9 August 2015

ILLUSTRATION PROJECT - Illustrations for a Children's Picture Book!

I'd like to introduce a new 'Illustration Project'! (Wow, it's been a while...)

Over the last two months I've worked with the author Nicola Gothard on illustrating her children's picture book story 'The Rubbish Dump Whale'.
The story focuses on animals living in one of the - very real - garbage patches which are present in every ocean on this planet. It shows the struggle of three animals trying to change their oceans for the better and even teaches some lessons on how to minimize ocean pollution at the end of the book.

It is also incredibly cute. ;)

So, in this 'Illustration Project' blog post, I'll show you some of the final illustrations as well as sketches and different stages of the drawings. Let's call this a 'Making Of' post.

If you like what you see, you can order the book on amazon. There's both an ebook and a print version (print version link coming soon!).

More information can be found on the generation2050project website, too!

Now, on to the actual illustrations!

I did some character sketches first.

As the story takes place under water, watercolors were the perfect match. The textures created in watercolor would give a playful water effect fitting a children's picture book.

Then we started with sketches based on the pre-written story.

My sketches are ridiculously bad. I'm still surprised the author could actually guess what the finished illustrations would look like. 

After having all 20+ pages approved, I started working on detailed pencil drawings.

Some of those were kept rather simple to leave space for text and to focus on the animals themselves...

On other pages we wanted to really put the focus on the actual pollution, so the pieces of rubbish had to be very detailed and 'swallow' the whale swimming among them.

These pencil drawings were then colored in.

I used a kneadable eraser to make the pencil lines less prominent and combined that with a small eraser to keep the lines crisp and precise.

No, I didn't use the Micron pens, of course. 
The eraser pen on top was used, as well as the brushes. 

I kind of always use the same materials. I'm boring (and stingy) like that.

As for the watercolors themselves, you can have a look at my watercolor swatches and review fest here

First interior illustration of the book, introducing the whale and his 'home'.

Some of the watercolor blotches (?) were created seperately and then layered on top of the illustrations in Photoshop. This made for more vibrant color effects and for more flexibility when it came to layouting, as I was able to move parts of each illustration around independently.
Water bubble effects - I made like ten sheets of these.
 (If anyone's interested, I could offer some of these as Photoshop patterns or brushes.)

Definite improvement over the initital sketch. I hope.

You can have a look at the illustrations on my portfolio site, too!

For some of the illustrations I added text effects. Like the water bubbles I drew all letters on a seperate page and arranged them in Photoshop.

Love to hate the derpy expression in this sketch. 

From sketch...

... to drawing ...

... to finished illustration.

Like I'd mentioned, there were also some tips and reminders on reducing pollution at the end of the book, which we presented in the form of letters from the animals to humans. This also required some additional illustrations to make the texts more visually appealing.

All in all I really like the result and I'm looking forward to holding a printed version in my hands! (it's on its way, but well, Korea and the UK aren't exactly next-door neighbours.) I'll force the book on my little nephew who's already studying English in Kindergarden...

Ocean pollution is a major problem, but also an often overlooked one. I'm happy to have contributed some small illustrations to, hopefully, raise awareness. And I'd be even happier if you could share this post or the book so it can reach a wider audience!

Thank you!


  1. Wow you're draw are so cute!! I envy you, I always wanted to draw like this *^*
    I don't know this story....
    Thank you for your comment on y blog ;) I follow you now! You're blog is so pretty <3

    1. Thank you! *///* It's just a lot of practice and patience haha...
      The story was written for this book so it's completely new ^^

  2. Wow you're draw are so cute!! I envy you, I always wanted to draw like this *^*
    I don't know this story....
    Thank you for your comment on y blog ;) I follow you now! You're blog is so pretty <3

  3. Your illustrations are beautiful as always! I can't imagine how long it must take to create one page. Thank you for documenting your progress, I find it really interesting seeing how everything evolves. And the illustrations are so cute but they make me feel sad and so guilty, poor animals :'(

    1. Thank you!! :D Ah, it takes forever and ever... I'm actually fast at drawing, but the whole scanning and layouting process takes for-e-ver.
      Yeah, we wanted to keep it cute and colorful, despite all the rubbish :( It would be too sad if we didn't...

  4. Wunderschöne Illustrationen, Evy!
    Das Buch werd ich für meinen Kleinen auch holen! <3

    1. Danke :3
      Ich hoffe, es ist bald erhaeltlich. :D Und dann muss der Arme auf Englisch lesen lernen? ;) (macht man das in der Schweiz jetzt eigentlich auch schon im Kindergarten?)

  5. Oh gosh! these are sooo beautiful! I love your style and it's so inspiring!!!

    1. Thank you! <3 I loved doing these, as they're just so playful and colorful!!

  6. oh my gosh! your blog and your illustrations are the cutest things!


    1. Thank you! :D I'm happy I can finally combine two things I love, haha. Blogging (...or reading blogs) and drawing!

  7. Hey your blog is fucking awesome. So beautiful and lovely drawing? Where do you learn it from? Let contact me via my blog Wish come true – SKYWALKERS at MyInflatablePoly.com