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Becoming a Children's Author - Part 2: Illustration Improvements

This week I am continuing my authoring story and this post is all about starting to illustrate my first book. Personally, I think there is a massive difference between my first attempts and the final copies but I will let you be the judge of that!

Part 1 of my author journey can be found here

Click on the links below to skip ahead to these paragraphs:

Grandma's influence

A number of years ago (and I say this because I don't know how many years ago but it was definitely a number), my grandma gave me a little Windsor and Newton watercolour paint palette. It was very cute and I still have it today. In fact, Finley also used it, and so often that he got his own one for Christmas last year.

When I was a child my grandma always did lots of paintings and they are many of them hung up in her house. Her spare bedroom used to be the painting room and I loved going to her house so that I could paint with her.

No clue what to do

Fast forward to 2017, where I last left the story in my previous blog about authoring (linked above) and I decided it was time to start some illustrations.

"Right then," I naively thought to myself, "I may as well start with the front cover, I suppose."

And so I did. Why on earth I didn't google the process for illustrating a children's book I will never know. It is so unlike me to do something without googling it first as well. I think that's probably true of most of my generation. Anyway, I ploughed on regardless of having no information other than having seen children's books before.

My first (terrible!) attempts vs the end product

I really enjoy creative hobbies. Like I said, I used to paint with my grandma, I like writing and baking cakes so you may think that the illustrations were pretty decent. Well then you'd be very wrong. For some reason, I had laid them out on the page as I had sort of envisioned them being in the book. They were very basic and some of the illustrations were incredibly small. Don't just take my word for it - see for yourself!

Now, it is at this point in the story that I'm not quite sure what happened. I guess I went back to work after maternity and general life kind of took over so it wasn't until a few years later (did you notice that I've managed to be more specific about the years this time by describing them as 'a few'?) that I decided to have another go.

This time (as you can hopefully see above) the illustrations were much improved. Am I happy with them? Yes, I would say so. Do I think it's the best that I can do? No, I hope not. I've learnt a lot since then but they were definitely the best that I could do at the time. So here is another example of a before and after.

Next time...

Since then, I have done a lot more practice and actually ended up getting distracted and off track - but more about that next time. For now, here is my latest practice illustration, which I completed with Finley's dinosaur pencil in the back of the car, wedged between two car seats on the way to France.

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