It’s been almost three years since I started working on my book “Pete and the Enchanted Book”. And it was only today that it hit me – I’m actually getting somewhere. Writing and illustrating a picture book is such a humongous project that getting to the end is not something I care to think about because the end always feels so far away.
But today I realised that I’ve reached an important milestone. The drafts for most illustrations are done. I still have loads of work left – but we’re talking months not years now. Not even a year! Now that put a smile on my face.
Anyway, here’s the latest illustration that I completed this evening.
Work in progress! After a three months break I am slowly getting back to working on my picture book; “Pete and the enchanted book.” So… watch this space 🙂
I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished my little side project and the break has worked wonders. My inspiration has returned and I can’t wait to apply all the new things that I’ve learnt about blender to my new illustrations.
I now understand a lot more about Blender Cycles which I will be using in the future. I’ve also learnt some very handy techniques in texturing which I hope will improve my work greatly. It certainly pays off to take a few weeks out to recharge the old ‘inspirational’ batteries.
Here’s my (almost) finished illustration.
And here’s a little video, showing the modelling stages of the 3d model.
Producing my Amelia picture book and going straight into writing and illustrating another book, has totally worn me out. My enthusiasm and energy for a new story has flatlined. So, I’ve decided to take a few months off and do something completely different whilst I wait for the return of inspiration.
If you have been following this blog, then you will know that I do all my illustrations in Blender3D. One thing that I’ve found very difficult, is to find the time to learn more about the software. There never seem to be enough time as writing and illustrating seems to pretty much fill up all my spare time! So, I thought, now is the opportune moment to learn more about the areas in Blender that either I struggle with, could improve or know very little about.
So I enrolled on an online course called “Creating 3d environments” in Blender. It is already giving me new ideas that I want to incorporate in my latest picture book. Although the course takes you through a tutorial and teaches you how to build up the scenes shown in the trailer, I’ve decided to work on my own project and build my own 3D environment.
My project is to try and recreate the majestic and beautiful old house that you see in the picture below.
I have very fond memories of this house, as it was the house of my late grandmother. The picture was taken in 2012 in Rosario, Uruguay, about a year before it was sold to a property developer.
The building is still there today; now abandoned and badly dilapidated, looking almost haunted and ready to crumble into a pile of dust. I guess it’s only a matter of time before it’s demolished.
I will post the end result of my 3d illustration here once it’s finished.
Designing a grumpy, spoiled little kid called Pete. So this is what the main character in my new picture book will look like. Maybe I make a few minor modifications before I complete the design, but it’s more or less finished now… phew!
When I first started thinking about Willisa, the witch in my picture book, I knew I didn’t want her to look like a typical witch. You know; long black hair, green skin, big pointy nose, black clothes, striped witch-tights, pointy witch hat, a cat companion, etc. The only traditional witch paraphernalia that I wanted in Willisa was a flying broom.
But I didn’t have much success in designing a new kind of witch. No matter how much I tried, it just didn’t work. I ended up with a witch that has pretty much the same characteristics as your traditional witch.
I kept the long black unruly witch hair. I didn’t make her skin green but I gave her a pointy witch-nose and a pointy witch hat! She may not have a cat companion, but she does wear an outfit that has cat paws all over it. A subtle (?) reference that she does love her cats maybe?
In terms of her personality, I imagine Willisa young and very outgoing, full of energy and with a positive outlook in life. Willisa is not an evil witch, she can be mischievous, as most people with a young mind tend to be, but I did write her as naïve. And it is her naivety and her inabilities to foresee the consequences of her actions that lands poor little Pete in huge trouble and drives the plot of my story.
If you observe children on a monkey bar or playing on a balance bar, you will note that more often than not they’re fearless, blissfully unaware of any danger. Gymnasts have a fierce attitude and look amazingly confident when performing. I wanted to combine these two qualities in Willisa; the child and the professional. So to convey her youthfulness, confidence and child-like energy, I decided that, whenever Willisa appears in my book she will be riding her flying broom posed in a way only a professional gymnast would be able to pose, but with the facial expression of an excited child.
I’m currently in the process of testing out different styles for my latest picture book, entitled Pete and the Enchanted Book. Mostly I’ve been concentrating on the style of the characters, which are a bit more detailed than the ones in my Amelia Dyer story. This is mainly because I’ve learned a bit more about modelling and texturing since I finished work on Amelia, so I’m putting these new skills to work.
Pete and the Enchanted Book contains several characters. The picture below introduces the TV crew, which has a small but very important role in the story of Pete. When they appear in the story, they will be reporting outdoors, but I wanted to experiment and play a bit with the lamp settings in Blender, so I built a very simple TV studio background, to allow me to play a bit with lighting and colour.
In the last couple of years, I’ve learned just how important lighting is and the difference it can make to a 3D render. Lighting a 3D scene is an area I would like to learn more about, so I’m hoping to find a course or book in the next few months that could teach me more about this.
This is probably my last blog entry before Christmas and New Year, so Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for following / reading my posts in 2015.
My first illustration of my new picture book is almost complete. Below is a little movie that I made, to show the different stages I go through when creating an illustration using Blender.
In the last three weeks or so, I’ve been busy working on the trailer of the Amelia picture-book. And a couple of days ago I received the finalised text from my editor so I’m now busy deciding on the book layout for the printed version of the book as well as finalising a few illustrations. I’m almost ready to send the whole thing off to the printers. Yay! I can’t wait to show you the little film that I’ve done for the book and share my Victorian Horror tale with you guys!
I am now finalising the Amelia Dyer illustrations on a weekly basis, which means that I’m rapidly getting to the end of a journey that I started well over a year ago.
Coming to the end of my picture book is such an emotional trip. I feel upset, relived, exhausted, and ecstatic; all at the same time.
Upset because I get emotionally attached to the work. The thought of saying goodbye to the characters and the story that I spent so much time creating, is upsetting.
Relived because the ridiculous amount of work that I had created for myself is nearing the end. I’m also relived that I don’t have to spend mornings, or nights or weekends struggling over an impossible sentence that I can’t accurately compose. Furthermore, that terrible illustration that I just can’t get right, no matter how much time I spend on it.
Exhausted because writing and illustrating a book takes a lot of commitment and hard work.
Ecstatic since there is no better feeling in the world than seeing the results of a completed product. Holding your freshly printed book is an amazing feeling.
It also means that I have now started to think about my next picture book. I’ve already written the text and it’s more or less finished. It needs editing and rewriting for sure, but the plot and the first draft are complete. The work ahead from now is focused on illustrations and character designs, which will be my future project once Amelia is ready to send to the printers.
I’m happy to say that I’ll soon be leaving the blood and gore behind and I’ll be back writing children’s stories again. I’ll reveal more in the coming weeks. Thanks for all the support you’ve given me here, either by liking or commenting on my posts, following or messaging me directly with your feedback and comments.