Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ink Dot Collaborative Mandala

Four Brillustrators (Donough O'Malley, Jane Davies, June Goulding and Josie Maskell) recently contributed to a group show with Ink dot Prints, based in Bristol UK. The mandala was made up of pieces contributed by eighteen artists. All the artists, designers and illustrators were working independently of each other and had no idea of how it was all going to look together. You can see our contributions in the isolated pictures below the main picture.
Prints are now available to buy via the Ink Dot website, and all profits go to the children’s charity, The Kid’s Company.

Monday, 16 March 2015

How To Draw A Monster

Hi there, I'm Laura Elliott, the person behind Drawesome Illustration and a member of Brillustration.  Today, I'm talking monsters...

I see illustration (or even being creative in general) as a skill that needs to be exercised, a bit like going to the gym to get better at sport.  Before a big work out, it helps to warm up so that you can kick ass when it comes to the meaty bit.  In illustration-land, my favourite warm ups tend to circle around monsters - mostly because there's no right or wrong way to draw a monster!  This benefit of monster drawing means that anybody can draw them - yes even those people that say they can't draw at all.

In today's blog post, I'd like to share with you one of my monster-drawing exercises, as I think it's a really useful tool for creativity.  Give it a go and share with us - we'd love to see what you come up with.

Step 1: Shapes
Firstly, grab a drawing tool.  Pen, pencil, crayon; whatever floats your boat.  On a piece of paper draw a random shape.  Here's a bunch to give you an idea:

Pretty random huh?  Ok, so I like this one:

Step 2: Features
Give your monster a face by drawing in some teeth, eyes, nostrils and so on.  I even added an extra ear as you'll see below.

Step 3: Detail and Shading
Here is where you ask things like "What would my monster feel like if I petted it?" and "How does it hear, or eat, or walk?"  These leading questions can help you fill in some of the details, such as fur, scales, extra limbs, claws or even accessories.

By using shading, I start to give the critter a sense of form.  Sometimes I'll draw a simple star shape further out on the paper to suggest where the light may be coming from, which informs how I shade the monster.

Here you can see my finished creature which went from 0 to Monster in a few simple steps.  By starting with a shape, it helps to avoid the initial worries of drawing a monster and feeling that it had 'better be good'.

If you liked this exercise, I run a creativity-flexing, monster-drawing workshop bookable through The Art Troupe where you can get more gems like this one.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

My First Commission

Every month or so we will be encouraging one Brillustrator to take over the blog and put up a post ...

Introducing Brillustrator... Richard Dearing


The power of social media really works!

Last week I was contacted to provide a book cover as someone actually liked my style.

It was my first paid commission and took about 14 months to get it.

Having not engaged in any art for about twenty plus years, I picked up the pencil again during a period of illness and decided to draw a cartoon a week and put it on Facebook, just for the hell of it.

It was to just be a joke of the week and make me keep to a deadline and push myself.
It turned into an on going story about a depressed sailor who gets into adventures with a seagull that visits his window.
I kept it going for about 40 weeks before deciding I really needed to write what was to happen, rather than make it up as I went along. So currently its on hold. (But will return one day)

A couple of other things were created, a Holmes and Watson story, a Monster Story and then...

"Hi, I like your style and need a cartoony book cover and I'll Pay!"

Terms were agreed and the above Picture was the result.

I've probably prattled on a bit now, but I'd love to post again as I've not even covered making the picture.

Comments are always appreciated.

Have a great Sunday.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Book signing at Playfull Toyshop!

Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth have taken up residence in the window of Playfull Toyshop! (on Gloucester Rd, Bristol). Brillustrator Paula Bowles will be reading her book and signing copies at the lovely toy shop this Saturday 7th March, from 11.30am. Children can also decorate their own woolly mammoth too! Come and Hi!

Read a lovely review here to learn more.

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408839660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408839669

Monday, 2 February 2015

What I did on my holidays!

Written by Jenny MacKendrick

Hello, I'm Jenny and I'm a member of Brillustration...

I thought I'd tell you a little bit about what I've been up to recently.  Sadly I haven't actually been on holiday but I couldn't think of a good title for my blog post.

Last year I illustrated a book for The History Press a lovely publisher in Stroud.  The book is called Can Crocodiles Cry by Paul Heiney.  It is a book of fascinating facts, things we all really need to know the answers to, like 'why do we get old?'

'can monkeys swim?'

and 'can fish love each other?'

You'll have to read the book to find out the answers.

This year what I've been working on so far is still top secret.  But if you know me you'll know I'm not very good at keeping secrets.  All I can say at the moment is that I've been drawing dogs, lots of dogs, nearly 300 of them.  They are for 4 gift books that will be out towards the end of this year about some of the silly things dogs get up to.  Which is probably why we love them so much.

Since I can't really show you any of the secret dog pictures I've drawn you a picture of my own dog Shona and her puppy friend Kato.  They are Hungarian Wire-haired Vizslas and pretty special too, although I haven't really captured all of their fluff in my drawing.  There may be a sneaky peek of some of my dog drawings on my website in the near future but not just yet...

P.S. My studio buddy the excellent Paula Bowles  will be on BBC Radio Bristol tomorrow between 2:30 and 3pm as part of Bristol's Library Week.  Yay!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

On the radio - Paula Bowles

I'm very excited to be at Thornbury Library next Tuesday 3rd Feb, with BBC Radio Bristol! It's part of the lead up to National Libraries Day , myself and 2 other authors will be talking about our books and our libraries. The radio station will be at a different library each day and Tuesday is our turn.

Tune in to 'The Afternoon Show' at BBC Radio Bristol next Tuesday 2 - 3pm!

Listen Again here;RADIO BRISTOL

Paula is introduced at around 47.30

Paula Bowles
Twitter: @Paula_Bowles
Facebook: Paula Bowles illustration

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Solitary Bemusement.

Happy New Year to everyone. Hello to the new year, new work, tax returns, short days and long nights. Those days when the fluff from your new winter jumper inevitably ends up in your scanner and your coffee goes cold before you've had a chance to drink it. We all know how hard it is to get going in the morning and wake our eyes up enough to start making things happen.

 What happens to our sleepy brains however when you work on your own? Or even, when don't even leave the house to clock on? Many people have told me it sounds great. Some days it is. Other days not so much.

I pity the poor editor or designer that rings up for a quick chat about a rough or a deadline. Half an hour later they know all about my week, what I heard on the radio yesterday. My agent can often put down the phone knowing all about my health, my children and my current favourite illustrator. You see, I don't get that kind of chat at work, that coffee in the morning to catch up with peers and colleagues before the computer gets cranked up. I recently spoke to a fellow illustrator who said that she had actually nearly lost her voice through lack of use. I can empathise. Most illustrators and authors I know are very chatty and friendly people. After chatting to the nice man from the NHS blood line for nearly 15 mins about the school run and the scourge of un-picked up dog poo these days, I think that yes - often I don't talk to enough humans in day.

Yes, this is me, working away through the night. I often wonder what the badgers think as they sometimes set off my security light.

Feeling alone with tea. Endpapers for forthcoming book 'Daddy Lions tea party' by Mark Sperring. 

This year, I will have been an illustrator for 21 years. During that time I've balanced my life with a few part time jobs. Retail jobs mainly and I've enjoyed them all. I've worked full time as an illustrator for just over 10 years and on reflection it's the day to day 'chatter' of a job that I enjoyed.
God bless Facebook. Thanks heavens for Brillustration. There we all are, sat behind our screens often with something to share, chat about or moan about. Brillustrators have often saved my sanity on 'those days'. When you have a technical problem, a publishing puzzle or simply feeling grumpy. Our meets ups and big communal draws are a great way of feeling more human.

Feeling solitary on a good day.

The internet can have a flip side though when you're feeling like an island. Speaking for myself I have a little devil in my ear on occasion that tells me "Hmmmm. What you're doing is a bit rubbish isn't it". I slap him down as often as possible but sometimes up he pops when I'm viewing images/books/illustrations on the internet. "Woooo look at THAT!" he says "That's soooo good. That's much better than anything you do. What are you doing just sat here on your own colouring in?". Irritating. Very tedious. However, I reckon anyone creative has sometimes felt an inner wobble of confidence when seeing other creative works that are out there. The internet can definitely inspire and motivate, but it can also bring out the worries. I think if I didn't work on my own I would perhaps hear the devil a bit less.

Solitary gloom?

I tried having a studio out of the house about 10 years ago. It was a great place but it didn't work for me. I found myself having to work long hours into the night. Many other people in the studio space went home at normal hours and I was left on my own feeling lonely again just in a bigger room. These days, it suits me to work all night at the bottom of my garden in my pyjamas where I can drudge 30 seconds to the house to flop face down into my bed eventually.

The reality is, I like working on my own. Me, my thoughts and my little fire. BBCiplayer and Netflix are my friends. My new years resolution is to meet more fellow illustrators for daytime coffee and cake, take more exercise and basically carry on. I'm really very lucky to work as I do. My head is often in fairylands, imaginative cityscapes and woodlands. How great is that? I'm sure the self-doubt devil will keep me company once or twice this year but I'll be able to nod politely then send him on his way so I can get on with the business of spending quality time with my radio and my own imagination.

I'll put the kettle on.