I love to draw on a variety or interesting papers so my drawings are often not on a crisp white or untextured background. Because of this, I edit the majority of my drawings to give them a cleaner background which changes the drawing itself ever so slightly even though I always try to make the final digital version as close to the physical drawing as possible.
You can use the best scanner in the world and have your illustrations printed at the best printers but nothing’s quite the same as the original drawing. Therefore, I thought that it would be nice to share some of my drawings totally unedited, how they are straight from the scanner (with a few tea stains and smudge marks).
These particular drawings were used for the first children’s book I worked on during my children’s book MA ‘A Natural Order’. The book showed 50 various animals in size order and to scale.
Happy New Year!
2018 was a strange year for me as I was working towards finishing my Master’s degree and with that came a lot of stress. I had an idea at the beginning of my degree of the point which I wanted to be at by the time I was finished and it became clear to me that my goals will take a lot longer to achieve than I initially thought. I worked harder in 2018 than I ever have before, not only on my degree but on my career as a freelance illustrator as a whole. Some of the projects which I worked on over the year paid off a lot more than others but I have definitely ended the year with a better portfolio and knowledge of the industry than when it began. I am excited to see what 2019 brings and as it is the first year which I have began not in any form of education since I was 4 years old, I am feeling incredibly positive about how much I am able to achieve.
I am not one for sticking to a new years resolution but I like the idea of setting goals which I can work towards throughout the year and I thought that I would write this blog post to act as a reminder to myself of where I want to be this time next year.
- To have an idea for a children’s picture book which I am excited about and to be in the process of working on the illustrations.
- To have reached 100 sales on my Etsy shop
- To sell my work at a craft fair/ print fair
- To continue to work on personal projects
- To work more in my sketchbook
- To work on drawing people (I have avoided drawing people for 5 years)
- To improve my social media presence (especially Instagram and my blog)
- To travel more and plan a trip with friends
- to have worked with a number of new and exciting clients
- To look further into having an agent/ find an agent
For this illustration, I wanted to create something specifically with the purpose of being a print. Usually the prints in my shop are drawings which I have worked on for another purpose and then later thought that somebody may want to have the drawing as a print.
Autumn is possibly my favourite time of the year so I was feeling inspired to create a print that represented autumn in Britain and that’s when I got the idea to draw mushrooms. I drew common species which can be found in the UK and across the northern hemisphere such as the Fly Agaric mushroom and the Field mushroom. I drew these over the course of a few weeks from real life studies of mushrooms which my brother was kind enough to pick for me and various photos which I had scoped the internet for.
Once I had finished the illustration I was really happy with the end result and I had spent so much time on it that I wanted the quality of the end product to show the illustration at its best. Because of this, I decided to make the print limited edition with only ten of them being printed which allowed me to print them at the highest possible quality and on the highest quality of paper.
If you are interested in buying one of these prints you can find them in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LaurenFitton?ref=l2-shopheader-name
I have wanted to draw a plant for a while as I love botanical illustrations and plants in general. A few years ago I tried one or two plant based drawings and could never get the colour to look right underneath the pencil so I had been putting off drawing another one ever since.
Where I was going wrong is that I was trying to get the colour to match the exact colour of the real plant instead of finding a colour that works best with my illustration. I chose to illustrate a Croton plant for two reasons. One reason being that I thought that the patterns on the leaves would be really interesting and challenging to draw and the other reason being that they are normally quite brightly coloured. If I could find a way of colouring this plant that works with my illustration style then adding colour to future plant illustrations should work too.
This illustration took several times longer than I expected it to but I feel like that’s the case with most of my drawings recently as my work is gradually becoming more detailed. Although I am not quite sure what I am going to use this drawing for at the moment I have learnt a lot from it and will feel more confident drawing plants in the future.
I am quickly coming the end of my children’s book illustration MA so in preparation for the final show (10th October) I sent both of the books which i have been working on over the past two years off to be printed. I now have a hardback copy of each of my books and I’m so happy with them. Seeing a book which you have but so much love and time into as a physical book makes all of the hard work worth it.
I have had a few queries about whether I will be selling hard copies of my books and unfortunately I can’t afford to buy hundreds of copies of them which is what i would need to do in order to sell them at a reasonable price. I will certainly look into buying paperback copies of the book which may have to be saddle stitched in order to lower the cost. If I ever do have my books in my shop I will let you know as soon as they are for sale.
In the next few months I will be graduating (hopefully) from my MA in children’s book illustration and looking for freelance illustration work even more so than I currently am. Because of this I wanted to have a wider range of subject matters in my portfolio as up till recently my portfolio was roughly 99% animal illustrations.
I have always had a strange fascination with seaweed when I find some washed up of beaches and I have tried on numerous occasions to bring some home so that i can do some pencil studies. I’ve never managed to keep the seaweed in tact by the time i get home as it’s either completely dried up or damaged in one way or another.
After watching the ‘Chasing Coral’ documentary fairly recently I was also fascinated by coral and the many different structures which they have to suit their surroundings. For months I have been wanting to do studies of seaweed and coral but was busy working on my book and a few other illustration ideas for my shop. So, when I finally got a free week i knew exactly what i wanted to work on.
I have done 2 coral studies at the moment and will hopefully do some seaweed studies very soon. The two types of coral which i have drawn so far are a cauliflower coral and a toadstool coral which is a soft coral structure.
For the past year, I have been working on this book and earlier this week I finally finished it. My drawing style has changed a lot since my first picture book back in 2016 and while I am so much happier with the final product, it has made the process of making a 32 page book a lot longer!
The book tells the story of all humpback whales during their first year as they learn from their mothers how to survive on their own. I first got the idea for this book while researching whales for my previous picture book which looked at 50 various animals from the smallest to the largest when my fascination with whales began to grow. In particular, humpback whales interested me. Learning about their close familial bond, group hunting staratagies and their annual migration which is the longest migratory journey in the animal kingdom made me have to tell their story in a picture book format.
The colour palete for this book took a lot of playing around with to get to a point where I was happy with it. As my drawings are all in graphite pencil, I found that brighter colours didn’t compliment the drawings and actually overpowered them a lot of the time. I experimented with colour behind the pencil drawings as well as for the water and that felt too digital. In the end, I decided to keep the pencil drawings as they were and only use the colour for the ocean and even then, I was keeping the colour fairly unsaturated to compliment my drawings and layering various textures over the top. I also found that this colour palette worked perfectly with the subject matter as it made the book feel quiet and calm.. if that makes sense?