Naomi Atkinson – Fiery Fred

Naomi is studying the Illustration Children’s Book Diploma with tutor Maggy Roberts.

“With Firey Fred I tried to pay attention the words ‘loose painting’ in the brief, but as I am very new to painting I am finding it quite a challenge! I admit that I have a tendency to be a little too precise with my drawing and painting and so I am trying to rectify this. I tried to keep the colours and shapes bright and bold, but at the end realised I had again not paid enough attention to the light source and shadows so I had to go in after it was dry and add a few shadows to try and rectify this. I was worried that this might ruin the effect, but apart from a few unwanted blobs I think I mostly got away with it. There are a few bits I would change if I was doing it again, particularly the ‘smoky’ bits at the bottom of his tail, I think they spoil it a little, I am also a little concerned that his expression makes him look like he is smirking rather than guilty. It is amazing the difference a small amount of line can make!

I am inspired by the the work of people such as Emily Gravett and Anita Jeram, they have a lovely loose painting and line style and this is what I tried to emulate with Firey Fred although I didn’t quite hit the mark. I also enjoy the energy and comedy of artists such as Quintin Blake, Ronald Searle and Chris Riddell, but feel a little like no matter how hard I try all of my drawings are coming out resembling Aardman Animation characters (another childhood influence!) I also have a book called ‘Smelly Louie’ by Catherine Rayner, her illustrations are very charming with expressive use of mixed media – I aspire to be so unhinged and extravagant!

On the whole I do feel like I am improving, I am finding techniques of getting ideas flowing, though it is always a bit of an uphill struggle to the end! I have been taking a few life drawing classes recently which has really started to help loosen me up and be a little bolder with my mark making”.

Naomi Atkinson
Children’s Illustration Course

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