Friday, 4 February 2011


Ok so people often ask 'how do you work - what's your painting process?' (Ok so not that often really but there has been the odd occasion.... honestly) Anyhoo, so for those few who might be interested, here's some step-by-step photos I took when creating a spread for Cub's First Winter

So first I start with a pencil rough which I often draw smaller than the final piece. I scan it in, play around with it in Photoshop if need be, then email it to the client and when it's approved print it out. I only have an A4 printer though so I print it out in 3 sections. You'll notice that in many cases I don't have the right equipment and just busk it...
Then I trace it onto Daler-Rowney acrylic paper... people who do things properly use a light box for this. I either use my glass desk with a lamp underneath it or hold it up against a window - although this last method can involve extreme arm pain but hey, you've gotta suffer for your art man...

Then, after staring at the blank page for some hours full of panicky self-doubt and fear of ballsing it all up big-style, I start blocking in some background colour - I use cheap and cheerful Galeria System 3 Acrylic paint...

... once I've got the sky sorted I start working on the next things in the foreground - in this case the trees and keep adding layers of paint...

(I also start to think 'oh crikey this looks terrible should I start again?' and have to remind myself they all start looking like this and just plough on...)

It's easy to keep adding layers of paint until you totally loose the line of your foreground characters so at this point I white them out...

Then I start to block in some colour and highlights to the foreground characters and some extra shading and shadows to the background. Bored yet? Feel free to leave, I won't be offended.

It's normally at this point that someone walks in, takes one dismissive look at the painting which frankly looks appalling at this stage and says 'Oh that's lovely' with a slightly perplexed and patronizing look on their face. At which point I'm likely to overreact and scream 'No it's not! It's not finished yet you IMBECILE'

Now it's time for the foreground details - the leaves and tree in this case, and I start to add some fur-like brush strokes to my little foxes.

More fur is added....more paint get the idea....

And finally the finishing touches and details - including an owl in the background overseeing the proceedings.

So there you have it. It's a bit hap-hazard, a bit messy, a bit angsty but we get there in the end.



  1. Absolutely beautiful and not at all boring. I find this very interesting!! Thanks for sharing lovely! x

  2. That's really really interesting, thanks for posting this, I really like seeing people's work process.
    Well done for having the presence of mind to remember to take photos regularly.
    And a lovely picture at the end too :)

  3. Really love your artwork...even the rough cketches :D Gorgeous children books illustrations!
    ps-love ur sense of humour :D :D :D

  4. Aww, you guys.... you're all far too talented to be so kind so thank you for your lovely words! And glad it was of interest. Do any of you have anything similar on your sites/blogs? I'd love to see (on second thoughts...might make me realise just how amateur my own approach is) ;0) x

  5. Great post!
    I's wonderful to see the process, and you make it seem so easy. That takes a lot of talent and skill.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Really great post! I find it so interesting and helpful to see how other artists attack the process. And my favorite bit "Then, after staring at the blank page for some hours full of panicky self-doubt and fear of ballsing it all up big-style" - I hear ya sista!!

    Thanks again for sharing!

  7. Love seeing your process.. and your painting is beautiful.. absolutely gorgeous!

  8. This is a wonderful post and your work is gorgeous. I love seeing how other illustrators work :) Like others have said, thanks for sharing.

  9. Thanks for sharing this! The illustration is adorable!!

  10. Your work is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your process. :)

  11. Thank you so much for all your encouraging comments - all you lovely people. xx

  12. I just love your illustrations. So beautiful ! The foxes are so cute !

  13. Great post Rebecca, I just love to read about other illustrators process. You paintings have such a softness and warmth about them, that surely resonate with little ones and adults alike! Beautiful work!

  14. You don't update much, do you?! Love the work and really enjoying the course.

    1. ...erm... no I don't, so sorry, I can only hope you forgive me. ;0) x