Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book Birthday: Pipsie, Nature Detective

Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar by Rick DeDonato and illustrated by me is out in the world now! Pipsie is published by the amazing team at Two Lions Publishing.

I'm really excited since Pipsie is the result of years of hard work by many people behind the scenes. If you see Pipsie in the wild I hope you enjoy it just as much I loved illustrating her.

PipsieCover

Here are some fun behind the scenes stuff for Pipsie.
The character design went through MANY iterations.
Pipsie character1
First character design ideas for Pipsie. I really liked the lab coat but it didn't really convey nature detective.



Pipsie Hair
Exploring Pipsie's hairstyles.
Pipsie Outfit4 1
Accessorizing Pipsie's outfit.
Pipsie2
Getting closer to the final Pipsie look.
TracyBishop PipsieCharacterFinal
The final Pipsie!


This is what my work space looked like while I was finishing up Pipsie.
TracyWorkspace2 2TracyBishopWorkSpace

To find out more about Pipsie, visit her website. There are a lot of activity sheets for you to enjoy.
www.pipsienaturedetective.com.

You can also see Pipsie information on her Facebook page.


Places to buy the book.
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Birthday! ORANGUTANKA: A Story in Poems


It's here! ORANGUTANKA is released into the wild today! 

As we often hear from authors and illustrators, it takes years to finally see your book in print. If you can believe it, I delivered my first pass at color illustrations in November of 2013! Here is a fun glimpse at what a page from this book looks like before and after it's finished:




If you'd like to see more of the process that goes into making this book and many others (and you happen to live near Cape Cod, MA!) please visit the Cotuit Center for the Arts for The Process of Picture Books, a show curated by author/illustrator Jim Hill


For even more ORANGUTANKA fun, please check out the Nerdy Book Club Trifecta posts with myself and Margarita!

*While you're there, make sure to watch the trailer!

Buy the book:


Cheers!
~Renee

Monday, March 16, 2015

What I'm working on…

Lots going on behind the scenes that I can't show, so here are some babies for your entertainment. I just love drawing babies!

Rub a dub, dub. Three men in a tub.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Simply Messing About...with Watercolor!

Since I'm not yet able to post images from the current book I'm working on (A Morning with Gong Gong, Lee & Low), here are a couple little paintings I've been doing for fun. I've had this Windsor & Newton travel watercolor set for a couple years, but I've hardly used it. I decided to pull it out and simply mess about! Though watercolor isn't as forgiving as my computer, it's been fun to make marks on paper and delight in happy accidents. I'm hoping these little exercises in watercolor will spill over and help me with some spontaneity in the digital world of painting. Here's to having fun with real paint!

~christina


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Advice for Students


Every year I get e-mails from art students asking about what they should do to become an children’s illustrator. Here’s my general advice on what can be helpful. This is just my opinion so take this with a grain of salt. You should definitely do a lot of research on your own and find what works for you.

  • Draw, draw, draw

  • Read, read, read
    • Go to the library and bookstore and read lots of picture books. Read and analyze the books. How does the illustration push the story along? How does the illustrator add to the story beyond words? How is page turn used to move the story? How does the illustrator vary the composition throughout the book? Do you see the differences in character design and composition between stories intended for different age groups? How are books intended for 2 year olds different from those intended for 5 or 7 year olds? 
  • Have your own website
    • You NEED a website of your own. The first thing anyone is gong to ask when you say you are an illustrator is a link to your work. 

    • Virb.com, Squarespace are great low-cost website providers and you can have a great portfolio site up without any coding knowledge. You’re an illustrator, not a web developer. Sure, you can learn how to put up a website for yourself but your time is better spent creating more illustrations.

    • If you can’t do a paid website, use the various free options that are out there (flickr, tumblr, behance, etc.). It doesn’t matter what you use, just have your work available for people to see online.

  • Join Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 
    • If you want to be a children’s book illustrator, there is a lot to learn about the craft and business of it. There isn’t a better place to learn. Join this organization and attend local and even national conferences. It’s worth it.

  • Go on Twitter
    • There is a huge community of picture book illustrators and writers on twitter. Follow them, make friends, learn from each other. A great place to connect with illustrators is by going to the #kidlitart hashtag.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I'm working on...

Here's a little peek into my process for some small commissions I recently finished! 
First, I gathered information on my subjects (I asked about favorite colors and animals). I took this information and started with really loose sketches in my sketchbook:
I tried to mimic those sketches as best I could on watercolor paper using very light pencil. I went over that with ink line and when that dried, I erased the pencil and began painting and coloring. 


The results look a little bit like this! The colors ended up looking great together:



These pieces for Kickstarter backers were all inspired by Peter H. Reynold's International Dot Day. In fact, the alligator piece on the bottom left is for him! It's his son, Henry Rocket reading a book about rockets, of course! 


Cheers!
~Renee

Monday, January 19, 2015

What I'm working on…



I've worked on a number of hidden picture pieces for Highlights Let's Play Hidden Pictures books over the last two years. They're challenging and fun. This is one of my favorites. Armadillos are so much fun to draw!