Friday, 29 June 2012

The Fool's Apprentice

I was rooting around for some paper the other day, when I came across a small portfolio case, tucked down the side of my plan chest, which contained a collection of my early artwork, much of which I had forgotten about.

When I first set out to become a children's author, I'd intended to both write and illustrate and the artwork below was drawn to accompany one of my early story poems, The Fool's Apprentice.

The writing now feels awkward in places and the linework lacks expression (it was done with the same Rotring technical pens I was using for my day job as an architect) but it shows my first steps in something akin to a picture book format, with several images illustrating the same story.

Click on the images to see larger versions.

If the illustration of the Queen looks familiar, it might be because it was inspired by an illustration by the Czech Art Noveau illustrator Alphonse Mucha.  Mucha is one of my favourite illustrators, a master of line, colour and composition and, in my view, one of the greatest graphic artists of all time.

The Queen in my illustration was inspired
by Alphonse Mucha's Princess Hyacynth.

You can seem more examples of my early artwork in the portfolio section of my website.

One of the reasons I stopped illustrating was that my agent advised me that, while there were hundreds of great illustrators looking for picture book work, there were relatively few authors that could write good picture book texts and that if I wanted to make a living out of picture books, I'd do well to focus my efforts on the latter.  This proved to be excellent advice, but I often wonder how my illustration would have developed if I'd stuck at it.

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