All posts tagged picture book

Beaver Rotation

Three beaver from the book Porcupine in a Pine Tree

On the Third Day of Christmas my true love gave to me….Three Beaver Tails!

Beaver Tails?  I’m sure it was those tasty treats that are made in Ottawa and not anything from those busy dam or tree building creatures.

It actually makes me want to have one right now!

But since it’s beaver I thought it would be good to share how  I draw them.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the video  How to draw Beaver  but I hope you will read on as I share a few helpful tips.

 

Step 1: use reference

Look at beaver in pictures or on video.  Your character can end up quite different but it helps to study the real animal.

I’ve even drawn their skeletons.  The look like monsters. In fact at one time they were a lot bigger and probably acted like monsters.

Beaver Skeleton

Beaver skeletons look like monsters.

Step 2: Doodle 

This is the fun part.

 

Beaver sketch

It’s good to just doodle loosely to get a feeling of your characters without worrying about details or even whether or not they will be the final ones.

 

beaver studies in colour

It’s fun to throw colour on your doodles to explore what is possible.

Step 3: Construction advice

Construction advice on how to draw a beaver

Always start from the simple and build to the final. It’s like constructing anything.

 

It’s good to turn your characters to see them from all sides. Remember to Keep It Simple, Silly and not worry how great it is.  It’s better to do more and explore than a few and be critical of your work.

If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.

Enjoy Drawing Beaver!

How to draw a Beaver video

Screenshot from how to draw a beaver

 

 

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

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Screen capture from youtube video of how to draw the porcupine from Porcupine in a Pine Tree

follow my easy steps to drawing the Porcupine in a Pine tree

The Holidays are very special at this time of year.  Whether you are celebrating Christmas, or Hanukkah, or just taking a break from school and work, it’s a lovely chance to sit back with pencil and paper and draw.

I know that on the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me: A Pencil!

Actually it was supposed to be a porcupine in a pine tree, but I am very happy with pencils.

That’s why every Christmas I try to do a special pencil drawing to remember the time.  Last year it was our tree.  I’m not sure what it will be this year.  I drew a beautiful tree a few days ago, but I’m still thinking of something special.

Christmas Tree at Langdon Hall

I drew this tree at a beautiful place called Langdon Hall.

 

But since I’m about to start on the illustrations for another silly story/song by Helaine Becker,  I’ll soon be drawing a porcupine and the gang of silly characters from the previous three books.

If you want to draw the characters from Porcupine In A Pine Tree, join me on my Youtube channel; for 12 Days of Drawing.

Please share any drawings with me.  I would love to see what you do.

And I’ll be posting my drawings here for you too.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy Drawing!

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

Cover with GG sticker

Proudly displaying GG sticker

On Thursday January 31st I was at the Ontario Library Association Conference signing copies of At The Pond at the Scholastic booth.  It was fun meeting librarians from visits in the past, and making new acquaintances.   I always look forward to the OLA.  It’s also  a chance to meet with other authors and illustrators.    Scholastic was very generous with all the copies they had there for me to sign for the attendees.  I admit that I do worry about no one coming, but the line was long and many friendly faces to chat with as I signed copies for them.  I wish I had been able to get a photo with everyone I met.

Rideau Lakes LIbararians

Vicky and Lauralee from the Rideau Lakes Library.

It was great to meet Vicky and Lauralee  again from the Rideau Lakes Library branch in Elgin Ontario.  There’s a special connection to At the Pond with where their library stands.  When I got the go ahead from Scholastic that it would be published, I needed waterlilies.  Mine no longer bloom because of the shade of overhead trees in my yard.  So the lilies in the book were painted from studies done in a canoe in the Rideau Canal by Chaffey’s Locks.  Elgin Library is nearby, and the owners of the canoe once arranged a visit to the Elgin Library where I met Vicky and Laralee.

 

To make the signing  just a bit more special, I asked everyone who got a signature to give me theirs.  I’ll be drawing from all the names to send the winner a print from Snow Day!   To make it extra special, I’ll be drawing twice: one for the hockey print and the other for the image of the falling snowflakes.

 

 

 

Hockey game from Snow Day

Hockey scene from Snow Day. A winter day at Sunny Acres Park Guelph

 

Snow Day

Print of the falling snow at the start of Snow Day

Good luck to the winners.

(for those wishing a print of their own, contact me, or stay tuned for the opening of my image store and gallery on this site)

 

 

Have some fun drawing the Porcupine from Porcupine in a Pine Tree, Dashing through the Woods, and Deck the Halls.

Feel free to skip the intro and jump to 1:48 for the drawing.