Thursday, 31 March 2011

beaver and photoshop tests

 I want to use flat colours and characters without outlines for my beaver story and thought that using Photoshop might be the way forward. I am not that advanced with the program though and needed lots of swearing and head scratching to figure out how to do this.
I started practising with this image but soon realised that it had too many greys and variants of colour to work perfectly.

I moved to this beaver which is very black and white=easy for a computer retouching. 
 And here it is, the first nearly successful attempt to colour in shapes and take off outlines. 

 With this beaver I took my newly learned skills to a next level and figured out how to use Photoshop layering effectively and seperated the fur to its own colour layer! Hooray, technology!

beaver and squirrel

After studying beavers and squirrels the next step was to plan my characters. Beaver would be serious and hard working while the squirrel would be eccentric and rather bohemian. All these traits of character I picked from actual facts and thought it would make a good dynamic to mix these rather different characters together.

Trying out different techniques: above, testing different colouring-in techniques for the beaver and below, are some tests with soft pastels and ink.

The basic plot starts with the beaver anticipating her far far relative to come for a visit but she has no idea that the relative would be rather different to her.
Below is the first cross-section sketch of the beaver lodge. The lodge is the reason I want to do this book so there has to be a double spread of it!

This crying scene was meant for the end part of the story but I decided against it as it seemed to have a different visual language to the rest of the story.

obsessed by beavers

I am doing the Macmillan Children's Picture Book competition again... like there would not have been enough stress this year already. I have always been interested in beavers as they build so cool nests and dams. I also intentionally wanted to draw animals for a change. I began studying these curious creatures by visiting the National History Museum in London which actually was quite a disappointment. Luckily I flew to Finland for few days and had a change to draw in the Zoological Museum of Helsinki (sketches below).

My main source of information has been the book Beavers by Andrew Kitcher. Below are some sketches I drew while I read about the habits of beavers.

While studying beavers I have learned that they are relatives to squirrels and this fact gave Lee, my boyfriend, an idea of a squirrel visiting a beaver as it's far relative. I thought it was a great idea and started studying squirrels as well.

procastinating by baking cupcakes!

It's Easter break now and basically NO holiday for me. There is LOTS to do before I get that funny hat on my head on July. I have spent few days desperately sewing clothes for my Racing Granny characters but there is still too much to do with those.I have also done quite a bit for the Macmillan children's book competition(yet the main body of work is still ahead). I should post something about that one in here...

But today I distracted myself from all uni stress by baking cupcakes for the first time ever. As usual for my bakings they did not come out mega pretty but who cares if they taste good!

I took inspiration from garden gnomes...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

tourist bunnies

I should be rather disappointed as no one wanted to buy my darlings but instead I am secretly relieved. I managed to get pretty attached to these bunnies and was delighted to cycle back home with them. It was a sunny spring day and I took a detour route over Westminster Bridge. I couldn't resits asking one of the bunnies to pose for me in front of the Big Ben. This must be the first ever picture of Big Ben I have ever taken!

Ones over the bridge we had to stop to admire daffodils in St. James's Park. The whole family of GoodFriday bunnies jumped right in the middle of the flowers!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

goodfriday bunnies

We have an Easter Fair tomorrow at uni so I decided to contribute something to our table. I made these goodfriday bunnies. They are evil cousins of the Easter bunny. Above is the original sketch and one of the bunny heads. I hand painted each one of took a long time. 
Below is the process from floppy fabrik shapes to soft toys.

Now follows just some close up pictures...

skin and flesh too!

I've been a LAZY blogger.... but this is what happened next to my characters. Some lovely flesh (=cotton wool) and nice skin (=ugly grandma tights). Underneeth you can admire Granny's curves from a close up picture. She was the trickiest to do.
Now they just need to be clothed!