OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Spring 2019 Part 1

Our regular look inside illustrators sketchbooks is back. Features Editor John Shelley presents the first of a two part Spring selection of workbook drawings.

For me, nothing welcomes in the warmer months more than seeing submissions for a new selection of Open Sketchbooks! The sun is out and SCBWI illustrators are adventuring out of our studios, producing sketches from life, as well as imaginative working drawings for children's books. Here's a first selection, let's have a look! (Click on the artist names for links to websites)

Alex Edwards-Agg

I love these “Umbrella” pine trees which were everywhere near our apartment in Spain last month.

My kids sit still on planes, so I have quite a lot of drawings of them in headphones!

Carol Jonas

I've been working on a picture book dummy recently, here are a couple of the sketches.

Claire O'Brien

My favourite medium for final illustrations is gouache but recently I have been using it to sketch in the wild wherever I can.  My tips for doing so are to pre-mix your colours (or just the grey tones at least) on a palette before even leaving the house and let them dry as they can be reactivated on-site with water.  Don't forget to leave one empty space on the palette for a little water, using loads would be disastrous in a spill and it's hard to juggle a separate glass/cup if you are standing up with a sketchbook and palette in your hands.  Take loads of kitchen roll to soak up the water after painting as there isn't always a place to empty it.  And clean your brushes properly at home.

Newborough Beach, Wales.

The Girls enjoying the sun on the banks of the River Ouse, York. @claireobrienart

Clare Tovey

This page is from my "by the sofa watching tv" sketchbook:  I repeatedly draw footballers and football matches - my dad used to play fairly seriously, so I am sure there is a story brewing! I also try to capture facial expressions from the tv, which is just research and practice.

This one is a working drawing for sewing the clothes for a knitted character I am making for the picture book dummy I am working on. @clarabelledraws

Clare Yerbury

This was an exercise in drawing a humorous animal. On holiday I drew a cow in a field first, using a soft pencil. Later I played with black biro sketch versions (A6 x 4).

When observing out and about, I often draw on sheets of paper, A4 or folded A4, and then cut and stick the sketches into a sketchbook. Here, three sketches were drawn on different days and when cutting out I suddenly really liked the idea of creating a montaged scene (Pentel Arts Pocket Brush pen, and Pitt permanent bold pen, A4). @clare.yerbury

Ellie Beykzadeh

Developing the main character for a girl power story
Sketching different activities the main character will try throughout the story @elliecolorsphotography_design

Linda Aitch

The sketches are an assortment of characters from a story I have been writing for ages but haven't finished.  I just keep adding more characters to it as I go along. It is fun to do. They all live in and around a place called "Bonkershire."
I draw them with a rotring art pen and sepia ink.
 It isn't exactly for children but I don't really have any age in mind . Just passes the time away scribbling them down.

Niki Leonidou

These are some acrylic paintings I did, then I worked on them with pencils and digitally and the final artwork was printed on Easter candles.


Paul Morton

Sketch done at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds.
Victorian amputation scene using life size models

Bug caricatures for frog book in progress.  Paul Morton Blog

Penny Taylor

A sketch of my goofy spaniel.

Sketching done watching TV programmes and trying to catch likenesses. FB: Penny-Taylor-Illustrator

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

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. Send materials to the 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 'A Purse Full of Tales', a book of Korean Folk stories, for Hesperus Press. He's twice been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in 2018, and again in 2019.

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