Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Sidekicks - Drawing a Cat

I'm getting on well with the drawings for the new book. I'm at the stage in the story where Mum and Dad refuse to believe about the Bears on the Stairs. The text for this spread is: 'Mummy says it's my imagination. Have you cleaned your teeth? It's past your bedtime. Go on. Upstairs.'

Since the first two spreads take place in the living room, I thought for visual variety I would take Mum into the kitchen now, to make a drink for her and Dad.

Those with sharp eyes might have noticed that I've introduced a drawing of the family cat (Maddy's influence?) that doesn't appear in the actual text:

That's the joy of book illustration - I'm allowed to invent things!

A pet cat makes a perfect side-kick to the little boy in the story and provides another form of interaction with the bears. I talk a lot about drawing sidekicks in one of my videos. Cats are great to draw too - they have so much personality you can use.

I've decided this one is going to be stripy ginger (with a bright white belly) based on my Mum and Dad's cat Emma. That gives me lots of lovely orange to illustrate, and will work beautifully against the blue of the hall carpet. The white is also handy though for making him stand out against other colours where necessary.

I also invented a pet cat in Mr Strongmouse and the Baby:

He was handy for sort of representing our eyes on the action, reacting to events in our stead, and so adding another dimension, as well as something for children to spot:

In the Bears on the Stairs spread, in an echo of page 1, I originally had the koala through the open door making faces at the child, but because the door is between them, the child couldn't appreciate it. Now I've drawn it with a cat instead, it works fine.

The banisters are proving to be a real pain though.

They are always getting in the way. It took ages to get the koala visible enough through the gaps for his position to be readable.

You can see how the artwork for this page of the Bears on the Stairs book turned out here.


Joanna Dover said...

Love the cat! and love that the pictures have a story all by themselves (from lounge to kitchen to make tea) flows really well.

One thing though! - the view of the stairs from the kitchen is the same as the view from the lounge - impossible?! What if the lounge was opposite the kitchen - so the stairs would be reversed in one of the pics?

Jessie said...

It's great and the cat's a lovely touch!

Jochini said...

Nice works!!

Buskitten said...

Wowzerloof! Things are progressing at a right old pace Lynne! And it's all so fabulous - you are so clever; it's my wildest dream to illustrate a children's book, but I don't know if could! Seeing how you so expertly arrange all the elements on the pages - genius!

Carolina said...

Your work is so clean. Soft pastels are so messy...I love them but It is very difficult for me to draw something without contaminate the other areas. A few days ago I saw one pastel drawing of yours in which you explain step by step, but even like this, I can't achieve the same cleanness in my drawings! Can you give me a tip or something?.
By the way, I want to thank you because you helped me to feel so inspired again!!
Best regards,


Lynne Chapman said...

Thank you - I'm enjoying myself!

Joanna - the kitchen and living room are next door to each other, so the idea is the living room door looks onto the bottom step, the kitchen to half way up the stairs.

Carolina - make sure you are working as large as you can - A2 minimum. Work from the background forward and fix as you go along to stop getting 'muddy'. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne
Very funny characters you have on your blog / in your books (I think you need a tv series made of them)

Rosie said...

Ha, ha. I would be tempted to make a model of this house. Stairs are impossible to draw and so are hands playing musical instuments. I enjoy your thought processes as you work.