OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Spring Selection Part 2

Features editor John Shelley takes a second look through sketchbooks of SCBWI illustrator members for the spring.

The fine weather shows that spring will soon turn to summer, but for many of us it's still a heads-down stay indoors situation. This is a year like no other for all of us, locked down in our home studios. But physical limitations are no hindrances to the mind - the pandemic restrictions do give us the chance to explore ideas and our imaginations. Here are a few more glimpses into the pages of member illustrators' sketchbooks.

Claire Llewellin

I’ve been playing around with a monster summer camp idea but it's only open when there is a full  moon....
A swamp-thing character playing with friendly eels

Wolf boy being comforted by demon girl & swamp-thing @clairellewellinmace

Eric Heyman

A couple of  ideas  from my sketchbook, just portfolio work at the moment, I like sketching ideas of a story sometimes in thumbnails or a few sketches , I’ve been developing a style which runs throughout my sketches and finished artwork especially for picture books. I should try and write a picture book. I nearly always have a theme or a story in my sketches which could easily turn into a story.


John Shelley 

Like all of us (I hope!) I've been sticking to the rules and staying very much indoors, luckily I've had some work to focus on and keep me occupied, in addition to daily social media doodles, so my sketchbooks recently have been mainly jotted scribbled ideas. Here are two sides of what I like to draw 
So very little opportunity to observe and sketch people out and about nowadays!
Bearing up! Some first pencilled initial idea studies, for a commissioned work @StudioNIB

Leanne Coelho

Character development sketches for a picture book in progress.
Ink and watercolour scribble of myself in the studio. @leannecoelhouk

Martha Lightfoot

I use this sketchbook a lot for drawing people when I'm out and about, and I'm really missing doing this during lockdown.
The pink sketches were made in a cafe in London, watching people pass close by the window on a rainy day.
The green sketches are from a trip to the British Museum with my teenage daughter, who is obsessed with Greek Mythology. I realised that museums are a great place to draw people, as they are so intent on what they're looking at that they don't really notice me!

Nuria Otte

This illustration is based on my little boy who likes to escape to a quiet spot for reading. I make quick pencil sketches and thumbnails from references to see the composition. Once I'm happy, I create a lights and shadows study before thinking about palette or technique.


Many thanks to all the artists who sent in work. Don't worry if you missed out, Open Sketchbooks will return in the autumn with a new selection! In the meantime, keep drawing, and let's 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. @studionib

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