These past weeks I have been working on the illustrations for Emily, Brave and Swift. Of course, this does not mean I have not been busy with all other aspects of creating, marketing and publishing children's books. I most definitely have. But if I am to arrive to the point where Emily, Brave and Swift is ready to be published, I must allot x amount of hours to completing the illustrations.

I must own up to something: I am not a professional artist! Okay, there, it's out! I took exactly one drawing class in college and nothing more. No advanced coursework, no graphic design, no watercolor, acrylic, charcoal or oil painting classes.  But I have a passion for art and have enjoyed drawing and sketching since I was a young girl. The painting part came later, when I was asked to help my then, eleven year old daughter (who is now eighteen) with an art assignment--reproducing a Picasso. We did a pretty good job! Her art teacher never returned that painting, hummmm?

My initial plan was to locate and hire a commercial illustrator to work with me on Emily... Although I touched base with a few artists, I was unable to connect with anyone who could produce the concept I was looking for and work within the constraints of my itsy-bitsy, almost non-existing budget. So, my husband suggested that I just do it myself. My last choice, of course, was to do it myself. I honestly didn't believe I had the skill set to produce the images I was looking for to bring this story to life. And on top of that---it would take me forever to create the eight to ten pages of art. But, I guess, tag, I'm it.

At any rate, my process is pretty basic. I decide which activity or event in the story I would like to capture. I do a rough draft on sketching paper, refine the work until I'm satisfied with the concept. I then copy the drawing onto heavy, acrylic stock. I use acrylic paint in most of my artwork. It is actually my favorite medium--it's versatile, dries quickly and allows me to easily make adjustments. Some of my pieces are mixed media, where I may add some charcoal for definition and contrast or I may use oil pastels, which can be tricky to work with but produce images that actually come very close to looking like an oil painting.

In the near future, I hope to move towards producing digital art. Many artists now sketch the artwork then scan into one of the graphic design/paint programs, like Photoshop or In Design to complete the painting there. Some artists actually draw and paint the product from start to finish using these types of programs. I can't even begin to image. Wow, I am totally in awe.

Here's a little teaser (I cropped off a portion to avoid giving part of the story away):

Emily moves toward the galley to investigate the frighten sounds that have awakened her in the night. She presses open the great wooden door, sword raised and comes upon...


More illustrations, marketing and book reviews to do. Until my next post...

Best!
Until the next time.