OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Spring 2018 Part 1

With Spring in the air, it's time for a fresh peek inside the sketchbook pages of illustrator members. What has everyone been working on? In the first of two posts, Illustration Features Editor John Shelley takes a look!

One thing that really signals the Spring is seeing artists and illustrators out and about with their sketchbooks, and SCBWI members have been busy, despite the curious weather! Whether hunched up indoors against snowy 'eastern beasts', or outside, sketch-surfing the unexpected heat waves, sketchbooks are the essential artist companions to explore ideas and reflect on the world around. In this selection our members reveal exotic to wet and windy realms, from fantasy to street observation. (Click on the artist names for links to websites).

Alex Edwards

My sketchbooks are normally full of drawings of animals from various days out at farms, zoos and museums. I was recently drawn to some colourful birds in a natural history collection – birds are so amazing close up and they don’t normally sit still! I like to use my doodlings for character ideas – so here is some work in progress. @alexaggdesign

Alys Jones

I quite often work lines of poetry that I like into pages of my sketchbook. Sometimes there is no immediate relationship between the two; one can develop or alternatively provide an interesting contrast. This was an enjoyable doodle with no purpose or meaning (but it is still one of my favourites). The poem is by Thomas Moore.
A very rough little pen and water colour drawing exploring character ideas for a new story. This never developed any further but I was pleased with this page in my sketchbook, and her enigmatic expression.

Andy Robert Davies

Fish, fish and more fish. I like drawing fish! There are countless shapes and patterns to use when creating these characters and this sketchbook spread is a result of me just having fun with the subject matter.
Big Hair. This is an idea I have for a one-off illustration and maybe even a story. It came about after seeing some illustrations of Regency wigs; when the consensus among the aristocrocy was that the bigger and more bizarre your hair piece, the better. @andy.robert.davies

Catherine Lindow

Character studies for current PB work in progress. I find it hard to get the age of characters right. Often I draw an older child than the one I hope to portray, then have to rework it.
Another character study. This one is the most useful, and I enjoyed the pose. @catherixx

Elizabeth Dulemba

I went to Bologna with a new sketchbook and a self-assignment, to fill it up with biro pen sketches. I didn’t fill it up - still working on that - but I did get pretty far! These are just doodles that make me happy.  @dulemba

Eric Heyman

Hansel & Gretel, a children’s story or nursery rhyme, this one isn’t quite finished yet.
This was a story about a little witch who lived in a tree and at the end of the garden was this old dark house, from a series of illustrations for a children’s project. @eric_heyman

Hannah Malkin

Collage doodling whilst sat in my favourite local cafe. I like to take a small envelope with tiny bits of paper/fabric in various colours, one larger bit of paper/fabric, scissors and glue and a pen. Then I just cut and stick and see what happens. It was a very windy day and the passers-by were having trouble walking.

Sketching whilst watching my children's swimming and diving classes. Pen and pencil crayon. @stoffolidolls

Jeannie Clark

Poolside watercolour sketch - almost too hot  - lovely!
And a rainy day pen and watercolour sketch of Hastings last week!

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Many thanks to the artists who sent in work. More images on the way next month!

Illustrators! There's still time to submit your work to the next Open Sketchbooks! Send up to three 72 dpi j-peg snapshots or scans of recent sketchbook pages, (we'll select up to two), together with captions and your website / social media contact details. Subjects can be anything from working drawings for children's book projects to sketches from life, or just having fun on the page. However, please don't send finished portfolio/commissioned illustration, or digitally manipulated images, this is all about working processes in physical paper sketchbooks. Submit materials to this submissions email address.

Header photo © John Shelley 


John Shelley is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures and the illustrator of over 50 books for children, most recently the picture book Magic for Sale with words by Carrie Clickard (Holiday House). He was one of the UK nominees for the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

1 comment:

  1. Pleased to be part of my first open sketchbooks! I love to see all the different styles - a great selection of lovely work. Alex E


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