Busy, busy, busy.

I know, I know…I’ve been neglecting my “blogging” duties, again (see here for further evidence) but this time I’ve got a cast iron excuse.
I have been hugely, extremely, phenomenally, extraordinarily busy. I have been so busy that my skin looks like pale tissue paper and my eyes are the size of plates! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I prefer to work in a darkened room, by no other light except that from my monitor; so any prolonged amount of time spent in that sort of working environment really plays havoc with one’s boyish complexion!

Now I’ve a tiny break in my workload I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been doing and show you some new bits and pieces.
First off I finished illustrating a play written by Julia Donaldson ( the current Children’s Laureate and the author of “The Gruffalo”, of course) called “The Fish in the Tree”, which is published by Pearson. It was terribly exciting illustrating something written by her, but there was a little hiccup at the start.
The initial designs I did had all the characters wearing contemporary clothes, when they should have been wearing more medieval, old-fashioned stuff. Doh!

Anyway, with a bit of tweaking they went from looking like this…

Must try harder Mr Elkerton.

to this.

Much better.

Andy’s Tip of the Day: When you get an art brief read it slowly and then re-read it, slower still. Do not excitedly jump in feet first, especially when it’s for Julia Donaldson.

I’ve also done a couple of stories for Macmillan Publishing.
The first was about a little group of very adventurous toys, and what happens when they go out into the world.
Here they are.

The second was about a very regal elephant and her canine best friend.

Here’s a book cover for Oxford University Press. The Lunar Buggy was thought to be a bit too toy-like at first, so I tried to add a bit of realism to it.

I’ve also done a book for Scholastic, lots of educational stuff for Nelson Thornes, and a couple of book covers for Usborne. None of these are currently in circulation, so I can’t show you any at the moment.

Next up I’m doing a big project that’s going to last something like a year and a half.
Who knows, by mid 2014 I might be so pale that I’m transparent!
Hmm…I bet there’s a book in there somewhere.



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2 responses to “Busy, busy, busy.

  1. You know what’s fun? Quickly flip back and forth between the two versions of the Fish in the Tree image. Even more entertaining if you accompany with sound effects.

    So did you have the clothes on a separate layer from the rest of the character? Or did you have to reestablish all the overlapping edges?

  2. Hi Charles, there used to be a time when I’d supply my own sound effects when drawing! It would normally be something suitable for the subject matter; a growl for a monster, a “whoosh!” for a spaceship etc. Weirdly, most of the time I wouldn’t even realise I was doing it.
    Oh God…did I actually say that out loud?

    As far as changing the clothes (not so easy to make a sound effect for a shirt btw); I had everything on layers so for some elements it was just a case of “adjusting” the colours using the Photoshop “Image” menu and then doing a little painterly tweaking.
    The sleeves on the woman, and the shirt and trousers on the guy with the gold show this pretty well.
    For everything else I just did a repaint on a new layer, but I tried to keep to the original silhouette as far as I could because I was pretty happy with their original shape.

    Luckily, altering layes is a pretty simple thing for me to do because in an image I tend to create FAR too many of them. Take the guy with the gold in modern clothing for example, his shirt, the stripes on his shirt, his braces, even the hairs on his arms were all on seperate layers at some point. I did merge them eventually but only when I was happy with their look and colour and felt that they worked.
    Having so many layers means I have a great deal of control, but it also means I end up with elements of an image scattered far and wide along the layer list. Nightmare!

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