I have drawn two designs for a card which I'm doing for The Pink Place in Basingstoke. This is a charity which offers free support,information and complementary therapies to people who have or have had breast cancer in this area & is supported by the breast unit at Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital http://www.thepinkplace.org.uk/
Having completed my first book while pregnant, eight weeks after Alfie was born it was time to tackle book number two, 'Jack and Jill'. I'm not sure how I managed to do this. My candle was thoroughly burnt at both ends, but somehow a little waxy blob of sanity survived to pull everything together; nappies were changed and spreads were painted. I connect the imagery in this book with my late (and lovely) mother in law, Pat, who must have spent hundreds of hours walking her dog on Clapham Common; she had recently died and was often in my thoughts as I worked. It's dedicated to her memory; hope she'd have liked it.
Unlike Ellie I favour a Bic fine point and for many years this was my preferred medium. When I was a child one of the best things you could get to draw on was a shirt card, (the stiff packaging that used to be in new shirts), but it was too shiny to take pencil satisfactorily, so biros, readily available but frowned upon for writing, were the perfect answer. The medium is not as unsympathetic as it might first seem. With changes in pressure, crosshatching and the like it is possible to achieve a terrific range of tones including a very rich black.
At college I was a bit shy of using colour, so I carried on using biro, together with water-soluble fibre tip pens, on heavy watercolour paper. And these were large pieces, imperial or A1, so I spent a long time honing the technique. From college I began working for magazines. The biro work really suited the dark editorial subjects that I tended to be given. At this time, still working on watercolour paper, I didn’t do roughs so would often make holes in the paper by repeated erasure and redrawing; a technique that went out of the window with the introduction of laser scanners, which didn’t know what to make of holes.
I was, strangely perhaps, given my first children’s book through a designer who saw one of my large college pieces in an exhibition. Storm, was, as Shirley Hughes put it, my “first essay into colour, at this point elegantly restrained”. I had to scale things down a bit from the college work but, essentially I worked in the same way. The very restrained colour came by way of a drop of watercolour wash and the (I thought brave) addition of red and green biros in the cross-hatching.
I now work in variety of mediums, whatever suits, and I really enjoy colour. There are though still times when a bit of biro is just the job.
To follow in the vein of Temujin's and Allen's previous blogs, here's one of my roughs. This one is about four years old and whilst my method has changed the result is the same.
My roughs are always drawn in biro, a hang up from when roughs had to be faxed to a client and pencil wouldn't show up. I'd draw lots of elements separately, enlarge or reduce them on a photocopier, cut them out, move them round the page, tape them down, clean up with correction fluid and draw over the top until the page couldn't take any more. Then I'd photocopy the page and continue or fax it off.
Now I can do most if this in Photoshop but occasionally I still jigsaw it around by hand for the fun of it before scanning it, cleaning it up and emailing it off. Which inevitably leaves me scrubbing the correction fluid off my arm and pealing off one of the disregarded, taped, elements of the drawing stuck to the sole of my shoe.
As for the biro, the black Bic Cristal Medium Biro is the only one I use. The others have no talent at all!
The Bic's Amazon reviews are a chuckle.
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To enlarge the illustration click on the image.