For this exercise, I was asked to produce a cover illustration for a natural history book for children (age 7-11)entitled Animals from Around the World. The image is to be used as a full colour front jacket to encourage to choose this book from the library shelf. 


It is suggested that I look at how other artists have solved similar problems. For this I was looking at other illustrators process and reading interviews. In the previous post, I looked at Kate Slater. She had step by step photos of how she creates her pieces. This is useful to look at and I especially love how to she shows the depth in the image by actually creating a scene then photographing it. Sort of like when you are designing a set for a theatre performance.

Here is a post from Fridayillustrated.com where they post a new interview with an illustrator every friday.

The link below will lead you to an interview with Ian Miller. Here are some of my favorite quotes. http://fridayillustrated.com/interview-british-illustrator-ian-miller/


“When a more focused approach is required, I do a series of preparatory drawings first, to establish the form and general disposition of the image. There is a time in the image making process when the image speaks back to you, and it is always important that you respond to these calls, if you wish  to avoid a still-born, airless image.”


The link below will lead you to an interview with Author-illustrators Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson

The camera is a bit shaky but you can see his images developing in his sketchbook and how he brainstorms and organizes his ideas. Its really interesting how much is done with the rough sketches and how much detail is put into it.


One very tired wombat. by Renee Treml

This is a lovely little interview about the creation of this childrens book. I have been to this sanctuary and I also love wombats! (I know this is not really academic writing, but I love wombats)

I enjoy the illustrations and the different type of birds. The use of line is nothing new, but the choice of background colours and typography make it fresh and fun.



I just popped into the primary library at my school to look at different books on the topic. Unfortunately the books there looked dated. Its amazing how easily illustration, layout and type can age. What I also noticed with the natural history booked is they use photographs and they have a lot of facts. When looking at the more modern books with illustrations, they seem to all tell a story. WIll my book cover read as a book that offers the facts along with fun and interesting imagery? Or will it be a story about the animals on each page?

I think I will gather some resources online to see what else is out there. So I collected these images.

25_7c53580dfb5df44e56e441dd560f5af2 3206cc9499cf792e085a49ff0a1b82ff brown_bear_final worldjumbo-537x368 tumblr_m2q47tiEqH1qe7czqo1_1280 Weird-Friends-Aruego-Jose-9780152021283 renee-treml-wombat-cover 04-steve-jenkins-21 animals-around-the-world_nb14688_1 buddingbookworm all around the world sticker boook



I just found an illustrator’s work that i greatly admire. It made me smile and I wanted to look at all the details involved in his work. Definitely great inspiration for this assignment.

Seima_brendan_wenzel Saola_brendan_wenzel-1000x7352-fizPileated_gibbon_brendan_wenzel THE_PARADE_BRENDAN_WENZEL


There is an interview about his inspiration. Unfortunately he doesn’t speak much about his process. However from looking at the image I could guess its either collage or digital. It looks like this this one specifically he has drawn individual animals. Cut them out and layered them on top of each other. Then the image was photographed. But on his website some of the work looks hand painted, then collaged together digitally.

And here is the link to his website.



To begin i started drawing some animals in my Personal Sketchbook. This was just experimenting with style and media. Then in my learning log sketchbook I added a few pages. After gathering the resources I knew that I didnt want it to just be different animals on a map or globe. I thought that was expected  and has been done before. I did want the book to engage the right audience (age) and be appealing to adults too. My first idea was to show more atleadt for different animals and landscapes. I thought the book could be organised by continents or types of landscapes.. Deserts, oceans, jungles, forests etc.



animalsworld 9animalsworld 7

animalsworld 8 animalsworld 10


Here I experimented with using paper that I made a few months ago. I made it using oil paints, turpentine and water to make a marbling  effect on the paper. I also used pen, watercolour and gouache on the next page.

animalsworld 4 animalsworld 5

Here is what I made after researching Brendan Wenzel. I used gouache to create the animals and cut them out to move them around the composition.

animalsworld 6 animalsworld 1

These are the final sketches before playing with them on photoshop. I could have made more animals but I liked the simplicity of the images.

animalsworld 13 animalsworld 16 animalsworld 11


Here are some layout ideas for the final covers.

And below are my final three choices.




animalsworld 18

23X17 cm on paperback

I added some different elements to this one. The original was a bit too boring for me. I started by adding shapes, like circles to the background to fill up the negative space. After adding the circle i thought of a snow globe. When I think of snow globes I think of all the hotel gift shops where they sell the snow globe of the city visiting. It made me think of “around the world” and also the memories I have of shaking my old snow globes. Inside the book could be snow globes of different habitats with animals inside fitting to that habitat. Who knows, you better open the book to find out! This cover could be built upon, the client could give some ideas if they like it. I think its a clear visual to give them.

animalsworld 17

22×23 cm paperback

This is my favorite. I love the colours for this. I took the image of the oil whale ontop of the oil background and inverted the colours. I could imagine myself completing this book with my vision of each habitat. Its a little bit psychedelic. After the movie Avatar, these intense neon colours have been quite popular. I could imagine this even being a glow in the dark style book where you can see the pages during the daytime, then certain creatures come out at night (turn off the lights and you will see!)




animalsworld 19

23×19 cm paperback

This one is more typically my style of drawing. Using expressive lines and making my own type. The one thing I dont like about this book cover is the format and layout. I think it would work better as a landscape. I added the trees for colour and layers. The animal is also very cute. I think if a client was presented with these three options, im sure they would be excited to pick one and hire me to complete the entire book!


There were many ways I could have taken this exercise. I did think carefully about the appropriate style, materials and methods. I am also using a range of techniques and materials to experiment with. Not perfect, but working at the best of my abilities.



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