OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Summer 2017 Part 2


Illustration Features Editor John Shelley presents another peep into sketchbook pages submitted by our illustrator members. 



Illustrators are inspired by many things and many tools, sketchbooks are a great way to experiment with a variety of subjects and techniques, all contributing to our work with children's books. If you missed last month's collected images check here, this second selection has everything from character designs to landscape, bottled bats to slug smoothies!

Laura Hole

Two amalgamated sketchbook pages of doodles and character designs for a gender-flipped version of Snow White that I made for my dissertation. I have also entered the full dummy version into the Macmillan Children's Book Prize.
© Laura Hole

Alina Surnaite

Pencil sketches of my twin characters, Ellie and Maggie, chasing a water vole. © Alina Surnaite
 I develop these two-page narrative sequences to get to know my characters better. © Alina Surnaite

Leila Nabih

These two pages are preliminary sketches of two nursery rhymes, "Row Row, Row your boat" , and "I'm a little Teacup". I then render digitally and colour digitally. © Leila Nabih
Here I'm doing a thumbnail first attempt at the picture book pages of a book I'm working on. It's still in the very rough stages, so I usually don't draw too strongly so I can rework, erase and redraw as I move forward. © Leila Nabih

Michelle Wilson

Reference sourced and character sketches. Piggie drawings from Cotswold Wildlife Park. There was a particular pig there who was so light on her feet, very dainty in her steps, that inspired my ballerina pig character. © Michelle Wilson
Current work for a children’s book. Doing sketchbook drawings of my characters helps me to understand them better, get to know them. I keep their images around me while working on thumbnails and storyboards. The thumbnails shown are version five after having had a valued group critique about my PB manuscript with my SCBWI friends...still work in progress... ©Michelle Wilson

 Patrick Miller

Fairly typical very first thumb-nails done for a recent project for OUP - really fast loose, just exploring the composition mainly because they're rarely accurate first time around. Sometimes though the final images do exactly follow the very first sketches, hence including this one - the 'wolf chase' scene final art is one of my favourites ever and changed little from the very first thoughts on the piece. © Patrick Miller
Mixing project process pieces (the cat on the left was an initial ink sketch for a pet portrait commission, more caricatured than the final art), while on the right nothing pleases me more than just doodling especially faces and characters. The smoking girl would never appear in a children's book of course, but I'd been researching Joseph Szabo's photos of adolescence and it's all gotta come out. © Patrick Miller

Paul Morton




New ideas for my Bug Belly the Frog book.  © Paul Morton

 Rowena James




Two recent sketches from my travel sketchbook. The first is from a Bank Holiday trip to Mottisfont Abbey, and the second was done in Sennen, looking towards Land's End. © Rowena James

 Sally Kindberg

Here’s a notebook page (character sketch!), reference for my Draw It! London book
Marilyn features in it. © Sally Kindberg

And another notebook, notes for a work in progress. © Sally Kindberg

Open Sketchbooks is an ongoing selection, so if you're an SCBWI BI illustrator member and haven't shared anything recently please get in touch! Sketchbook pages covering everything from drawings from life, to working drawings for book projects, character development or imaginative experiments... we want to see what you're up to! (no digital work or finished portfolio art though please - this is all about the physical pages of your paper sketchbook)

Please send one or two submissions (jpg format please) to the illustration features editor John Shelley, don't forget to include any captions and your contact details!

*Feature Header Image: © John Shelley




John Shelley is the illustrations features editor for Words & Pictures.
Twitter/Instagram: @StudioNIB


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