Plates for Home Decor and Children’s Book Illustration

Plates for Home Decor and Children’s Book Illustration

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready for 2018!  The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me and it was our first time experiencing the holidays as parents.  We had a wonderful time and even had a chance to slow down and take a break from our normal work schedule.  I worked on two projects over the last two weeks; I finished the plate designs for Home Decor week and I've almost completed a book cover illustration for the fairy tale "The White Cat" by the Comtesse d'Aulnoy.  When not working on these projects, I've been slowly building up more digital skills with both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator as well as practicing my drawing and illustration skills.  The class I'm in right now is self-paced, but the first live class of the year with deadlines begins this month on the 8th, so I'll be focusing on that course in the near future. 

For the plates, I submitted my "final" piece featuring my four best illustrations.  I added a glitzy ring around them but actually I would like them to look a little different than they do.  I found it challenging to bring my vision to life because I'm still learning the digital skills I need to do this, like adding embellishments to 3D objects.  As you can see from my messy sketches, the plans I had for the plates didn't really work out, especially with the borders.  I may re-visit this assignment later after I gain more skills, but for now I'm going to call it complete.   I played with another version of the plates using a more graphic/clean version but ultimately I wanted the illustrations of the animals to be the prominent feature so I turned in the other version.  Which one do you prefer?  Please comment below!  


Final Plates

Secondary Plates

My next assignment was to design a book cover for the fairy tale "The White Cat."  Each one of these assignments has a "mini" and a "full" assignment; for the mini, I was required to draw cats in many poses.  Next, I read the story (, and took notes on how the cat should look and got to work sketching the cat.  Since I'm new to learning about the Children's Book Market, I took a Craftsy online class by world-renowned illustrator Lynne Chapman (  and learned how to anthropomorphize animals in a child-friendly way.  It was a fascinating class and I learned a lot from it.  I applied this new knowledge to draw more sketches of the cat.  I then began to design the clothing.  One of the things I learned in Lynne Chapman's class is that she uses vellum (or tracing paper) to try out expressions, clothing, and features of her characters before finalizing her drawings.  So I tried this out and took out my LED lightbox which I bought back in July but hadn't used yet to try out my sketches of the clothing on the cat.  I decided to draw, paint, and ink the outfit and veil separately from the master cat face so I could make adjustments in Photoshop more easily.  Next, I drew out the background of rolling hills, a river, and a castle with my Caran D'ache NeoColor crayons and applied a wash on top for the drawing to look more painterly.  I then took everything over to Photoshop by scanning the pieces together and assembled the project.  You can see the results below; I'm now in the review stage where I will post this to the course Facebook page for critique, and I'll make some more adjustments before I submit the final version.  

This was a really fun assignment and I could easily see doing more of this kind of work.  Next week I will post the final version! 

Cat sketch 1 (mini)

Cat face

Cat in clothes

Cat sketch 2 (mini)

light box sketches


Cat sketch 3 (mini)

Cat clothing

Cover- ready for critique

So, those were the assignments I've been working on! I hope you've enjoyed reading about the process.  Now that it's 2018, I'll be 100% focused on my year of art courses so I'll be posting on a fairly regular basis about the process of my projects. I hope you all have a great start to the new year! See you next week! 

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