Category: Mixed Media

‘The Yummy Creamy Cheese” – Book Jacket

This is the first of 2 books i have written and illustrated whilst at uni. This book isn’t written in rhyme but is a ‘play on words’ full of interesting sounds and tongue twisting sentences that encourage children’s vocabulary and speech. At the same time the book is all about how we shouldn’t take something that doesn’t belong to us, and what can happen when we do! it also brings up the issue as to how children choose to deal with their anger….as the cat in the story has 2 definite choices…you have to read it to see which one he chooses!!

The illustrations were created using 2d cut out images and then building 3d sets , placing them in there, lighting them to create interesting shadows and then photographing them. It was a totally exhausting but very worthwhile experience where i felt i learned so many skills such as photography and layout and composition as well as colour choice and balance. I also took the book through the whole process of printing which in itself was quite a challenge!

The book is a 32 page picture book, which i hope to find a publisher for in the near future, I feel that because of the way it is illustrated it offers something a little different to the world of children’s books, and the children that have read it have given really great feedback, so fingers crossed that i can find a  publisher who also thinks the same hey?

The birds sing the cat to sleep, while he is guarding ‘The Yummy Creamy Cheese’!

‘BANG BANG BANG popped the piles of pongy poo!!’ (from the’Yummy Creamy Cheese’)


What a lot of work it was to get the entry submitted to Macmillan for this years Children’s picture book competition!! The guidelines were a 24 page picture book, plus end papers, book jacket, title and copyright page – at least 4 double final pages (mounted and presented properly) and all labelled and presented as perfectly as possible and then sent by courier to London to be entered into this years competition.


This is a very prestigious competition and has many entries from colleges and universities all over the UK, competition is tough, and the research i have done seems to make me think that Macmillan are looking for ‘traditional’ illustrators that use a lot of traditional media (which would rule me out altogether as i use mixed media that includes digital media as well).

I think that the whole experience of entering Macmillan was invaluable…i now know how to book bind perfectly and can make a pretty good mock book that wouldnt look out of place on a bookshelf in a store, i now know how to cut perfect mounts (which is handy as we will be doing lots of this for the graduate show in a couple of weeks.) and more than anything i have learned how to get a massive amount of work done and how to achieve what i needed to achieve in a set time scale (not an easy feat when you have lots of other things to do at the same time!)

So it’s in!! and the image below is the mock book from the outside…it is a story about a green and hairy witch called Brenda!! – now all i need is to find a publisher!!!!!

My Macmillan entry…finally finished!! 🙂

I have found quite a lot of people who use the multiplane technique for animation, but was struggling to find an artist that used it – let alone an illustrator! fortunately one of my tutors mentioned Clive Walley, and the fact that he was an artist who used this technique in his work – layering up the individual pieces of glass with paints.

The clip below is taken from YouTube - and shows him creating a piece of work that was called ‘Brush stroke by Clive Walley’ and was shown at the Flip Fest 2007


Here is a second, more intricate piece – found at



Due to an immense pile of work it has taken me a month to get around to writing this up!! I visited the exhibition on January 28th this year, to see the ‘picture this’ exhibition, and also because i knew that Lynne would be giving a talk about illustratinf children’s books. To save time i will just post the work i have created on this for my professional development file…..



‘Bears on the Stairs’ – Lynne talked about the fact that she needed to draw scary images for this book but was concerned as it was a ‘bedtime’ story, and so she needed to make them ‘more rounded’ – she did this by adding baseball caps etc to the bears.She talked about how she tried to not make the bear character too ‘looming’ as this would be too scary for kids. She did however make him a little bit sinister, as he sat at the top of the stairs, she gave him a toy car to sneakily play with!

Lynne mentioned that using colour was also a way of making the image less scary, and she also added pictures of the ‘family’ on the walls of the staircase , so that of the child is scared by the image they can be reassured by looking at the picture of parents etc.


As the words of the book didn’t dictate as to whether the child was a boy or a girl Lynne originally did the character as a little girl, she changed this though as she said that she realised that boys won’t read books where the main character is a girl, but little girls will read books about where the main character is a boy – and so to sell more books she changed the character to a boy.


Lynne said that she would create images where children could ‘find things’ whilst they were being read the story, and she would also invent extra characters to slip into the story, that allow the story ‘to go along’ – for example, and extra companion for the character perhaps.

In the book ‘ Bears on the stairs’ the incidental character that ran alongside the story was a cat, and the character enabled lynne to add in jokes and funny images (for example the cat pulling faces at the bear)


Lynne detailed the process of publishing by initially showing us her roughs and thumbnails, which she would eventually work up into A4 size roughs, or an A3 spread. She would then send these roughs to the publisher, who would then go through the work with a fine tooth comb, and would decide what they like and what they don’t like – usually without the illustrator being present.Lynne also mentioned that as an illustrator you usually don’t meet the author either, until yu go to the publishers party!

The publisher will then send through to the illustrator a list of things that need to be changed. She gave us an example from ‘Dragon’s Dinner’ where  Lynne had initially created 2 x single page  illustrations – one of the dragon asleep, and one of the dragon awake, and the publishers wanted her to create 1 x double page illustration of  the dragon, showing it to be half awake. She did re create this page, but still feels to this day that the dragon looks as if it is dead!

Image from 'Dragon's Dinner - illustrated by Lynne Chapman

Lynne commented on the fact that it is usual that the colour of the text in a book is always black, this is because of when it is translated – so this also impacts on the illustrations, and in the picture of the dragon in the cave, the cave couldn’t be black as then the words wouldn’t show, so it had to be purple instead. Lettering that is not black is possible, and is used in children’s books, but it costs more money to print.

The next step is that Lynne would send back the changes to the publisher and they would then show them to the author. Lynne commented that the publisher would possibly filter out 50% of what the author says. She would then finally do the finished art work.


Lynne uses a pink paper to draw with her pastels, she uses one that has a ‘good tooth’ so that it can easily hold all the pastel medium that she uses, and she chooses pink over white as she is not so bothered about the background paper showing through  then as pink looks better, and has less of a glare than white, pink also adds warmth where as white can be very cold.

She then traces up her images onto the pink paper using her lightbox, so that everything is in EXACTLY the same place as to what she has agreed with the publisher (of course this is an interesting point, the fact that you cannot now start making changes, but have to do what is agreed) – another reason for it being in the same place is that the gutter has to be exactly where it was so that images such as faces don’t end up going into it.

She estimated that it would take her 2 full days to work on and complete a full double page spread, and 3 months to do all the work from start to finish (but that is because she is experienced – I can see it taking me a lot longer!)

Lynne advised to NEVER draw the words ONTO the artwork because of translation (and at the end of the day publishers are very interested in ow many countries they can sell the rights of the book to).

Someone at the talk asked her how she initially got work as an illustrator, and she said that she took her portfolio round lots of publishers to show them her work, but she also took with her an article that she had done for a magazine that featured an image of ‘singing dogs’ – it just so happened that the publisher she showed it to was looking for an illustrator for a book on ‘singing cats’ and they decided there and then to give Lynne the work (amazing stuff!!)


Lynne always works bigger than A3 and then crops to A3 because it is easier for her to create on a bigger scale because of using the medium of pastels and also she has to bear in mind posting the final art work off to the printers. Although she could quite easily hand deliver the final images if the publisher was in the UK, a lot of printing is done in China as it is cheaper, and so of course this has to be posted – and images A3 and less are easier to send.

She did warn as well about writing the words ‘art work’ on the packaging as she had a friend who was an illustrator who sent her final images to China, and did this on the packaging, and it never arrived!! She had to redo all of the work – there are thoughts that maybe the work could have been stolen by someone that thought there was valuable art work inside?


Qu – How long does it take for your books to hit the shelves from start to finish?

Lynne –  it takes about 16 months to 2 years from start to finish (this makes me wonder how I am going to eat within that 2 years!!) Lynne said that because it is such a long time she often forgets how to draw the characters, and as she likes to go into the schools to promote the books she always draws them on the flipchart – so when the book is published and distributed she has to start practicing  drawing them again!!

Lynne also draws in EVERY book that she signs, which I find incredibly impressive!! – here is my signed copy!

Inside my signed book! - illustration by Lynne Chapman

Qu Do you ever show your work to children to check whether it is right, and to see if they like it?

Lynne – No, because I am really a 7 year old myself! (Love that answer!!) – however it does help for you to see what you think is funny and what children think is funny tend to be two totally different things!

An AMAZING and totally enjoyable day!! – thank you Lynne x

I just recently watched this you tube clip about how Andrea Dezso goes about creating her amazing ‘cut out’ installations and the logistical nightmare she seems to have especially with the lighting, that she said took 2 days to set up – mind you she does have ‘lighting experts’ to help her – not like me….battling away all by myself!!

Her work is amazing, and she is so super talented, doing anything from cut outs to model making to animation and embroidery animation, i find her a true inspiration and she also seems like a really genuine person as well.

Today i have come across the work by an amazing artist Andrea Dezso. She describes her tunnel books as ‘drawings in space’, and creates amongst other things, contemporary styled tunnel books.

A tunnel book is a set of cut-out panels, set one behind the other, and attached together with accordion folded hinges so that the scene can be opened out for viewing or folded flat for storage.They were popular paper toys in the mid 1800’s when they were known as ‘peep shows’.

Andrea Dezso's cut-out tunnel book creations


During the day she works at Parsons new school for design – you can see a wide array of her tunnel books here at -

She also does lots of other types of creative work – animated embroidery, works in porcelain,public art pieces such as can be seen below, where an enormous tunnel type creation was commissioned by the Rice Gallery in Houston in 2010. I would so love to see some of these creations in real life as they are stunning digitally, i can only imagine how amazing they look in real life!!

Commissioned large scale tunnel effect piece - called 'sometimes in my dreams i fly' - inspired by imaginary travel to the moon!

Andrea also produces work in cut paper and uses silhouettes , as can be seen in this one that was commissioned by the New York Times in 2007

Below are just a small selection of some of the work of Andreas that i find absolutely amazing – all images are taken from :




Well i suppose i had better post something about ‘my’ work for a change instead of blogging all this academic stuff that is just pickling my head!!

So here are the stages of the book bag we were asked to design for the university. First of all i needed to look at the following:-

– was the bag for males and females, or would  i design 2 different types?

– is the bag design related to a particular department of the university, ie science, art, humanities – or will it appeal to all departments?

– is the design going to have a Welsh theme, with the university being in Wales?

– am i going to use one colour or two? – we were advised to try and just use one, because of cost and time to print them, but if we did use 2 we had to make sure that the colours were placed separately.

– i had to consider the thickness of the line in the design as it was to be printed on hessian and fine lines would not print well at all.

– how much of the logo was i going to incorporate? would it be the first letter ‘g’ or the full title ‘glyndwr’

– i needed to identify the font used in the logo as well to match it up

Ok, so i won’t put in all the different designs i came up with, as the post will just be way too long so i will just show you the final design i decided to choose and develop:-

Here is the first very very rough version of the design i chose. It is a pattern based design using the theme of the book, and focussing on the shapes that are made not just by the books but also by the pages and the edges of the pages as well:-

Initial design

I then inverted the colours which enabled me to see the ‘balance’ of the picture and the areas i need to resolve better :-

The design 'inverted'

I then re drew the design carefully and moved the images around, concentrating on how positive the negative shapes were, and how easy it was to read the image as a whole –

The new layout, ready to be coloured in Photoshop

I coloured the image in Photoshop because the design will be used for a screen print and so the colours need to be as solid as possible, and the best way to achieve this is on Photoshop. The design will then be printed out onto A3 acetate ready for a screen to be made. The next image is of the coloured in design-

The coloured in version, including typography

The font i used was ‘Georgia regular’ as this is the font used for the Glyndwr logo, i decided to use the same font for the words at the bottom as well to give some continuity.I then inverted the design again –

The inverted, coloured in design

On looking at the black and white areas, and knowing that the white areas would actually be transparent areas where the hessian bag would show through, i decided that the image needed a border to frame it properly –

The finished design - with border

And finally here is the finished design shown on the hessian book bag – as intended!!

The finished article!

I learned a lot from this exercise, particularly about composition and layout, and also about the use of positive and negative space. I feel that i played to my strengths – by using a pattern based design, and i feel that inverting the image was really beneficial and i may do that more in the future with other images.

So this session was to be the last one in a course of six sessions.  I had grown quite fond of the group of children that had attended every week without fail, bringing with them egg boxes and newspapers and lots of enthusiasm and creativity. They had been a joy to be with, and i learned so much about myself as an artist, a teacher, and also as a parent to my own children.

As we didnt have the balloon characters to work on any more i decided that the last session needed to have a ‘theme’, and i wanted to plan lots of activities within it so that it was lots of fun! The theme i chose was that of PIRATES!! as i knew that most children love pirates!

The first thing that we did was to talk about Pirates, and what sort of lives they had, what they ate, and where they lived and what they did etc – then i gave them a basic cardboard cut out of a pirate shape and asked them to use materials and felts etc to decorate them and to create different pirate characters out of it all. At first a couple of the children struggles a little with what the pirates should wear until i reminded them again that there wasn’t a right or a wrong as they were their characters, and they could create whatever they wanted.

The end result was a wonderful array of colourful, sassy, and glamorous pirates as well as some more scary ones! See what you think…

Cardboard cut outs

Pirate hats were compulsory today!!

and a good time was had by all!!

Even boat building was undertaken

Pirates on parade!

Glitzy Pirates!

Of course pirates HAVE to go on a treasure hunt!

Of course you can't look when you are rooting for treasure....

and make sure you get the treasure out of the Pinnate too!!

and a good good time was had by all!!

and special thanks to my little helper!! assistant Ben 🙂

This is the second to last session with the children, but it is the last session they would be spending on their ‘balloon characters’ and they were all VERY excited at the thought that not only were they going to be able to  decorate them but that they would also be able to take them home! I had been very aware of the fact that they had spent 4 weeks making these characters and that  was too long for children to wait for the praise that can potentially come from parents when a child completes something and takes it home – so i made sure that every week half of the session was spent creating something small that they could take home. I also knew that children, as many adults, do not have a very long attention span, plus i also had children in the group that had challenging behaviour, so i knew i needed to keep changing the activity in order to hold their interest.

Todays first part of the session was on ‘mixed up animals’, where the characters would be made from combining two or more other characters together. They then had to name the character and say what strengths it had, especially as it had the additional strengths from another creature.

The example i gave them was from one of my own characters called ‘The Lird’ i told them the rhyme about the Lird:-

‘Have you heard about the lird?

He’s a Lion crossed with a Bird…..

People say ‘he’s a bit of a nerd’….

‘he wears pink glasses….and he eats lemon curd!’

The children loved the character and the poem and also talked about how brave the Lird was as half of him was a lion, but that he was fast and could fly high up in the sky as he was also half bird. We then compared the mixed up animals to real life, talking about the fact that we are all ‘combinations’ of one form or another, and that everyone is different, including us!

The children made flip books, where they drew four characters on four different pages, and then cut each character into three and then through folding each piece backwards and forwards they could make ‘mixed up characters’ that they then named and described.

The Lird!

Mixed up animals created through the flip book!

The second part of this session was to finish off the balloon characters, and this entailed lots of glue, fabrics, tissue paper, pipe cleaners and such like – and lots  of fun! The ‘birds’ that were being made in the group really started to take shape with their flapping feathers being carefully placed, and the monsters started to look really scary with their scales and tentacles…….ooooooeeeeerrrrr…. these characters were really coming to life!

A lovely bird character

Another lovely and colourful bird

Green scary monsters!!!

Monsters with tentacles!! -oooooooh scary!!

birds with very very big beaks!!