The Forgotten Illustrator

I have been drawing a lot lately, for the exact reason Sherryl Clark so eloquently discussed over on her blog.  It’s in a vain attempt to fight a phenomenon that occurs after finishing a large writing project.  For the last few months I have trained myself to be thinking about a certain set of characters, having their scenes roll out in my head and gluing my bum to the chair each and every day to write some more of it down.  Then last week I finally typed the final word and that was it.  Done.  Finished.  Kaput.

But the characters are still there in my head.  They are still running riot and demanding my attention, but I’m finished with them for now.  There’s nothing more I can offer them.  Yet the routine I’d developed has the unfortunate side effect of making me feel guilty when I’m not on my computer and I feel pressured to jump straight into the next writing project.  But as Sherryl discusses, it is healthy to have a break.  I was complaining to Andrew about this phenomena and how I didn’t have anything to ‘do’ to distract myself.  He looked at me and said, “What, have you forgotten you’re an illustrator?”  Well, yes, maybe I had.  Writing can do that to a person.

So here I am, drawing and sketching and painting and forcing those other characters out of my head like a landlord on a rampage.  Today I have just done some sketches and experiments (which are of little interest to anyone outside myself) so I thought I’d post another image I did recently:

2009-02-042

This is the climax scene for a picture book I’ve written, and I created it using my favourite combination of media.  I sketched the girl and her toy, then live traced them in Illustrator to get that wonderful bold chunky outline.  I then painted them using watercolour – which I love because it forces me to free up and not always be so controlled (which us Virgos need sometimes).  I scanned this in and combined it all in photoshop, using textured paper for the comic book style rays in the background.  My goal was to capture the heightened emotion of the scene.  Oh, and I love hand made typography (which people like Shaun Tan use to great effect) so I’ve created my own.

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1 Response to “The Forgotten Illustrator”


  1. 1 Madeline Stephenson March 24, 2009 at 6:29 am

    Wow, I’m behind. I have to say, Kath, I am jealous that you have two loves that you are so good at! Now…on to the next post!


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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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