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Sweet Petite - Art Nouveau influenced illustration

Sketchbooks, Art Nouveua and Paris Indigo/Premiere Vision Print Show

There is no denying Europe is queen of decoration and I love decoration! I have always had a sweet spot for the elaborate, ornate and beautiful ancient artifacts of old. I didn’t realise until recently the appeal is all centered around pattern; simple objects combined in a flooded collection creating a visual explosion. A great example is Art Nouveau. As I look at styles of this area and those of Art Florentine and Art deco, it all accumulates into an inspiration that makes my heart pump that little bit faster.

This  week my evening downtime scribbles had a notable influence as this sweet little face fell onto the paper via my ink biro. I called this illustration, Sweet Petite

This is another inspired by this era:

Fabulous Fashion: Ink pen illustration in a sketchbook

Fabulous Fashion: Ink pen illustration in a sketchbook

Indigo/Premiere Vision Field Report

Earlier this month I posted on Supergraph to share a little insight on stall holders there. You can find the post here. This week my designer friend, Lidijia Paradinovic wrote an informative  report on Indigo/Premiere Vision print show in Paris.

It was interesting to note the preference of pattern buyers where drawn to the experience of feeling the pattern on fabric rather than when printed on paper. Additionally, the attraction to more traditional designs rather than trend orientated designs dominating the sales. You can read her report on Pattern Observer here.  Lidijia writes as she designs; decoratively. You can visit her website at Celandine Design.

Children's illustration: Four little girls playing

Illustration – Little girls ready to play – children’s illustration

Illustration: Inktober in ink

Illustration for INKtober 2014. Little girls so out to play illustration. #inktober

Children’s Illustration: Four ready for play

Today’s illustration is an illustration of happy little girls playing.  As I slop around the house in my comfy clothes I frantically flick the white-tail spider out of my hair – it must have crawled in there at breakfast! Glamorous or pretty is the last thing I feel right now but  as I throw my little sketchbook under the scanner for the first time today, I can’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction. It is rewarding processing little sketches; the special little creations that come from nowhere and from no real quantity of time. It is the quick, non-committal doodling that can be the most delightfully satisfying.

In the illustration they are dressed far more prettier than I am right now! They are ready for a fun day out, complete with handbags, a spinning top and a flag! They’re ready to celebrate life as little girls should. Today I get to celebrate their creation and name them if I wish. Yesterday they where no way in my mind or on paper. Now they could be anything; a stand alone illustration, a pattern design, a book character – who knows? The illustration is too lovely not to do something with it.

INKtober sketch a day sure is filling up my little sketchbook with illustrations dedicated to ink. What fun! I found an old pen I forgotten I had too. I’ll have to play with that as well.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my little girls today. Do you want to see more ink illustration? My page dedicated to all the INKtober sketches so far can be found here: Inktober Illustration

Inktober was started by Jake Parker in 2009. You can see his archives from this year on the official website. All credit to him for this initiative. I have decided to keep my sketches pretty simple due to project commitments and alike but enjoy the stress-free simplicity of that. You will find Jake’s lovely illustrations here:

http://inktober.com/

Focus Magazine, the Queensland Anglican church magazine reviews children's picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Felicity’s Favourite Hug Illustration

Now this is the stuff dreams are made of! My author friend Nola Passmore wrote on her Facebook wall…

Great to see the book “Better than a Superhero”, illustrated by Kayleen West, reviewed in Focus magazine (Magazine for the Anglican church in Southern QLD). They quoted a four-year-old called Felicity who said “I really like the pictures, especially the picture where the mum is hugging the boy because she loves him so much.” Way to go Kayleen!

It made me all gooey inside 🙂 This is the image little Felicity is speaking about…

Mother and child hugging. Page spread from children's picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Felicity’s favourite illustration from children’s picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Thank you to Focus Magazine and Kristy Schaeffer for a wonderful review!

Focus Magazine, the Queensland Anglican church magazine reviews children's picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Focus Magazine, the Queensland Anglican church magazine reviews children’s picture book, Better Than A Superhero. CLICK IMAGE TO READ

And last but not least, for Nola Passmore, who is always supporting her fellow authors any way she can, Thanks You Sunshine for the mailing copies of the review to me and the cute owl note! I think she knows I LOVE owls 🙂

Thank You Sunshine sticker badge

Owl Costume: Childrens illustration

5 more illustrations for #illo52weeks

I am doing a post catch up with my illustrations for the 52 week illustration challenge. I have been consistent in my artwork but no time to blog piece by piece. Here are weeks 26 -30.

Children illustration 52 week challenge. Weeks 26 27 28 29 and 30. Clouds, snow, feather, plane and Sydney illustrations by Kayleen West

Children illustration 52 week challenge. Weeks 26 27 28 29 and 30. Clouds, snow, feather, plane and Sydney

  • clouds: Following my daughter’s engagement announcement, naturally I had to make this theme a congratulations card. Ah, cloud number 9 – my favourite cloud. Pencil on toned paper.
  • snow: (Watercolour) Australia/NZ Christmas card illustration. The Kiwi bird, Koala and Kookaburra.
  • feather: A combination contribution to Daily Doodle (Owly) Pencil on toned paper.
  • plane: Plane was drawn whilst waiting for my sleeping beauty roomies ay the SCBWI conference to wake. I had started the night before while we were chatting (okay laughing our heads off) I was too pumped to sleep past 5am and besides I couldn’t miss my week’s challenge! Thankfully you can draw in the dark on my new potable Wacom.
  • Sydney: While in Sydney last month, I was making a call home when dozens of BIG bats flew overhead. They are so HUGE! Creepy and cute at the same time. Meet Melba, Phantom, Pavlova and Picasso hanging around the Sydney Opera House – naturally. Sketched in my journal and coloured in Photoshop.

The next 2 will be a little surprising. I have begun a new adventure into surface design not realising it would be so exciting!

Children's drawings for picture book Celia and Nonna. Grace and Nikkisha.

When children’s books are even more about the kids

Children’s books should be ALL about the kids, After all they ARE “children’s books” after all – right?

Creators can get caught up with the perception that it’s “their” book but the simple fact remains – it is ALL about the kids. The child reader is the one we get to bless with our new books – or is it just the reader? Celia became a quadruple blessing with a bonuses as the book unfolded. Let me explain…

The many child stars of Celia

There are five-in-one girls in my new children’s book book Celia and Nonna. Firstly there is the Celia in the author, Victoria Lane. The story is very much part of the little girt in her and reflects a special relationship to her. But when I created the character Celia 4 other little girls became involved.

First, let me introduce my star, Miss Shelby, child #2…

My cute child model for a new picture book Celia and Nonna. Shelby

Six year old Shelby was my adorable model for Celia. I needed a cooperative little girl for all the poses. In my mind the character Celia called for some tricky foreshortened poses within the page compositions. When I spotted Shelby on her mum’s Facebook page, I asked if I could visit and take photos and if she thought Shelby could pose. Could?…would?… Shelby was a dream to photograph! They say it is hard to work with kids and animals but Miss Shelby duplicated everything described. I would show her the dummy book thumbnails and demonstrated the pose and she mimicked it exactly. In 10 minutes we had ample posed photographs for the story. What a pro! Well done Miss Shelby – THANK YOU so much for being my Celia.

Child #3 who wanted to make picture books…

It was very easy to relate to Celia as she reminded me of the little girl I was. I love to make things for others. My mother encouraged us create our gifts – not buy them. I was taught the value of giving was not in what it costs but the heart’s intention. Nice one mum!

I identified created objects with items that would give others pleasure. I loved to wrap up little creations and pass them to friends and family. Navigating my world through my art and crafts was my way of making my world happier too and drawing was my favourite past time. When I felt unaccepted I found solace in drawing and paining as I could see improvement and words from others couldn’t take that away. Until I became a Christian that continued to be my comfort. It was pretty much the one thing I felt I could do well. I wanted to make children’s book back then but it wasn’t until 2009 I finally gave myself permission to take them plunge – and plunge I did!

My final 2 children, my two awesome artists, Nikkisha and Grace

Children's drawings for picture book Celia and Nonna. Grace and Nikkisha.

Children’s drawings for picture book Celia and Nonna. Grace and Nikkisha’s drawings are replicated in the page spreads.

Two more children were invited on board when an idea to include a real child’s drawings in the spreads. It was a childhood dream to create picture books so I thought I’d make a little publishing dream come true for someone else. My AWESOME publisher at Ford Street was happy and let me go ahead. He was brilliant to work with! I put a call out for children to draw something Celia would draw for her Nonna and got 2 drawings in time to use. Nikkisha (age 5) drew  lovely bees and flowers in her grandmother’s garden. You can see Nikkisha and her grandmother. Grace (age 7) drew the park with a tree, a car tyre swing, a bird and bee. Both drawings are wonderful.

I duplicated them in the pastel style of the books with a little editing (words removed and alterations to Celia and Nonna) but they are still very close to the originals. I wanted the girls to see they were still their drawings. I love your drawings girls! This element in the book was a lot of fun for me as an illustrator but it isn’t easy to duplicate the gorgeous art of children. Thank you for your contribution Grace and Nikkisha!

The children’s involvement was a highlight of creating this picture book. Positioning my mind to always be relating to the child reader, I can imagine and feel the excitement for these girls – LOVE IT!

Open Dyslexic Font in Children’s books

To top it off my publisher agreed to let me use open Dyslexic font in the book. I had come across the font in LinkedIn on a discussion thread and was eager to adopt it. If by using this font more children would enjoy the experience of reading books I was on board. My publisher felt the same. I told you he was awesome.

I don’t have family with dyslexia but I have a heart for literacy for all so whatever works I want to  adopt were possible. I have had some discussion with parents and specialist teachers who have said it does help many children – whoo hoo!

After already adopting the font I was told by a girl in her early twenties that she had only recently discovered she had dyslexia and had struggle for years to study as a result – how awful! Hopefully this is a small step to a better reading world in that area. Thanks again Ford Street!

Celia and Nonna. Picture books about grandparent and child.

Celia and Nonna can be purchase from this site (click image) or where all good books are sold.

Celia and Nonna is a significant and heart-warming picture book about the special bond between children and grandparents – and what happens when life changes. Grandparents ageing is a universal experience, yet it is rarely told in picture book form. In this story, young Celia finds a delightful and positive way to navigate this confusing time.

Get Well Soon gift card illustration. Child with chickenpox taking temperature.

52 Week Gift Card Challenge – #25 Dots

Get Well Soon gift card illustration. Child with chickenpox taking temperature.

Get Well Soon gift card illustration. Child with chickenpox taking temperature.

Week 25 – Dots: I have a few friends going through illness and my whole family has been affected by this horrible cold/flu going around. Naturally it was time for a get well theme. Dots was the perfect excuse for a get well card don’t you think?

Welcome to your new home gift card illustration. Boxes word illustration challenge #illo52weeks

52 Week Gift Card Challenge – #21 Boxes

Welcome to your new home gift card illustration. Boxes word illustration challenge #illo52weeks

Welcome to your new home gift card illustration. Boxes – Word illustration challenge #illo52weeks

A “welcome to your new home” gift card illustration – sketch stage. Of course one must unpack teddy first. Her mum has opened the kitchen box for accessing coffee ASAP – I soooo understand that. Caffeine is essential in any house move, several in fact. I shudder at the thought!

My last move was 4 years ago and still a nightmare I remember. The home owner hadn’t moved out when we arrived and left the house in a very dirty state. We had to do a frantic call out for help to half clean the essentials before we moved in. The removalists damaged several things, took cigarette breaks every 5 seconds and left us that night with half of our possessions on our front lawn. Yes we were expecting rain too and NO the removalist wouldn’t repair or compensate for the damage he caused. I won’t be moving again in a hurry.

I am thinking of adding a cat in the kitchen box to magnify the curiosity of the pets. I’ll have only its tail seen, poking up out of the box. Cats get into everything and know no boundaries. What do you think?

Interestingly, an obscure theme like boxes seemed impossible at first but in fact was easy once I began. I avoid painting the subject like a still life. Those days are over. I prefer more story. I also wanted to ensure I did a gift card illustration this time. I need to finish it in watercolour now. I will pop it on my blog when it is done.

The next word challenge is eye. I have already been working on this and it turned out to be an even bigger surprise. I’ll have something very different to show and tell next time; something I use as an activity in schools and hopefully a fun video idea. Stay tuned!

Kids Show and Tell Invitation

Teachers and parents: If you children are inspired by anything I share on my website blog I would love to see what they are creating and celebrate some of those creations. I would love to start an online gallery for kids to show and tell. If you have anything you want to share email me via my contact page. I would love to see!

Final stage in the child's oil portrait tutorial. "A Child's Prayer."

Child’s oil portrait tutorial in 7 steps

Portrait tutorial in seven steps - oil painting.

Portrait tutorial in seven steps – oil painting.

I am in the habit of taking progress photos of my work often and have a lot I could share on my blog. It is time to bring it all out to share inside of hiding away in my computer. This is portrait of a little boy I met in India late 2009. He was so adorable in his new church suit. I appropriately named this painting A Child’s Prayer.

First stage in the child's portrait - blocking in base shapes.

First stage in the child’s portrait – blocking in base shapes.

Stage 1: I began blocking in shapes. I squint to block out details and focus on the big shapes. This also helps when judging tones. Keeping my colours simple I began to create a form. At this stage I am looking for an approximate shape and not accuracy or likeness.

Stage 2 - child's oil portrait tutorial

Stage 2 – child’s oil portrait tutorial

Stage 2: I began to make more accurate strokes on the face and hands. Much time is spent pushing and pulling these features into shape. Portraits are challenging. Never stress over the likeness at the early stage. Simply look closer, at the abstract shapes, judging angles and proportions of each one. The face comes together more easily if seen as parts rather than a whole.

Stage 3 - child's oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 3 – child’s oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 3: I worked the face more. As the face developed I needed to work the background. This ensures I get a nice soft edge and the portrait doesn’t look cut out. In my reference there were people in the background so this one is entirely invented. I used a soft green grey to contrast against the beautiful skin of the little boy.

Stage 4 - child's oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 4 – child’s oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 4: Now it is time to move into the clothing, adding a little more blue and focusing on the folds – not every one of them, only enough to tell the story.

Stage 5 - child's oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 5 – child’s oil painting portrait tutorial

Stage 5: I have avoided the hands and feet long enough. Foreshortened body parts are the biggest challenge! It is time to be brave so in I go, again breaking down the shapes so the simplicity paints the impression for me.

Stage 6 - child's oil portrait tutorial - details in the clothing

Stage 6 – child’s oil portrait tutorial – details in the clothing

Stage 6: In this stage I work the whole painting, fine-tuning all over until I am happy with the shapes and tones.

Final stage in the child's oil portrait tutorial. "A Child's Prayer."

Final stage in the child’s oil portrait tutorial. “A Child’s Prayer.”

Stage 7: More colour is added. I work the background again and the clothing until I have the look I am after. In any portrait I work all areas several times until I get the result I am after. Sometimes it comes quickly and sometimes it is pain painstakingly drawn out. This one flowed well. I had a love for the subject and I think it shows – I hope so anyway.
Sorry about the glare from the light on the painting.

Download free oil painting tutorial – A Child’s Prayer

When your wold lacks colour, you can share mine. My inspirational quote and illustration for the them colour.

52 Week Gift Card Challenge – #20 Colour

This was done in a bit of a hurry while waiting for my husband to finish for the evening. I pulled out my sketchbook after seeing a photo of children playing in a tepee. I was battling to think of something original for the theme colour. The boy in the tend has a bit of a stretched neck but I post my sketches warts and all. The idea is to share my experimental work good and not so good.

When your world lacks colour, you can share mine. My inspirational quote and illustration for the theme colour.

When your world lacks colour, you can share mine. My inspirational quote and illustration for the theme colour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 52 week illustration challenge is still going strong. You can see what others are doing on the Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418616991575037/

Baby drawing a selfie. Children's Illustration on iPad using Procreate app

#4 Selfie Illustration

Selfie Illustration

I can’t tell you how much fun I had with this week’s them. I began by sketching the dog illustration first after remembering how hard it was to stop my walk and take a photo the other night and how obsessive we can be with our photos. Seeing the humor in it, I created this illustration. The runner is being interrupted by the dogs wanting a selfie. They are more interested in the photo than the walk – perhaps the way the world is turning now. After all, even dogs are on Facebook are they not? As far as it being suitable for a gift card? I thought you could always add text like “Everyone wants to celebrate your Birthday!” Anyway I had fun doing this. The funny illustrations are particularly enjoyable to create.

I took captured progress images so I will try to put up a working process blog if there is interest.

Dog selfie. Children's digital illustration.

Dog selfie. Children’s digital illustration.

Baby drawing a selfie. Children's Illustration on iPad using Procreate app

Baby drawing a selfie. Children’s Illustration on iPad using Procreate app

This was an iPad illustration I first did in Sketchbook Pro while I was waiting for hours in an emergency room some time back. I finished it in Procreate (I LOVE Procreate). I then realised I already had an illustration ready to go. Two is better than one – right?  I added the pattern in Photoshop.

You can view all posts so far for the 52 week challenge here

52 week illustration challenge. Gift card Challenge #illo52weeks Caravan

52 Week Gift Card Challenge – #3 Caravan

This week’s #illo52weeks subject is caravan.

52 week illustration challenge. Gift card Challenge #illo52weeks Caravan

I have to admit this was particularly fun to do. I played around with patterns and textured brushes in Photoshop. I am really enjoying the collage effect and will certainly explore this more in the future.

Next week’s #illo52weeks subject is selfie.

Note: My personal challenge this year is to do gift card illustration each week. The official list for #illo52weeks is any kind of illustration in any media, any age etc. I am combining the two challenges.

You can view all posts so far for the 52 week challenge here

Girl at the hair salon- children's illustration for Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday – Lush

My trip to the hairdressers is never wasted time. Armed with my boredom-buster; my small sketchbook, I scanned the salon for opportunity for a sketch for this week’s Illustration Friday theme lush. The moment I sat down I spotted my concept; a lush head of hair on a manikin’s head. The apprentice was about to de-lush the woman’s head anchored onto the bench beside me. In my child-freindly version, I sketched a child’s onto the head. I must say, Jess did a nifty hairdo on the manikin at the end.

I colored the sketch today as I was catching up on all the latest election news (we go to the polls this weekend). The joy of sketching made it somewhat more palatable listening.

 

Girl at the hair salon- children's illustration for Illustration Friday

Girl at the hair salon- children’s digital illustration for Illustration Friday – Lush

Girl at the hair salon- children's illustration sketch for Illustration Friday - Lush

Girl at the hair salon- children’s illustration sketch for Illustration Friday – Lush