OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Autumn 2018 Part 2

Concluding our look through members' sketchbooks for this autumn, illustration features editor, John Shelley presents another crop from the creative harvest.

The nights are drawing in, but before we settle down for the cooler months here's a last peek through the pages of our members' sketchbooks for this year. We travel from Oxford and Cambridge, to France and Spain, through imaginative worlds of children, animals, and aliens. (Click on the artist names for links to websites)

Anna Violet

Quick biro and pencil sketches of tropical rainforest settings in volcanic craters to help set my scene and colours for a dps. For a recent SCBWI illustration masterclass.

Researching African animals to add to a rainforest scene. For a recent SCBWI illustration masterclass. @violet2519

Carol Jonas

I did these preparatory sketches when I was working on the Lilla Rogers on-line course, 'Illustrating Children's Books' earlier this year. I tend to cut things up and move things around, so I usually work on loose paper rather than sketch books. Zoe Tucker was the art director on the course, and also wrote the story.

Gaia Alessi

These are the early stages of a picture book I am currently working on for a private commission.
I can hardly claim that my process is linear and tidy! I tend to have a chaotic approach to development but apart from the odd panic day here and there, I love every moment of it.
I start with a ridiculous amount of thumbnails on tiny post-it notes and flying bits of paper (going down tangents is a must for me at this stage!). Then I choose a few to rough out at larger size so that I can iron out composition and tonal values, and then I will try out various colour schemes and renderings on two or three crucial spreads to check how best to maintain the emotional pitch of the story.
Wow! I sound organised!! In reality this translates to a lot of paper covering all the surfaces of a tiny workspace.
These are pictures of very early stages; still tweaking colour schemes. Wish me luck!


Imogen Foxell

My room on a hot day when I couldn't be bothered to go out and draw.
Waves on my favourite beach in Normandy. @imogenfoxell

Jeff Crosby

Portrait of my daughter on her scooter with homemade bow and arrows and thumbnail sketches for a middle grade book cover.

Observational drawing from the Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge and thumbnail sketches for a school brochure. @jeffcrosby

Katy Dynes

I have used the Inktober project to leave my desk for 10 minutes or so (no sketch has been longer than this- most are quicker), get outside for fresh air and have some 'head space'. I'm a great one for trying to 'live in the moment' and I think at this time of the year, most of the plants are too!

Inktober Day 5- prompt word, Chicken
Inktober Day 17- prompt word, Swollen- poppies  @kittydinners

Rebecca Carr

Here's an alien character development in my sketchbook from illustrations I have been doing for a book written by Patrick Dowman.

Sandy Thornton

Character planning with movable doodles for story inspiration.

Doodle ideas. @sandyillustrates

Shana Nieberg Suschitzky

I did these sketches whilst at the PictureCamp Residency in Atapuerca, Spain.
It was an amazing experience and these were useful sketches that I’m incorporating into my story that I was developing whilst there. The best part was that I cheated and put a more attractive building in view on one of the sketches, which I don’t usually do, but LOVED doing.

This sketch is of ‘La Dune du Pilat’ in Arcachon, France.
I visited it this summer whilst on holiday with my family and I can tell you, it was a really exhausting climb!! @shanaramadesigns

Suzanne Dore

This is a page experimenting with my main character for a story I’ve been trying to write for a while, it’s currently shelved…  but not forgotten. 

A few months later, still working on the same story, I needed to give my protagonist some friends, so got the watercolour paints out and played…   @suzannedore

Suzanna Hubbard

Both of these are called 'The Grenville Boys’ and they were made after a trip to Devon. I tend to work with memory a lot in my sketchbooks often to form the basis of new story ideas. They were inspired by seeing an old building in Brixham, Devon that many years ago used to be a boy’s orphanage for the sons of families whose fathers went to sea and mothers who had either died or were too poorly to look after them, it is now used as a centre for Sea Cadets. The building was imposing and rather eerie. It had a ghostly feel to it, I imagined what it must have been like for the boys, waiting and hoping for their fathers to return from sea.



Many thanks to all the illustrators who submitted work! Open Sketchbooks will be back with a fresh selection next spring, in the meantime keep drawing, keep creating!

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's twice been nominated as a UK nominate for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

1 comment:

  1. All brilliant examples as usual. One of my favourite features.


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