Grace Battiss

My nem is Grace Battiss and I am on the Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma With Maggy Roberts. . The project gave me a chance to enjoy thinking about what in my life, that I actually know and experience, is always looking for a home. Having chickens free in the garden, I’ve noticed that towards evening they are often looking for somewhere to sleep that is safe and comfortable. Being in the branches of the trees is all very well but when there are chicks for a mummy hen to look after, perching on branches is a bit more problematic. As a child my family had a little bantam hen that would sleep in a basket on the top of the fridge, she would wake us very early to be let out into the garden. Anyway, the point is that I have kind feelings towards hens and their dilemmas.

Again returning to childhood, I used to love making things out of paper, so I returned to that. Also, there are many paintings done in watercolour that I really don’t like, and I decided to recycle them. Taking these ‘reject’ watercolours of mine, I made cut-outs of the chicks, the mummy hen, the flowers, the apples, bananas and the flowers with leaves. Each element was built as it’s own object.

Once each paper element was cut-out and glued together, they were photographed and pulled into Photoshop where the background was cleaned out. The most time consuming was doing each flower and leaf. The apples, bananas and hen were one contained unit so much easier. Once the elements of: each single flower & leaf; hen, bananas, apples and chicks were placed, I used photoshop to give the elements weight and give the image depth.

The final and magic trick which I shouldn’t really share but will, is I used a photo of a painting I did years ago, in oil. From this painting I photographed and cut out the vase and then also photographed and cut out the window in the background. This gave the table top and background a slightly rough surface which helped knit the photoshop shading (which can look banal) and the watercolour cut-outs.

Grace Battiss
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma

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