It's been a pretty incredible year for Laura, who has been selected to work on two big rebrands; the latest of which is the re-imaginging of the much-loved Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett. Penguin Random House first approached Laura last summer to see if she'd like to put forward a sample for the project and even before a brief came through, Laura (who was away at the time) quickly whipped up this older Tiffany as an initial idea:
The aim was to create new covers that would appeal to young readers, so Tiffany's character was redrawn younger (below), so that she could grow up as the books progressed. The character was then developed further with Deputy Art Director Ben Hughes, who also created the cover design, typography and branding for the series.
'I was truly honoured to have the chance to illustrate the covers of Sir Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series. Tiffany was a brilliant character to draw; feisty, determined and ready for adventure. I treated each cover as if it were movie poster, and tried to make each one as energetic and eye catching as possible. I felt it was important that each of the five covers could stand alone, but also sit together as a strong and striking set. I hope that these new covers will appeal to a new generation of Pratchett fans, so that they can also step into Tiffany's world and enjoy the magic of the story. This was truly a dream project and such fun to work on. I feel privileged to be a part of the Discworld family.'
Recently Chicken House announced some big news, not only were they publishing a new edition of bestselling fantasy novel Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, but a sequel was also in the works. We were lucky to be offered the chance to work on both titles twice over - Laura Ellen Anderson created the cover artwork for both books (seen here), while Alexis Snell was commissioned to create maps of Funke's fantasy world for the interiors.
We always love to show the process behind Alexis' work. An 'old-school' linocut artist, Alexis works completely traditionally, and after so many years honing her craft is incredibly adept at getting the smallest detail - not to mention all that backwards typography - into her work. Before they are even inked, her linocuts are a work of art.
'I always enjoy working with Chicken House and this was a particularly lovely project. I learnt how to do the cartouches from a previous job with the V&A so it was fun to return to them again here - and who doesn't love a map in a book!?' - Alexis Snell
Below are the finished maps found at the front of each book. Dragon Rider and Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather are published by Chicken House and hit the shelves next month.
We're excited to take you behind the scenes of Jez Tuya's first trade picture book, The Treasure of Pirate Frank, published this month by Nosy Crow in the UK. Pirate Frank was one of the last picture books penned by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, so it was quite a special book for all involved. Scroll down to see some development work for the illustrations as well as insight into what it was like working on the book from the artist.
Back in 2015 this was the initial sample artwork that won Jez the commission to illustrate the book. The character then went through several revisions before arriving at the final boy you see on the cover...
Another interesting aspect of this particular project was how the story evolved as the artwork came to life. Originally Pirate Frank was a rather traditional character, however this was later changed, as you'll see below, creating an amusing plot twist in the story.
'I had a LOT of fun Illustrating The Treasure of Pirate Frank. One of the things that stood out to me from the manuscript was how the story unfolded in layers. Each block of text described a new location, as our hero and his canine companion travel through the story. Each location was described in such atmospheric detail - from snowy hills, to lush, swampy forests, to cold, snow volcanic mountains. I thought it'd be fitting to attempt to do the same visually - with each spread showing hints of the route travelled previously in the distance. I also tried to make use of textures to help evoke the lush atmosphere of the book. In a way, the "island of spice and gold" itself is one of the main characters in the story.
Designing the boy character was also quite fun. One key element I kept in mind during the design process was the idea of contrast. The environment had lots of earthy tones - lots of greens and browns, with sweeping, organic lines (like the trees in the forest) and the hard edges of the island's mountains. Alternatively for the characters, I tried to use quite rounded shapes for the hero and his dog, and incorporate bright, bold colours and patterns so that they stood out. I put myself in the boy's shoes, and imagined how he would have felt as he travelled the island in search of Pirate Frank's treasure.
When Nosy Crow first approached me with the manuscript, I knew immediately after reading it that it was going to be a really fun book to illustrate, and boy was it fun! The Treasure of Pirate Frank was the last picture book Mal Peet penned before his passing in 2015, so it's been such a great honour illustrating this book for him.'
It's amazing to see all 21 of Laura Ellen Anderson's new covers for The Famous Five together on the shelf! Laura was approached over a year ago by Alison Padley, Art Director at Hodder Children's Books, with this exciting project to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the first book publication - and we've been keeping it under our hats ever since!
Laura's art brings a modern, fresh take to these classic adventures. With a nod to the originals, we hope this rebrand will attract a whole new generation of readers who haven't yet discovered Blyton's most famous gang. We asked Laura to share a bit about her experience working on the project...
"When illustrating each of the 21 covers, I approached it (as I do with most covers), as if I were designing a movie poster for each story. My favourite part was designing the four children and Timmy. I needed to update their look to make them more appealing to a new audience, but also make sure they wouldn't become dated a few years down the line - cue quite a lot of back and forth just on their clothes! Blyton's stories have been firm favourites for kids (and adults) for decades now, so the aim of the new cover illustrations was to hopefully continue this tradition. One particularly challenging aspect was to make sure all five characters were featured on every single cover, while keeping the designs varied and interesting at the same time."
Interestingly, Timmy does bear a passing resemblance to Laura's family dog, Scooby... To see some development work throughout the cover process, please scroll down.
It's been a whirlwind of meetings these last few weeks with London Book Fair swiftly followed by the Children's Book Fair in Bologna. Several of our artist's work were featured on publisher's stands, and some exciting projects were announced. Egmont's stand paid lovely homage to the talented Júlia Sardà (and author Louise Greig), with a gigantic illustrated banner of 'Sweep', a picture book she has recently finished in collaboration with them.
Bologna Book Fair was a-buzz with news of Laura Ellen Anderson's first author-illustrated fiction (also Pickled ink's first literary deal). Her Amelia Fang series was acquired, at auction, by Egmont UK, with the first of three books, 'Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball', publishing in October this year. Gloriously gothic proofs with a die-cut cover were making a splash at the fair, with foreign publishers snapping up the rights ever since. We even made it into the Bologna edition of The Bookseller!
Elsewhere, the first of Laura's 'Famous Five' covers for Hodder were prominently on display at the Hachette stand.
Melissa Castrillón had a busy fair, signing copies of her gorgeous picture book with Topipittori, 'Che Bello', written by Antonella Capetti.
For the first time we got to see Hanako Clulow's beautiful illustrations for Frances Lincoln Children's Books in print and displayed next to each other. The '10 Reason's Why' series is written by Catherine Barr.
Spotted on the Nosy Crow stand was a copy of 'The Treasure of Pirate Frank', written by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham and illustrated by Jez Tuya. Along with an early copy of Eve Coy's first author-illustrated picture book 'Looking After William', publishing with Andersen Press next year.
Finally, two of our artists, Cindy Wume and Ya-Ling Huang, also had their artwork on display as part of a showcase of Taiwanese illustrators at the fair.
Melissa's second picture book Che Bello has just published in Italy with Topipittori and, as we like to do here at Pickled ink, we thought we'd share some development artwork with you all on our blog.
As ever, Melissa's process is a fascinating one to get a glimpse into and its interesting to see just much colour influences her designs and layout choices from the very beginning, in comparison to a lot of artists who begin sketching ideas in black and white. More of these beautiful spreads can be seen in Melissa's online portfolio.
Early Cover Idea
Sketchbook Page - you can see the final image of the bottom left-hand sketch in Melissa's portfolio
Laura Ellen Anderson has worked on quite a few picture book and illustrated fiction projects over the years but last week saw the release of her first author-illustrated picture book 'I Don't Want Curly Hair', published by Bloomsbury UK.
Both Laura and Bloomsbury have put together some fantastic marketing pieces including an activity pack, gifs and this fun book trailer. There's also a competition to win a limited edition model of Curly Girl, handmade by Laura herself. Here on the blog we thought we'd share some of Laura's early drawings for the book. Scroll down to see more...
If any of our artists have a sketchbook that you wish you could spend hours studying, it's Melissa Castrillón. Truthfully, there was so much we wanted to include in this post but we tried to stick to a sensible amount of artwork!
Simon & Schuster have just published Melissa's first picture book in both the UK and US and while the final product is simply stunning (for images please click here), her early sketches and colour experiments are just as wonderful to pore over. Melissa's notes and thumbnails really show her thought-process and its a real treat to see how the final layouts for the book came about. We hope you enjoy seeing these as much as we have!
One thing we always love to show where we can is all the work our artists can go to get to the final illustration stage and we have some truly lovely roughs and character development to share with you today.
Welcome to Nowhere is based on real-life stories from the Syrian Crisis. We're biased, but we think Lucy's gorgeous, emotive paintings capture the sensitivity of the novel perfectly. Scroll down to see three of the final spreads come together.
Spread 1 Rough and Final
Spread 2 Roughs and Building Detail
Below we show the development work from our personal favourite artwork in the book, including character sketches, rough layout designs and finishing on the final artwork itself:
Happy New Year! To kick-start 2017 we thought we'd introduce our latest signing to the portfolio,
Lo Cole. Lo has been working as a printmaker and illustrator for many years (you may know his
controversial 'Pleasuredome' album sleeve artwork for Frankie Goes to Hollywood dating back to
1984!). However, recently he's turned his hand to children's books and we already have some
exciting projects in the pipeline and needless to say we are very excited to welcome another
talented illustrator to the portfolio. To view more of Lo's work, please click here.