2017 Yoga Illustrated Calenders

I am currently doing the last illustrations for my 8-Limbs of Yoga Calender, 2017. The calender is inspired by my own activities this year, where I launched into full time illustration work, as well as starting studying Integral Hatha Yoga, with the Yoga Academy, here in Cape Town.

The characters in the calender are animals, which has sort of become a bit of a trademark with me, as I have gotten a lot of animal books this year, including Penguin Palace by Helen Brain, Collective Nouns by Julia Richman and Three Detectives by Vi Le Roux, to name a few. I have sported my yoga-happy creatures in official asana’s (poses), from an apanasana pig, through to a giraffe in chakrasana. Each one is also presenting one of the 8-limbs of yoga, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. These 8-limbs form the structural framework for yoga practice. Continue Reading

Ruth Chan chats about Georgia and Illustrations

Interview Ruth Chan

Georgie is my real life cat, and Feta is my real life dog. They are sort of odd and hilarious and are best friends

Celeste:  Hi Ruth, and welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for joining me and my readers today. I stumbled across your portfolio, while browsing the KidLit411’s website and loved your illustrations of your cat Georgie. Can you tell us a little him and his books?

Georgie on books
Georgie on his books

Ruth: Hi Celeste! Thanks so much for having me.

Georgie is my real life cat, and Feta is my real life dog.  They are sort of odd and hilarious and are best friends– they sleep together, clean each other, and get upset when one of them isn’t home.   So, quite understandably, I knew I wanted to make them into characters in a picture book.

Where’s the party? Is the first book that features Georgie, Feta, and a few other friends.  Just like in real life, Georgie and Feta are sweet, a little awkward, but apologetically themselves, We now have a series, called Georgie and friends, and the second book, Georgie’s best bad day is due out April, 2017.

Celeste: I understand that you didn’t come to illustration the conventional route (neither did I!) but discovered it and pursued it. Can you take us through your journey and how you found yourself making drawings for a living?

Ruth: I studied photography and education in school, so, you’re right, I don’t have a conventional, formal background in illustration. I’d always, however, loved picture books. They seamlessly encompass some of the most beautiful things in life: A good story, beautiful language, incredible art, humor, wit, tenderness, and truths. I’d amassed a huge collection of them, but never allowed myself to really consider making them. While I doodled here and there, in my mind, there was no way I had the chops to make it in such a competitive industry. Continue Reading

Commissioned Painting for TEARS Animal Rescue

Tears Painting

Giving something back, to the awesome team at TEARS

I agreed with joy when Michelle, from TEARS Animal Rescue contacted me to ask if I could create a painting for their new Visitors Center. The very next day I drove over Ou Kaaps se Weg to inspect the new room and do my measurements. By the afternoon, I was at Builders Warehouse asking for them to cut me a board. The outlines where done by evening.

Left to Right: Myself, Dawson the dog and Michelle
Left to Right: Myself, Dawson the dog and Michelle

Michelle asked if I could complete the painting within a week, as they were having their first group of visitors on the 1st of April. As any artist will tell you, a tight deadline puts a little pressure on you. Not to mention, that I haven’t actually painted a proper painting in years. I have painted things, like my beastie pots. I have also painted illustrations, for books, but I haven’t painted a board, to be hanged up, for strangers to see. It is a different type of mind-set, also a completely different type of style. Continue Reading

Tips that Yoga can teach us in Illustration

For my new Twitter/Google+ header I thought doing a series of movements of a character would be a great way to fill up that rectangle space, which got me to pull out some books I have on animation. While I was reading through, brushing up on all the fantastic tips and techniques, it got me thinking of how there is an overlap between doing illustrations and Yoga, two of my favourite hobbies (and soon to be professions as I will be doing a Yoga teacher’s course next year – very excited!).

So what can we learn from drawing and Yoga?

Yoga IllustrationYoga: Inhale/Exhale

Illustrations: Stretch/Squash

When you watch a Yogi doing sun salutations, they will inhale when their bodies expand and exhale when their bodies contract. So for example, if they go into a cobra pose, they will breath in and expand their chest. They might afterwards bend inwards, lift their hips, lean forward, touching the ground with their feet and hands while exhaling and go into downward dog pose.

In illustrating we must do the same. Illustrations should never be the phase between poses, it should be the pose. So characters must either be breathing out and squashing, or breathing in and stretching. When they stretch, their full body goes into it. If they were to point it wouldn’t just be a finger, it would the finger, the hand, the arm, the shoulder, the whole moment. If the character jumps, they would stretch as they flew in the air, and then squash as they land on the ground.
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Bring Reality into Your Imagination

Imaginative RealismIt all started with a book called Imaginative Realism by James Gurney. What a book. Now, I am in no way a realism painter. It’s not my thing. But just like I am sure a lot of artists out there, drawing from your imagination is always a little tricky. And I’m not talking here about simple things, like banana’s or post boxes, but being able to create worlds or creatures that don’t exist.

Gurney illustrated a book about dinosaurs and men co-existing in one world. I’m not too familiar with it, but creating entire worlds and characters, most of which have died millions of years ago, was a problem he encountered. In the book I read, he revealed some insight into how he got around it, as well as how he manages to draw all his other fantastic art. I’m not going to go into detail here, (feel free to go buy the book!) but I wanted to share with you my experience with some of the techniques here.

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