

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin
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Happy 4th of July!

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7. Happy Father’s Day, y’all

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4 Comments on Happy Father’s Day, y’all, last added: 6/16/2014
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8. Some ideas come fully formed and some show up on the fly

I get a lot of ideas while I'm doing something else. Most come while I'm on a deadline, of course. This painting came to me in the shower fully formed with the caption already written.



Text reads: Once there was a girl who made a wish.

It took a couple of tries to get the girl right.

Close up of the moon. I used old books in English, Italian, Japanese, and Latin.

Now this one came as an idea about collaging fish scales, but a friend thought it was a mermaid. 
I rotated the canvass and decided she was right!


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9. On The Drawing Board…Dogs, etc.!

I’m working on and finishing up a few projects, and all have a dog or dogs. Also, in different styles. Below are clips from the final or working toward final illustrations.

may-together

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10. Leap of Faith

bunny fly 450

Sometimes

ya just gotta

take it.


4 Comments on Leap of Faith, last added: 5/29/2014
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11. Paula: Mother's Day Puzzle--With Raccoons!

Samples came the other day, of the fun Mother’s Day illustration I worked on for a back-page puzzle for Clubhouse Jr. magazine I had a lot of fun with this. I worked in a bit of a tighter style using a very thin line. I’m really pleased with how the final printed piece turned out. And the raccoons still make me smile! Below are some photos of the final art.



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12. 30 Years on: A Canoe in the Mist

I like anniversaries, especially when they concern my illustrations! So here's another fond memory - this year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Elsie Locke's A Canoe in the Mist.

Cover of the 1st edition
The Waka Wairua. Title Page vignette

This was my third commissioned book contract, after Jeremy Strong's Fatbag (A & C Black) and Roger Collinson's Get Lavinia Goodbody! (Andersen Press), both first released in 1983. Like them, it was a commission for black and white text drawings to a novel. Unlike those titles however, both of which were fun, humorous books requiring comic drawings, this new commission was a dramatised narrative of real events during the catastrophic 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera in New Zealand.

McCrae's Rotomahana Hotel in Te Wairoa.
Lillian meets Mattie
Canoe in the Mist follows the story of two girls during the eruption.  Lillian Perham lives in the village of Te Wairoa with her widowed mother, where western tourists flock to view the famous pink and white terraces, natural stairs of silica pools on Lake Rotomahana. Set in a volcanic wonderland often described as the 8th wonder of the world, Lillian only has chance to see the terraces herself when she befriends Mattie, the daughter of visiting English tourists. But the day they set off for Rotomahana the waters of the lake are mysteriously lifted by a tidal wave, the tohunga sage of the local maori village propheses disaster, and a mysterious ghostly apparition of a canoe, waka wairua, is seen on the lake. 

The Terraces (unused version). This 1/2 page drawing was re-drawn as a full page illustration for the final book (artwork now lost)

That night the volcano violently erupts, followed soon after by fissures underneath the lake that destroy the terraces and turn Lake Rotomahana into an explosion of steam and mud, burying the Maori villages of Moura and Te Ariki, killing 153 people. Caught in a deluge of debris and mud, the girls, parents and villagers struggle to escape a world that has been torn apart.

The first eruption
The commission came at the very end of 1983 from Jonathan Cape publishers, at that time based in Bedford Square, long before they were absorbed by Random House, I think it was simply a case of showing my work in their office at the right time. It was a fortuitous commission, coming soon after I'd moved to London, I threw myself into sketches straight away.

Character studies for Lillian, Mattie and Sophia (unused)
Visit to Hinemihi, the Maori meeting hall
 This was of course, long before the internet, so finding accurate reference material was going to be a struggle. Despite the book being a historical topic my editor was unable to provide visual references, I knew very little about New Zealand in the 1880's, and despite my suggestion Jonathan Cape wasn't about to fly me out there to do some ground research! However my local library in Crouch End was a tremendous help, especially on information on Maori culture. The publisher also passed on my queries to the author in New Zealand, who after a short while very kindly sent me a package of photos and cuttings outlining the region today and before the earthquake.

Tuhoto, the village sage

What I didn't realise until much later on however, was just how deeply embedded in the background of the book the author was. Elsie Locke (1912-2001), writer, feminist, historian and peace campaigner, is today recognised as one of the most important figures of New Zealand culture of the last century. Although she passed away in 2001, the Elsie Locke Memorial Trust continues to promote her life, work and writings, and sponsors an annual competition for young writers in New Zealand.
Elsie Locke in 1991, courtesy of the Elsie Locke Trust

I was a young struggling illustrator in London, for me New Zealand seemed a very remote and exotic place at the time, and yet the correspondence I exchanged with Elsie not only brought the region to life visually, it helped greatly to spark my imagination.

Before the eruption guests discuss the unusual signs

The drawings were largely crafted at my humble abode in London - this was just before I joined a studio so I was working on the kitchen table in a shared house. One morning in a curious parallel to the book's plot I almost lost everything. I walked into the kitchen and found it awash with water - one of my house mates had run a bath upstairs then completely forgot about it -  the bath overflowed, water poured through the ceiling into the kitchen beneath, the table was drenched, my drawings were soaked. This in itself wasn't quite as much of a disaster as it sounds - indian ink is waterproof after all, but my flatmate had compounded the problem by pinning each wet drawing to the washing line with rusty old clothes pegs, which made horrible indelible brown marks and ripped the sodden paper.

The hotel ablaze
So, many of the drawings were re-drawn from scratch, some of them several times, with time running out I finished the book in the much safer and more comfortable environment of my parent's house in Norwich. But eventually all was done, the artwork was delivered.

Rescuing a surviving horse from the mud

This book was a major watershed for me (excuse the pun!). With the painful experience of my own little disaster in the kitchen flood I was desperate to find somewhere else to work, so straight after completing the artwork for  A Canoe in the Mist I joined with my old friend, designer Andy Royston and co-founded Facade Art Studios in Crouch End, right next to the library that had been so helpful in my research.

Sophia addresses the survivors. This was the finished version intended for the book, but a mix-up led the designer to use an inferior preparatory version instead!

Looking back at the drawings now they're clearly an early work with some rough edges, also there were a couple of slips by the designer too - one drawing was reproduced back-to-front, in the case of another an inferior first version was printed instead of the intended drawing. Were I to illustrate the book again now I'd handle some drawings differently, and I certainly would not have given the art director more than one version of each drawing! But these were learning times, I was just beginning to find my feet as an illustrator, and to this day I'm proud of my involvement with the book, and the writer. A Canoe in the Mist was re-issued by Collins in their Modern Classics series in 2005, though, due to constraints of the series, sadly without any illustrations.

The families struggle through a deluge of mud
Survivors

Interestingly, though the Pink and White Terraces were thought to be utterly destroyed and the area left largely uninhabitable, in 2011 parts of the Pink Terraces were re-discovered still in existence, hidden under thick layers of mud.

The final illustration - escape through a devastated landscape

And there lies a strange parallel - I assumed my old drawings for the book had also been lost long ago, but recently was amazed to discover them in my dad's loft, including some sketches and alternative versions that never made it into the final book. So for those who don't know A Canoe in the Mist, or may only have read the unillustrated Collins Classic edition, here they are!



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13. roomy as summer

This was made for the brilliant STEW magazine recently.

roomy-one

roomy-two


Filed under: children's illustration, poetry, songs, summer

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14. Voyage

voyage 450RULES OF THE HIGH SEAS

1. Ducks do not make good leaders. Although they are arguably among the most optimistic of species, it is due in no small part to their chronic shortsightedness.

2. However, if you need to be bailed out, a bunny is the first critter you should call.

3. Bears will sink your boat.


10 Comments on Voyage, last added: 5/14/2014
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15. The Swamp Where Gator Hides as an App

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The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by me, Roberta Baird is now an app!! Click here to download it at 20% off!  Dawn Publications Book App

Preview it now!

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16. 2014 Houston SCBWI Conference

Saturday, April 27 I attended the Houston SCBWI annual conference.
I started out earlydriving. Houston is a pretty big city and it takes a while to get across town.

Our keynote speaker was Gary D. Schmidt, the author of the Newberry Award winning book, The Wednesday Wars, and many other wonderful books.                                                                                                                                               His talk was brilliant and his depth of feeling was so inspiring.          “Our stories are complicated ones…they are never one dimensional.”  His bio reads, ” He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.”   I know… pretty cool all around guy, right!

The_wednesday_warsNext….”Qualities of a writer: humility, good humor, grace, patience and gratitude” says Stephen Fraser, literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. That’s good advice you can apply to all aspects of life!

He’s been voted the top agent for both picture books and Middle grade fiction. …and he rocked and awesome bow tie!

Other speakers included Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Books,  “Don’t save anything for the next book, you may get hit by a bus tomorrow” Lol!

Julie Ham, spoke about The Elements of Award Winning Non-fiction.

Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director at Viking books, walked us through the process of making  picture books and how the direction of a book can change.                                                          Then he lead a very informative illustrator break out session about what makes a good promotional postcard. The following morning he presented a story boarding workshop.
What a fun guy, great personality, and he dances too!
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These are some of the postcards I picked up at the conference.

But the best part about the conference…and something I didn’t see coming at all …                       I was the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the illustrator showcase!!                                                        So thank you  Jim Hoover, I’m so grateful!                                                                                                  And thank you to the SCBWI conference staff, it was one of the best!

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17. Laaaaady!

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VANITY, THY NAME IS LADYBUG

Feigning death among man-bugs is quite common when asked this particular question, according to leading entomologists. It is only the brave or perhaps feeble-minded who would hazard an answer.


5 Comments on Laaaaady!, last added: 4/30/2014
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18. Houston SCBWI Conference

Whose ready to paint the town red?
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See you there!

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19. Animal Parade

animalparade_RobertaBaird72

The next group to follow,
Was a most marvelous band,
Playing marvelous music,
In this most marvelous land.
~Robert Ball

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20. Survival

t_rex tie shoe 450Alas, “survival of the fittest” would not be a concept that worked out for Rex.

The Illustration Friday theme of the week is “survival,” so…


3 Comments on Survival, last added: 4/7/2014
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21. Spring Fling

pig ballernia redo 450

Fa la la la la!

Such a beautiful spring day like today makes me want to dance like a… um… a ballerina… ahhhh, pig.

That’s a thing, right?

Why not.

I want to dance like a ballerina pig!


8 Comments on Spring Fling, last added: 4/10/2014
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22. A Tribute to Dr.Seuss

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I’m super excited to be apart of this years Children’s Book Art Silent Auctions at the BEA this May, 28th! This years auction has a special showcase tribute on everyones beloved storyteller Dr. Seuss.

DrSuess

This 8×8 print which is printed on Premium Giclee Paper is on its way to the ABFFE offices and ready for its new home! If you’re interested in participating in this years auction which supports the fight against book censorship please visit the ABFFE website more information about attending this years showcase. {www.abffe.org}

Excited to see you at the show!

 

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23. Paula: Easter Bunnies at Work!

Just a little bunny fun for Easter!

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24. Paula: April '14--Fresh Off the Drawing Board

I had some big illustration projects lately, and below is a little snip of one of the finished illustrations. Can you guess where the scene takes place? I think I made it too easy. : )

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25. Presents for the Earth

Earth Day 2014 450


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