Thanks for asking me to write a little about my ‘Row Your Boat’ illustration for part one of the Children’s Book Illustration Diploma Course with Maggie Roberts as Tutor.

As you can see I’ve used quite strong, warm colours to describe a moody twilight scen where bears row lazily down stream through a dreamy landscape.

To be honest I can’t say where I found the inspiration.   The curves appeared in my first thumbnail sketch as I considered layouts.  I had to keep the curves.  Then I tried a few roughs with different colour schemes.  The orange one seemed to work well and captured the warm light of a summer evening.  

The Thumbnail sketch that became the layout for the ‘Row Your Boat’ artwork. (Size about 8cm long and drawn in biro)

Now I will let you in on a secret:  I intended to mask off the bears before I put on a initial yellow wash.  The mask would have ensured the characters would stay paper white.  However, in a moment of excitement, or stupidity, I washed yellow everywhere having forgotten to mask them off.  If I had used watercolour paint I might have been able to blot off the paint but instead I had used acrylic ink which stays put when dry.  As a result the bears did not stay as vibrant as I had wanted them and I considered starting again after feeling terribly disappointed.  Something made me persevere and kept working on this version and after a while I managed to feel happier about the piece and the bears.  It turned out well in the end.  Mistakes are part of the process and we are always learning and no-one is perfect after all.

Finally I’d like to say that I am thoroughly enjoying this course.  The course reading materials are well written, jolly interesting and I am finding the exercises exciting and challenging at the same time.  I can’t wait to get cracking on the second brief.  Good luck everyone and stay safe.

Tracey G. Barnes
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma Course  

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