A Day in the Park

A few years ago I illustrated a childrens’ book “A Day in the Park”. The publisher creates and converts picture books to work with a pen that ‘reacts’ to the book when the paper is touched in certain places and plays audio to go along with the text and images. The books are all bi-lingual but are translated into many languages and produced with two languages per book. I only did the one book. I suspect a combination of being a tad too expensive and possibly too slow led to me not getting any further work, but thems the breaks.

The Playground Illustration

When I look at their other titles, mine seem a little ‘over painted’ although they assured me that’s what they wanted, and even asked me to work in Corel Painter. Not my favourite app.

I still haven’t updated past Painter 2016 as I find I use a combination of 2-4 brushes and ignore everything else. Also it runs like a tortoise with piles. I know there were huge improvements with Painter 2020 onwards but when I finally got a machine that could run it without trying to throw itself out of a window I ‘d already decided never to upgrade. I dislike the pushing of paid-for DLC brushes, the full application is £360 and an upgrade with no discounts is £180. Given they release a new version every year that is a crap tonne of cash to lay out for software I barely use.  When I have Painter installed, which I do currently, it keeps shoving a pop-up above everything on my screen telling me there’s a discount or just asking me to upgrade.  Don’t do that shit, it’s annoying.

I’m not going to put more than two of the final pieces up as, quite frankly, I can barely bring myself to look at them. I spent so much time on them and the more I worked, the more I disliked them. I wish we’d gone for a looser style (more like the sketches in this post but with colour). The above image of the playground went through So. Many. Versions. (in sketch concepts) I was about ready to give up, but work is work and I needed to finish.

I still like the back cover though. That’s it, just that one! 😀

Back Cover CHildrens Book


When I was still fresh and sketching up ideas for the pages I was much happier with my output. They had energy and fun. The more they got rearranged the more I found myself not liking anything I produced. I was working from very short content, two lines per page if I recall correctly. It was a very different process to “I’m a Hero Too!”, the book I illustrated for Tim Dunnigan. We worked very closely on that and although it took a while to produce we were both very happy with the final book. There are a couple of things that make me wince in retrospect but on the whole I am still very proud of it.

So… sketches! Possibly my favourite part of the process.  Below are two of the playground iterations. I wanted to focus in on the kids having fun, but they wanted much more in the scene. Fair enough. But I feel the final image, which oddly has more going on, is more static than the below. I think there were 5 or 6 iterations. I did manage to at least squeeze these two kids into the finished work.

The playground Sketch 1
Playground sketch 2

I like to put little details into my work that show more on a second look. Perhaps if I’d added them at this stage the submissions may have been more successful.

Here’s a few more:

Kites Illustration
Pond illustration 2
Walk in the park illustration
Pond illustration 1
Back Cover

The kites image was my first back cover idea. They weren’t keen so I decided on framing the text with trees, which ended up as one tree! I almost got my way 😉

To round up..

I used Sketchbook Pro for the sketches, still my preferred choice for sketching. Although I have been having problems with the right click marking menu on the Huion tablet. More about that in a different post.  Corel Painter 2016 was used for the finished artwork. As I was working for a publisher I had no input with Indesign or fonts.

I did find the book on their site some time ago, but I can’t locate it now. Awks…

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