Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Old MacDonald Sketch

For our summer challenge, I have chosen to depict the Old MacDonald nursery rhyme. Here's the sketch.
And here's the final!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some of Our Favourite Books

At our most recent meeting, we discussed our favourite children's books/publications about illustrations.

Here are some of them:
"201x Children's Writer's And Illustrator's Market" editor Alice Pope 
Uppercase Magazine

"Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication" by Martin Salisbury

"Who's Got the Apple" by Jan Loof 

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick

"Inspector Peckit" by Don Freeman

"Miss Nelson is Missing!" by James Marshall and Harry Allard
"It Could be Worse" by James Stevenson
"Each Peach Pear Plum" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
"Rainy Day Magic" by Marie Louise Gay
"Extra Yarn" by Jon Klassen and Marc Barnett
"Tales from Outer Suburbia" by Shaun Tan

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Summer challenge

Fantastic illustrator and SCBWI member, Alissa Staples, has provided us with the next topic for our challenge!

Hi Everyone!

 For this next challenge, illustrators get a choice between 1) a quick illustration topic, or 2) the text of a fairy tale to try the book spread challenge once again.

The quick topic is "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

The book spread challenge is to do a picture book spread from "Jack and the Beanstalk."

The text is as follows (courtesy of

As the beanstalk finished, a path stretched in front of Jack. At a distance he could see a castle. When he reached the castle, he stood in front of the huge gate and pulled the bell. A large woman came out of the gate. "How did you reach here?" she asked, "come in before my husband arrives." Jack was taken into the kitchen. The table and chair were like mountains to him. "Have some breakfast, you must be hungry," said the woman. Jack ate a plate full of food. Loud steps could be heard suddenly. "That's my husband," said the woman, "you must hide or he will eat you." Jack went behind the gate. "Fee, Fo, Fi, Hum, I smell the blood of an English man. Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bread," shouted the giant as he came into the kitchen. "You are imagining things," said his wife. "There is no English man here.  Your breakfast is on the table.
Jack watched the giant as he ate his breakfast & very often he would stop and sniff and then carry on eating. When he was full, he called his wife, "bring my golden hen." The hen was tiny and sat on the table in front of him. "Lay golden hen," said the giant. The hen began to lay eggs and they were golden eggs. Jack was seeing all the things from his hiding place. The giant soon began to snore and was fast asleep. Jack jumped and climbed the table, crept past the giant, picked up the hen and ran. He ran fast out of the castle and then down through the beanstalk.

The deadline will be July 31.  Remember, anyone is eligible to participate.  Good luck!


Alissa Staples- Sleeping Beauty

My intention was to create two spreads for this challenge, one of the state of the kitchen as everyone fell asleep, and one of the castle being gradually covered in brier roses.  I've inked the artwork and am in the middle of painting them, but alas, I did not make the deadline!  I hope to have these painted some day soon.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Shantala Robinson- Sleeping Beauty

This is a photo of my work in progress. I am experimenting with "moving" illustrations, so hopefully, I'll be able to upload a video shortly.

Nancy Vo- Sleeping Beauty

Monday, January 23, 2012

Change in Blog Format

Hi All,

As busy as we all are these days, we likely do not have time to partipciate in a monthly illustration challenge. Also, we may want more than a month to work on a fully-realized illustration that is worthy of our portfolio. For these reasons, we are changing the format of the challenge on this blog.

We are now going to be illustration passages from well-known children's books. The challenge will take place every three months, starting this January. I'll post up the passage and illustrators will have three months to work on the peice. Email me at any time during those three months with your illustration, and I'll post it up on the blog.

I hope you all have fun with this new format! Feedback and suggestion for future story ideas are welcome. So, here goes... looking forward to seeing all your illustrations!
January- March 30th, 2012 challenge:

Excerpt from Sleeping Beauty, Grimm's Fairy Tale version - translated by Margaret Hunt.

In a little room sat an old woman with a spindle, busily spinning her flax.  The old woman was so deaf that she had never heard the King's command that all spindles should be destroyed.
"Good morning, Granny," said the Princess, "what are you doing?"
"I am spinning," said the old woman.
"What is the thing that whirls round so merrily?" asked the Princess and she took the spindle and tried to spin too.
But she had scarcely touched the spindle when it pricked her finger.  At that moment she fell upon the bed which was standing near and lay still in a deep sleep.
The King, Queen and servants had all started their morning routines and right in the midst of them fell asleep too.  The horses fell asleep in the stable, the dogs in the yard, the doves on the roof and the flies on the wall.  Even the fire in the hearth grew still and went to sleep.  The kitchen maid, who sat with a chicken before her, ready to pluck its feathers, fell asleep.  The cook was in the midst of scolding the kitchen boy for a mess he'd made but they both fell fast asleep.  The wind died down and on the trees in front of the castle not a leaf stirred.
Round the castle a hedge of brier roses began to grow up.  Every year it grew higher until at last nothing could be seen of the sleeping castle.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January Meetup

This month, we are meeting this Saturday Jan. 21st at 1pm in Gastownat the Steamclock (305 water st.), do some sketching of old buildings, then go to Opus. If it's raining, we'll just meet at the waves coffee on Hastings and Richards and chat and then go to Opus.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January theme: Fish out of water

Hi All,

Happy New Year!

We'll be starting off 2012 with a challenge called: "Fish out of water". So go ahead, and see what you can do with this theme. Let me know if you have any questions about how the challenge works!


Shantala Robinson
Illustrator Coordinator
SCBWI Canada West