1 July 2015


Happy Canada Day!  I know -- this is not even a Canada Goose.  I joined a sketch crawl this weekend, and did some one-minute pencil sketches.  The one below inspired the finished illustration above in watercolour, wax, ink, acetone transfer.

26 June 2015

I Heard That!

Pigma 005 to 08

There was a bat on the cover of a book that the kids brought home from the library.  Above is the inked version.

And listen... Obama sings Amazing Grace.

31 May 2015

Let's start with endpapers today

Front endpaper - watercolour, charcoal, ink
Back endpaper - watercolour, ink

Recently, I have been preoccupied with endpapers.  Endpapers are the double-sized sheets that are folded and pasted against the front and back of the inside cover, and attached at the base of the first and last pages of a book.  Above are the front and back endpapers for my dummy in progress.

More than just decorative pages, endpapers can complete the experience of the story.  These are usually worked out through some combination of decision-making during book design involving the art director and editor, and sometimes the illustrator.  The best picture books always treat each part of the book with care, from design of cover, selection of typeface, placement of credits, and yes, what goes onto the endpapers.

Some picture book makers use the back endpaper as a fancy way to announce, "The End."

Pourquoi les hirondelles ne font pas le printemps?
Michaël Escoffier, Kris Di Giacomo
Back endpaper

The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt, Tony DiTerlizzi
Back endpaper

Some picture book makers turn it into a game for their fan readers, like Mo Willems', who hides his bus-coveting pigeon in the endpapers of his Elephant and Piggie books.

There is a Bird on Your Head
Mo Willems
Back endpaper

Some picture book makers use the space for instruction, like how to build and fly paper airplanes.

The Great Paper Caper
Oliver Jeffers
Back endpaper

Some picture book makers reinforce their story through the endpapers.  The Wave is about a girl being given a gift from the ocean.  The endpapers summarize this nicely.

The Wave
Suzy Lee
Front endpaper

Back endpaper

The endpapers for Sam and Dave Dig a Hole may not seem that remarkable at first glance - a simple colour change.  However, once you get the story... whoa!  So good.  "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen
Front endpaper

Back endpaper

My favourite are endpapers that become part of the story or add a new story.  These ones leave you wondering.  And that is a good thing.  In The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water, the front endpaper shows the obvious mix-up that we get once we read the story.  Then, if you turn to the back endpaper, there is another mix-up.  Cue potential sequel (spoiler alert), The Dragon Who Didn't Like Flying.

The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water
Gemma Merino
Front endpaper

Back endpaper

In I Want My Hat Back, we see the hat-less bear in the front endpaper.  At the end of the story, he finds his hat, as shown in the back endpaper.  But wait a minute... the rabbit is there too!  Hmm.

I Want My Hat Back
Jon Klassen
Front endpaper

Back endpaper

There are probably many other great examples of picture book endpapers.  These were just the ones handy on my book shelf.  If you have one, please share in the comments.

21 May 2015


Pigma 01 and 05

Here is ink doodling applied to lettering.  Original text was Georgia printed at 288pt, traced onto Stonehenge using my new light table (yay!), and then inked.  This will be used in a cover for a picture book.

WiP - pencil guidelines

14 May 2015

Cerulean Butterfly

Every once in a while, I try purely representational drawings to practice what Martin Salisbury calls, "learning to see."  This image is from a photograph.  Drawing is pen and ink; butterfly is silk paper painted blue, then inked.

WiP - pencil sketch

7 May 2015

More Birds...

watercolour, wax resist, pen, newsprint transfer

...equal a flock party.

4 May 2015

Happy Birthday!

watercolour, wax resist, pen, newsprint transfer

So many birthdays on the first two days of May...  Happy Birthday, AM, JL, KL-N, KN.  And welcome to the world, Lucas!