OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Autumn 2019 Part 2

With a final look through members' sketchbooks for this autumn, illustration features editor John Shelley takes another delve into the creative process.  

As the year draws to a close, and the Conference season is over, we conclude our glance through the pages of member's sketchbooks this year with another crop of working drawings, experiments and sketches from life. In this selection we travel from parks to the coast, Italy to the Far East, accompanied by goblins, sea-life and of course - children!

 (Click on artist names for links to websites).   

Bridget Marzo

A sketch done in London Fields playgrounds a couple of weeks back.

Catherine Lindow

I have had a really fruitful sketching summer and it has been wonderful for my work. It gives you a whole reservoir of unimaginable solutions to all sorts of problems you maybe didn't even know you had.

The two Meadows images are drawn in the late afternoon and early morning in the same area of parkland in Edinburgh during the hot days of the Edinburgh Festival.



John Shelley

I've been working a lot on dummies and sketches for submission this year, these hairy goblins are some exploratory character studies for a story.

John Storey

Preparation sketch for a 3D model of the head I'm building in the Blender app.

A few very quick pen and ink sketches using photos I'd taken on holiday in Japan.

Kerina Strevens

Working out for a drawing of my version of the town from 'The Pied Piper of Hamlyn'. It was doodling mainly from my head and from a few photos of old Germanic buildings.

From a book I want to do about a hare. A black and white version exists but I really would like to try it all in colour. I threw all sorts of media at this drawing.

Paul Morton

Sketch from Florence. @paulhotfrog

Ruth Grearson

My pages are often a jumble! This is one of my daily inch-square drawings done last September, for the House of Illustration John Vernon Lord inspired challenge, surrounded by some sketches of that day's commuters. 
A couple drawn on the train home from Cambridge, after a brilliant workshop with Juliet Docherty, aka the Colour Tutor. Focusing on tone and filling the page. @ruthgrearson

Soni Speight

Character sketches, trying to get to know how my character acts and behaves.


Trish Phillips

Resisting the urge to submit the sketches I find most satisfying in terms of a finished image I have selected some that are interesting for other reasons. Since having finished the MA in Children’s Book Illustration I find myself drawing from observation much more.

Venice - I love seeing how the least amount of marks and a hint of tone on a page can create a snippet of a scene with depth and movement, on the left. Also crowds move so fast it becomes like a shorthand to scribble a figure’s stance before they disappear.
Whitby by night - Try this, a real challenge – drawing by night, I mean so dark you can just about see your page, but can’t see the colours you are using. Great fun! Although I  prepared a page (with a grey emulsion as a mid-coloured background)  I had no idea what I was going to do with it until we got there. It was pitch black, very windy so the only option was to use oil pastels. Sitting in a graveyard and we lasted 15 minutes - I think some of my pastels are still scattered in the grass there if you should come across them! @trish.phillips.scribbles

Vanya Nastanlieva

Many thanks to all the illustrators who submitted work for Open Sketchbooks. The series will be back with a fresh selection of images next spring, in the meantime, lets fill those pages!

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 a three times nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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