I am thrilled to have a guest post from award winning illustrator Yasmeen Ismail as part of the blog tour for her Draw & Discover series of activity books. Yasmeen is the bestselling author/illustrator of Time for Bed Fred and I’m a Girl. The books in the Draw & Discover series are her first activity books and they are stunners!
Lively and full of humour, Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad is beautifully designed and produced and just makes me smile. I love that it has splashes of colour throughout and is so playful and inviting, encouraging kids to explore their own feelings as they create. Each spread has a prompt, open enough to allow little artists to put their own personality to paper. This is my favourite page:
Yasmeen has kindly put together a sneak peek behind the scenes of Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad:
Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad is the third in the ‘Draw & Discover’ series. With this series I wanted to take intangible ideas and help kids put them into context. For Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad I followed the same format as I have in the first two books (Push, Pull, Empty, Full and Inside, Outside, Upside-down) I created three characters – Donkey, Cat and Dog – and activities in which to explore intangible ideas such as feelings and emotions.
When I create characters, I decide on how they look alongside planning the whole book. I often make little page sketches, and then cut them all out make a pile of the ones I want to keep and the ones I don’t want to use. The sketches I keep are artworked up with an ink-brush pen, and then put together and tied up in Photoshop. Below are some images of early artwork I made for Happy, Sad, Feeling, Glad.
Those of you that have seen the book will notice a new character below, called Pig – we very nearly had Pig in the book as well as Cat, Dog and Donkey, but in the end I decided to stick with just three characters. There was no real reason for this except that the previous two books had three characters and there was no need for an additional character. So Pig was left out. Perhaps he’ll turn up again, who knows?
This next image is one of my very early sketches of Cat. She is frustrated because she can’t get the sauce out of the bottle onto her sandwich! I eventually decided to keep this spread in the book but changed the theme to Cat being ‘excited’ about her sandwich.
Below are some more sketches that are more finished, and give an idea of they kind of colour I wanted to use. What makes these images different from the earlier sketches, is that they are a little tidier, and they show a clearer idea of what each of the activity spreads should be about.
Here is the first sketch I did for the cover. It came out pretty much the same in the final artwork, except for the title change!
WIN a full set of the Draw & Discover books – and a tote bag!
A huge thank you to Yasmeen for taking the time to share her work. I can’t recommend these books enough. You can get your copies here.
Or, to be in with a chance of winning a full set of the Draw & Discover books plus a tote bag, follow this blog and add a comment below, or head over to twitter to enter. Open to UK only, closing date eod Tuesday 18th April. Good luck!
Thanks to Yasmeen and to Laurence King Publishing.
Illustrator photo by Olivia Hemingway.
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