2017 so far...

My first post this year!! It has been a VERY busy couple of months over here. Where to start??

I'll start with guinea pigs. The second book in Holly Webb's gorgeous Furry Friends series was published in January. This one is called Marshmallow Magic and introduces Josephine's sister, Angelique. Whereas Josephine is a lovely, sweet, happy little guinea pig, Angelique seems to be rather more unfriendly... and Sophie will have to try and win her over! 

The front cover and some inside artwork. Angelique is looking quite sweet here!

The front cover and some inside artwork. Angelique is looking quite sweet here!

In February the fifth book in Sir Chris Hoy's Flying Fergus series was published, co-written with Joanna Nadin. As well as Fergus, Daisy and the usual gang, this book features a superstar all girl cycling team called The Velociraptors - I absolutely loved illustrating them! They look like a no-nonsense feisty bunch...

Front cover of Book 5 and an inside artwork of the awesome Velociraptors...

Front cover of Book 5 and an inside artwork of the awesome Velociraptors...

I can't believe we're on Book 5 of Flying Fergus already! But don't worry, we had the fantastic news late last year that there will be another 5 on the way!! I've already started with the sketches for Book 6, and while it's all a bit *top secret* at the moment, I can reveal that the gang go on some adventures away from home... 

We also all got a bit Flying Fergus crazy around World Book Day this year. There were so many fantastic Fergus (and Daisy!) costumes appearing, it was absolutely brilliant to see them. Chris, Joanna and I also did a few events throughout February, including the Imagine Children's Festival, Wee Write in Glasgow and the BIGGEST BOOK SHOW ON EARTH. We were on stage with some fantastic other authors and illustrators, the whole thing was very inspiring! Here are some photos:

And finally, with Bologna just around the corner, I hope to be able to soon reveal the thing that has been keeping me busiest of all!! I have a very, very, VERY exciting but at the moment *top secret* project being developed with Oxford University Press.

I'm desperate to tell you all and hope to very soon :)

That's all for now, 

Clare xx

More marvellous magazines

Throughout 2016 I've continued to work with the brilliant team at Araştırmacı Çocuk magazine in Turkey. I really enjoy working on the magazine, I always have to research interesting topics.

This year I've learnt: how to test watermelons for freshness, the origins of the Aztec calendar, internet safety for children, the workings of mechanical clocks, the movements of the sun, what a projectionist does and how to draw Einstein! 

Here are some recent illustrations I've done for them:

And there is more on the portfolio page here .

Furry Friends!

Earlier this year, Scholastic asked me to illustrate the new series from children's bestselling superstar, Holly Webb. The series is called Furry Friends, and the first title Sophie's Squeaky Surprise, is hot off the press this week!! 

The first cover. Check out that macaroon tower!

The first cover. Check out that macaroon tower!

The series follows Sophie, a little girl who has moved from London to Paris. Sophie is a bit unhappy in her new school, and finds adapting to a new country rather difficult... until she befriends Josephine, a macaroon-eating, tutu-wearing guinea pig, and things become a lot more interesting!!

I have thoroughly enjoyed illustrating this series so far. The character design for the guinea pigs was great fun - we had to think about how far we wanted to anthropomorphise Josephine and her friends, and also tackle the scale difference for a guinea-pig and human friendship.

Guinea pig studies

Guinea pig studies

Development of Sophie and the scale between her and Josephine

Development of Sophie and the scale between her and Josephine

It's also been very interesting working on a series with a real life location - lots of Parisian locations are central to the books storyline. I've had pictures of Paris surrounding my desk, and particularly enjoyed this detailed scene of Josephine pirouetting down a guinea pig sized Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versaille!

Have a look at a couple more images from the book over on my portfolio page here.

I'm already looking forward to illustrating the next one!

Clare x

 

A bit busy...

It's been a whirlwind over here lately, especially as I took a few weeks off for a rather exciting event... 

...but I promise I'll be back soon with some new exciting project updates!

Clare x

Fergus takes off

It's all about Flying Fergus at the moment! The first 2 books came out just before World Book Day. I went to the (truly fantastic) Discover Center in London to talk about Fergus, Chimp, bikes and teamwork with Chris and Joanna. Here we are chatting to 350 excited kids:

The books have also been featured on BBC's The One Show, ITV's Lorraine and Chris Evan's Radio 2 show. Fergus is certainly making waves!

There is also a fantastic website to learn more about the books and the team behind them. Check it out here http://www.flyingfergus.co.uk/

Until next time!

C x

Let 2016 commence!

Happy New Year everyone! I'm launching the year with some very exciting news: I've spend the last few months illustrating a great new project with non other than Olympian cyclist Sir Chris Hoy!

Chris has written the books alongside award-winning author Joanna Nadin and they are published by Piccadilly Press. The books focus on Fergus, an ordinary 9-year-old boy who is desperate for a top-of-the-range bike for his birthday. His family are unable to afford such an extravagant gift, so Fergus inherits his dad’s old rusty bike instead. But when Fergus tests it at the park, he discovers there might be more to the bike than meets the eye...

I was thrilled to be asked to illustrate the series, and my desk has been peppered with pictures of bikes and cyclists ever since. There are five books in the series, and each one features about 50 of my illustrations. The first two books will be released at the end of February, so keep your eyes peeled!


Getting festive!

Bells are jingling at Elsom Illustration HQ!!

Here's a wintery illustration I created earlier this year for Scholastic's First Grade Friends Forever series, written by Judy Katschke. This is from The Snowman Showdown and shows the gang celebrating after some competitive snowman building: 

More books in that lovely series happening in 2016, hurrah!

Also, you might have noticed - Christmas cards are back in the shop! There are still packs remaining, and you can buy them here: http://elsomillustration.bigcartel.com/
Which is your favourite?

Anyway, hope you're all feeling festive :)
More soon!

Clare x

Workspiration

The nice people over at Workspiration interviewed me talking about drawing, biscuits and The House of Illustration.. You can read about it here.

New work!

Tons of new work in the portfolio section!


There are updates on the new titles from the Spies in Disguise and Sparky series. There are new additions from ongoing work with Scholastic USA, such as First Grade Friends Forever and Puppy Pals.  You can see the work from the very recently published Charlie and the Aztecsand also some development work from my own books. 


Safe to say it's been a busy year so far!! Enjoy have a look though. Here's one of my recent favourites to get you started: 

Nursery Mural

I spent the weekend finishing off a nursery mural for my little niece. It was great fun being unleashed on a wall!

I had a very loose brief of 'animal themed', which quickly led to the jungle theme. I liked the idea of a tree full of animals, to give a bit of height to all the characters. The cot or bed will be surrounded by lush green leaves and the cheeky creatures.

It was a nice challenge to work on such a large scale, and only with paintbrushes (where is the 'undo' function on a paintbrush?!) Very pleased with the outcome. Here are some photos:

If you fancy sprucing up your own space with a bespoke mural, get in touch!

Araştırmacı Çocuk

Last year I starting regularly working with the lovely guys at Araştırmacı Çocuk magazine in Turkey.
This is the cover of their latest issue, which was all based around astronomy:

  The issue also featured information on famous astronomers. Here are my portraits of Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler:

 

The issue also featured information on famous astronomers. Here are my portraits of Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler:

More images I've done for Araştırmacı Çocuk are in the portfolio. Looking forward to working on the next issue already!

More images I've done for Araştırmacı Çocuk are in the portfolio. Looking forward to working on the next issue already!

Sparky's Bad Spell

Not long until Sparky's Bad Spell is published! This is a series I'm working on with Red Fox, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. Sparky is a non-magical puppy who gets accidentally whisked off to Mrs Mothwick's Magic Academy. Sparky becomes the 'familiar' of the loveable but rather inept Carl, and needs to learn how to keep up with his magical friends. This is the second book in the series, and here is the cover, along with a sneaky peak at a new character, the evil Mrs Cackleback: 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pixar Times

The Pixar Times is a fantastic news site, covering (you guessed it) all things Pixar!
I recently contributed a piece to their 'Pixart' section, and here it is:

Tell us about your piece: "I started off by sketching some of my favourite characters, and found it hard to stop. It quite quickly turned into my personal Pixar wall of fame! There are framed snapshots of Edna Mode from The Incredibles, Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc, Wall-E, Dot from A Bugs Life, Woody, Dug from Up and Squirt from Finding Nemo. These are all characters that have really stuck with me from the films. There is a desk in front of the wall, with a few more Pixar pieces: the snow globe from Knick Knack, a little character from For the Birds (because let’s not brush over those beautiful shorts) an Incredibles mug, the iconic lamp, and a pencil with a certain number on it… It was lovely to work on something so self-indulgent. I really enjoy character design, and it was a refreshing challenge to focus on someone else’s style. I spent about 30 minutes on the image most mornings in the past couple of weeks as a warm up to my day. It forced me to draw differently, to move away from my default and experiment with different techniques, colours, brushes, lighting and poses. A tiny insight into how the masters do it!"

Tell us about your piece: "I started off by sketching some of my favourite characters, and found it hard to stop. It quite quickly turned into my personal Pixar wall of fame! There are framed snapshots of Edna Mode from The Incredibles, Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc, Wall-E, Dot from A Bugs Life, Woody, Dug from Up and Squirt from Finding Nemo. These are all characters that have really stuck with me from the films. There is a desk in front of the wall, with a few more Pixar pieces: the snow globe from Knick Knack, a little character from For the Birds (because let’s not brush over those beautiful shorts) an Incredibles mug, the iconic lamp, and a pencil with a certain number on it…

It was lovely to work on something so self-indulgent. I really enjoy character design, and it was a refreshing challenge to focus on someone else’s style. I spent about 30 minutes on the image most mornings in the past couple of weeks as a warm up to my day. It forced me to draw differently, to move away from my default and experiment with different techniques, colours, brushes, lighting and poses. A tiny insight into how the masters do it!"

Some close-ups:

And you can see the image and full interview here: http://pixartimes.com/2014/09/26/pixart-september-feature-iii-pixar-wall-of-fame/

Thanks for featuring me Pixar Times!

August 2014 books!

Well, I think it's safe to say that August 2014 was a pretty exciting month at Elsom HQ.

Three smashing books I worked on were published: The Last Chocolate Chip Cookie by Jamie Rix, Maisie Mae: Camping is not very Ooh La La! by Poppy Harper and Sparky at Magic School by Ruby Nash. Have a look through the portfolio pages for more images.

I'd love to know which one is your favourite!


Eygptian characters

I have been working on a few historical characters recently. Here are some Ancient Egyptians for you! Loved researching all the details for the clothes and jewels.


Miss Hits

Morning all! I've been working again with the fab Judy Murray, and it's brilliant to announce her latest project MISS HITS.

Miss Hits is a tennis programme specifically targeted at 5-8 year old girls, which aims to lay the foundations for future female tennis stars. I helped Judy visualise the six characters (and a dog!) who lead the progamme. Here is one of the girls, Belle Backhand:

Not officially launching until Autumn, this is very early days at the moment, but here she is introducing Miss Hits (make sure you check out minute 02:21 and 02:28...!) http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/get-inspired/28135778

Great Barrier Reef

I decided to do a finished artwork based on sketches I did in Australia after snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. So, here it is!

I loved snorkeling, it was like being in another universe. The colours, the crazy creatures, the silence... and I don't think anything can beat the moment a turtle glides towards you.

The original sketch

The original sketch

The finished artwork

The finished artwork

Some close-up sections

Some close-up sections

(Oh, and this is the first illustration done with my shiny new graphics tablet - oooohh!)