MATS – Children’s Book Illustration

I have been very remiss with my updates, tsk! I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions (why just at that time of year? And why the need for resolve? Just do it!) but I will try and do a quick run-down of a couple of the many pots I have boiling currently….

The biggest and most exciting is that I am currently doing the Make Art That Sells Children’s Book Illustration course, with Lilla Rogers and Zoe Tucker. It is immensely exciting and every gammut of emotions I can think of really – exhilirating, terrifying, hopeful…all that and more.

Here is an example of what I have been working on:


This is an exploration of the accessories that would be part of the life of Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Mount Everest, and an incredibly feisty and inspiring character! I just love her to bits, and Zoe Tucker has written an amazing text for her story.

My other exciting project is that I am preparing to meet with folk from Chronicle Books in March, when they visit for events planned by my local SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and I will have the opportunity to have a dummy book critiqued, as well as my portfolio and illustration work. It is a lot of work trying to prepare for this on top of my class (and upcoming MATS Boot Camp in March), but I feel like I am learning a lot and now is the time to just pour myself into all of this.

So welcome to 2017 of my world – I feel hopeful and positive this will be a year of big changes, and in spite of the fear many people have, I have a lot of optimism that the world is ready for a shift in a really GOOD direction!


Cut-outs, Textures and Flowers

I’m so loving the work of children’s book illustrator Christian Robinson lately, and recently got myself a copy of Gaston, which is one of my all-time favorite children’s books. (You MUST read it if you have not yet! It has a lovely message and the illustrations are superbe. Yes, that is French for superb.)

So I was really inspired to play around with my acrylic paints again, upon examining Robinson’s beautiful work, and I came up with a new way to play with them. I create a page of textured paint, and bring this into Procreate and then cut out my shapes in there to create the images. This is a fun new way to get textured shapes and avoid ubiquitous “black outline syndrome”. (And that is not to say I have anything permanent against black outlines in illustrations, but recently I have become more in love with flat shapes that have a more collaged or cut out look to them).

So here is an early effort at experimenting with this technique, November Flowers.


Bolt Fabric – Monsieur Le Chef!


I have completed my first bolt fabric design assignment for Make Art That Sells (MATS A) and am excited to introduce Monsieur Le Chef!  As you can see, he is a cat, and he has a collection of vintage kitchen accessories that he hopes will bring a smile to your day!

I had so much fun working on this, and learned a lot. The coordinates were something completely new for me, and it was nice to use my icons in different ways and just play around with ideas. We might see more of Monsieur Le Chef in future 🙂

Overlay Awesomeness

For a long time I have been very much in love with overlaid colors, which give that vintage process color printed look, and are just somehow so saturated and lovely. So overlays felt just so right for this new project I am working on, and this is a sneak peek of what I have so far. I am working in Photoshop, and it is lovely to be honing my stylus and Wacom tablet skills a bit too! I also found the perfect, perfect brush in Photoshop, something that has been eluding me for a long time, so I am very happy about that. It won’t really show in this project, but for future works I will most definitely make good use of it.malias_microscope_page1_yes

Delicious Charcoal for a Vintage Kitchen

I am working my way gradually through the awesome self-paced MATS (Make Art That Sells) part A class, which starts off with how to design bolt fabric patterns. This is an entirely new area for me, and very exciting. I have been enjoying trying out different materials (like this charcoal) to see what yummy textures I can add to my lines. Next, I will start to dabble more with the color and add layers and details…

It is so fun to see what cool old gadgets or shapes you can find right in your own kitchen. I am really loving my oven gloves now!cropped_vintage_kitchen

GTS16 Entry

Exciting times! I have entered the Lilla Rogers GTS16 (Global Talent Search), which is highly competitive, and has the most incredible prize – being represented by her agency. This would be a dream come true for me, but I really wasn’t “ready” to enter something like this. Sometimes when an opportunity comes around you just have to take a leap and close your eyes and cross your fingers. Who knows?

My entry is titled “Delightful”. It is simply about the joy of a good cup of tea when you really need one! It was a lot of fun to explore different characters and how they interact in the design, and the layout, colours, textures…all of it!