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I love Christmas trees.  It’s not secret either that I love trees.  But at this time of the year it’s special to bring a tree into the house and dress it up with beautiful decorations.

Our Christmas Tree

I drew our Christmas Tree last year.

That’s why it’s been fun to put Christmas trees into my illustrations.

The Porcupine series by Helaine Becker has given me a lot of chances to decorate in pictures.

Pine tree at the end of A Porcupine In a Pine Tree.

Not sure if you can call this a Christmas Tree, but it definitely got decorated at the end of A Porcupine In A Pine Tree

 

I had great fun with beavers busily putting a tree together in Deck the Halls.  It can’t be easy but they never gave up.  I guess there’s a lesson in that.


The tree they build is a bit different.

 

But in the end it looks pretty good, I’d say.   Maybe you be the judge….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things going up

 

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Beaver from Deck the Halls

 

Sometimes things get out of hand

beaver building the knocked down tree

Never let a setback no matter how big or small hold you back!

Beaver building tree

Things are really starting to look good

 

Puffins help decorate

Puffins help with the lights.Wonder who the garbage can is for? Possibly the Raccoons?

 

Lit up Tree

A Beaver Christmas Tree from the Deck the Halls by Helaine Becker.

And one last tree from Dashing Through the Snow, also by Helaine.

The Christmas Tree in Dashing Through The Snow

Another special Tree from Dashing Through the Snow

Enjoy drawing your tree, or any tree! They’re all beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

small carved Caribou from George River

Drawing the Caribou

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me: two caribou.

That would have been interesting around the house!

Caribou are very pretty.  They are the cousins of Santa’s Reindeer but live in Canada’s north.  Maybe once in a while they drop in at the North Pole and help with the sled.  I’ve seen them in the arctic and when they run, they truly look like they could fly.

I’ll post the video of how to draw them at the end of this post after some of the drawings from the video.

Enjoy your drawing!

small carved Caribou from George River

 

Step 1: Keep it simple

Stages of how to draw a caribou

The most important lesson is to start simple and keep it simple.

Step 2: Use simple shapes

How to use simple shapes

Look for simple shapes in everything you draw.

Step 3:  Shapes become Forms

Simple shapes become simple forms

If you want to draw something as it turns, look for simple forms made from simple shapes

Use Reference

I will use anything ranging to a photo to a specimen at a museum, and even in this case a carved wooden caribou I brought back from the North.

Photos from magazines or from the web are an excellent resource. I prefer magazines and books since they are clearer.

 

some drawings of caribou

I did these drawings from a caribou head I found in an antique store where I live.

12 Days of Drawing Day 2: How to draw Caribou Video

I love showing process.

As a reader you get to see the final work.  That’s the most important piece of course, but if you’re an artist or illustrator, or just like peeking behind the creative curtain an seeing what happened up to that final piece, I’m with you.  I’ve always loved seeing the stuff that happened before.  And if possible, I love getting into the mind of the creator through their letters or notes.

But here I just want to show you a small bit of what went into Dashing Through the Snow.

The first image is the final painting from one of the last pages of the book.  The only thing missing is the text.  I don’t put that in.  The art director at Scholastic does that.  I’m happy she does, since my printing isn’t that great.  I prefer writing script.

Final Painting in the process

The last present is always the biggest surprise

The painting is of the opening of the very last present that fell from Santa’s Sleigh.  I needed to get all the characters in, and yet add a bit of fun to the suspense.

Below is the drawing on the watercolour sheet.  There were many rougher drawings before this one.

I admit it’s a bit messy.  That gets cleaned up when I ink it.

Once it is inked I start to paint.  The picture below is of 4 paintings being done at the same time.  I do that so that I make sure my colours don’t change from picture to picture.  That’s a very easy thing since I can start getting very creative with new possibilities and add new colours.   So that they have some reference I have a practice picture leaning up on my table.  I try to make all my mistakes in the practice pictures, but mistakes do happen.  And then it’s back to a new stretched sheet of paper and start all over again.

A book can have 18 spreads like this so making sure you got your mistakes out of the way can save a lot of time.

I hope to offer reproductions of this and other images soon.  Originals are available.

You can get  Hard and Soft Cover and Board Book from your favorite independent book store or Chapters Indigo.

Cover of Dashing Through the Snow

Happy Singing this Christmas!

Porcupine Series Board Books

Dashing through the Snow is now a board book.

Helaine Becker’s silly take on another Christmas Song Classic is here ready for the season.

It joins the rest of the Porcupine in a Pine Tree gang Board Book series.

And best of all, they are all virtually indestructible!   At least for toddlers.

Enjoy!

 

colors on my mixing plate

 

My palette of choice for mixing my watercolours is an old porcelain plate.

If I need a large amount of the same colour for a series of paintings such as for At The Pond, I will use porcelain bowls of different sizes.

I have plastic ones but I find they can get scratched over time and then are hard to clean.

The porcelain plate cleans up beautifully and the intensity of the white glaze gives the paint a transparency similar to the paper.

Just try to get pure white ones with no design or colour to conflict with your colours.  The best and most inexpensive were picked up at an Asian food store near my studio.

Or just check out the nearest reuse store near you.

 

 

 

Open House Invitation

Invitation to open house

If you are in the Guelph area next weekend, please drop by my studio to see the original paintings and studies that went into “At The Pond”, my latest book that was short-listed for the 2018 Governor General’s Award in Children’s Illustrated Books.

Date:               Sat-Sun, May 11-12

Time:          10:00 am – 4:00 pm

 

Address:         Catch 23 Gallery

23 Wyndham St North.       N1H 4E4

 

I will also be doing live demonstrations and sharing the process behind “At The Pond”, from sketches to practice paintings, maybe even stretching paper. I hope by sharing my journey, I can help to inspire those of you interested in creating your own illustrated books or for anyone who is curious.

The exhibit will be available until May 31st. After May 12th, the exhibit can be viewed until May 31st  in person by appointment.

Please contact me atthepond@wernerzimmermann.ca

I will also be posting more “At The Pond” process work here, so make sure to check for updates!

Hope to see you next weekend!

pencil study of a frog

Sticker of Governor General Award for Finalist on book cover

At the Pond, published by Scholastic Canada, is a finalist for
the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards in Young People’s Literature – Illustrated
Books.


Cover with GG sticker

Proudly displaying GG sticker

 

I’ll let Scholastic describe the book:

Spend a lazy summer day exploring a tiny, perfect slice of nature! Count goldfish as they swim about the tranquil pond. Watch as sunlight moves across the water. Spot a water lily blossoming, frogs and water striders hopping through, a heron flying by. With a simple text and rich, lifelike paintings, Werner Zimmermann has created a peaceful meditation on nature and a unique and beautiful world for readers of all ages to enjoy.

Continue the learning journey at the end of the book, where you’ll find more information on all the animals that call the pond home. (From Scholastic Canada

 

I’m honoured to be on the list with 4 other beautiful books sharing the nominations. My congratulations to my fellow nominees

& Please check out my links in the coming days on how this, as well as my other books, have come together.

New Fall 2018 books by Werner Zimmermann

Two new books for fall 2018!

 

Dinner time for Foxy Loxy?

If you’re a turkey, it’s not really a good time around Thanksgiving.   Or Foxes.

That was on my mind when I painted my favorite turkey, the one  in ‘Henny Penny.’

Turkey Lurkey

Henny Penny was my second book.  I was in Germany at the time and turkeys aren’t the tradition there that they are in Canada.  Finding one to paint wasn’t easy.  I ended up using reference from photos, but had a great time with Turkey Lurkey never the less.

In the book it’s never clear whether he ended up dinner for Foxy Loxy or whether there was a feathered getaway.

When I visit schools I always ask for a sequel for what may have happened after they entered the Foxy Loxy’s den.  One day I want to do another book:  The True Story of Henny Penny.

If you think you know, feel free to send it, and if it’s good….we may just be working together.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving if you are reading it in Canada, or a bit later in the land south of us.

Off to tell the King

Off to tell the King!