Thursday, 28 May 2015

Bath Children's Literature Festival Illustration...the process.

I have been asked by the Bath Literature Festival to create one of the iconic 'Big Red Chair' illustrations.

The Red Chair is the symbol of the children's festival and so it's a great honour to be adding my work to a list of esteemed heroes of mine with Chris Riddell, Tony Ross and David Roberts being just three of the inspirational illustrators who have all created a Red Chair illustration over the years.

In this post I thought it would be nice to show the stages I went through to create the finished piece.

It was important that the piece was created using traditional materials as all the Red Chair illustrations created this year are going to be exhibited and auctioned off as part of the festival.


After initial panic and deliberation over which media to use I cracked on with sketching out the characters in various positions around the chair until I was happy with the final composition.

Sam was initially dancing on one of the chairs arms

Princess Daisy was wiggling her toes in my original version.

I decided it would be fun if Big Eared Bob made an appearance!

Drawing Daisy and Kitty together in one illustration was fun :)

Getting the scale of the Dragon just right was a tad tricky

The final sketch was ready after lots of tweaking, head scratching and biscuits.

Once I was happy with the composition and all the characters sizing and poses it was time to test a bit of colour.  I decided to use a dry medium, coloured pencil.

A mini colour test version of the illustration

I tested lots of different colours - it's amazing how different the assorted makes of pencil are - it took me a while to decide on each characters palette, but I got there in the end and started to colour each section of the drawing character by character;

Scottie Dog is NOT happy about something...

Kitty is my current favourite character to draw. It was really enjoyable re-creating her in coloured pencil

It was quite nerve-racking as I kept going...

Finding the right colours and textures for Shifty was tricky.

This is also the first time that Spider and Snail have met on the same page!

The original sketches, colour test scribbles and final artwork

After a few hours the illustration was complete - no spillages or disasters!

The finished artwork will be exhibited alongside the other Red Chairs created by this years illustrators including Jim Field, Tor Freeman, Alex T Smith and Yasmeen Ismail.

All of the original artworks will also be sold at auction.

For more details of this and everything about the festival please visit the Bath Kids Literature Festival website HERE.

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