Painting with Gouache- my method.
Gouache is a thick opaque watercolour paint used by artists and designers. (there is also acrylic gouache, but I will talk about that in a different post, it is great, but it acts differently and you don't want to mix them together)
Gouache dries to a flat opaque matte finish (if you want it to) and you can overpaint it.
If you are careful the new colour won't lift off/mix with the underneath one- great for someone like me who makes mistakes/ changes their mind…
You can paint light colours over dark colours too, which is very useful.
Gouache comes in tubes, or sometimes jars, and you just squeeze a small amount out on to a palette or plate, or my favourite, a shiny postcard- I'll tell you why later.
Alfie's Amazing Farm illustrated by Jo Brown
I really enjoying working on novelty books for small children, there are lots of different types: Touch and Feel, with different fabrics and textures, Lift-the-Flap, with hidden images, Pull-and-Slide, with parts that move, etc.
Lots of care and attention goes into the design and engineering of these books. The illustrator has to provide artwork for the flaps and moving parts and the backs of the extra pieces too, so sometimes there can be twice as much artwork as in a regular book.
Here's an example of one I illustrated for Scholastic: Alfie's Amazing Farm, The flaps had die cut holes, which 'revealed' something underneath - but when you opened the flap, it was something else entirely.
The little boy Alfie walks around the farm expecting to see ponies, chickens etc, but sees much more unusual animals - lots of fun for me to illustrate! The original artwork was painted in Winsor and Newton gouache on smooth white card, and there is another book in the series Millie's Amazing Garden which features a little girl in her garden, who encounters some hidden exotic animals as she goes about her day.
Novelty Books - Flap books.
Readers Digest Zoo! book with fold out pages.
There are lots of different types of children's books, and they require different things.
Novelty books have some sort of interactive element - flaps, textures, moving parts such as pop ups or sliders, or fold out pages, to give a surprise element.
I have worked lots of books with fold out pages, including this one Zoo! produced for Readers Digest Childrens Books.
I love painting on different paper surfaces, it gives a different look and texture to the painted areas, and you can leave some areas unpainted.
How I use colour in my illustrations.
I initially trained and worked as a textile print designer, (Trent and Manchester if you're interested) which involves working to exacting client briefs, including defined colour palettes. So you only use the colours that have been assigned to that brief.
Fashion colour forecasts are worked out years in advance and every season everyone works to a set palette (that's why all the shops are full of say mustard one year, and chartreuse another time - it's not coincidence!) So one season, orange is a particular Persimmon shade, or purple has to be Aubergine.
This year's Christmas Window at my house.
Badger and Mole, setting off to deliver their presents on Christmas Eve. I based it on some drawings I had in various notebooks (I searched through a LOT of notebooks to find this little mole!)
On my to - do list for November is ‘Make advent calendar’ - some years (ok, most) I’m a bit close to the wire and still scrabbling around on 30 November but I’m trying to get ahead this year! I've been doing this for 15 years now, and I always manage it, but it is easier if you break it down into stages. This is how I do it:
I'm taking part in the Illustrators fair again this year- 18-26 September.
This is an amazing online selling event, with over 100 illustrators involved. You can follow on instagram @illustratorsfair, and also follow the hashtag #illustratorsfair2021 to see and buy work from lots of artists. Or join the Facebook group IllustratorsFair where the artists will be posting their images, with details of how to buy from them (and me!) Look out for the distinctive pencil logo. Many thanks to Michael Czerwinski and Holly T Burrows for organising this, they have done an amazing job.Have a look at my instagram feed for examples of my work I am showcasing in this event @happytomato7
The link for my Thortful cards is https://www.thortful.com/creator/JoBrown
You will see all my current cards.
I can try out card designs here without incurring my own printing costs, so it is an opportunity to find designs you might not find elsewhere. I am experimenting with some hand painted type designs at the moment. Even if you aren't purchasing, I would appreciate it if you could 'like' or 'save' my designs, it would help raise my profile.Thanks!
p.s. You can also buy a different selection directly from me in my shop
So I deleted my Facebook page a while back, in a strop (yes I'm like that) but now I need it, and I started a new one, but I have hardly any followers doh! so if you could show it some love, I'd be very grateful!
Jo Brown, Illustrator.
Want to see which books I recommend?
My affiliate bookshop on bookshop.org is here
I buy most of my art materials at jacksonsart .com - affiliate link here, you get 10% off!