Sunday, 23 November 2014

It has landed...

Finally I have managed to produce a print book that looks great!  I had issues with Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise so had to remove the print option however this will soon be available again in print. 

Things with Wings is now available to order in print from Amazon!  It is also being sold in other book stores however I do not know which ones are selling it at the moment so Amazon is the place to go.  Things with Wings is a lovely illustrated rhyming book all about things with wings.  It is written in a fun way to hold the attention of fidgets young and old!  The illustrations by Des Campbell are fantastic and he has written a guest blog post which you can take a look at to show his illustration process. 

Things with Wings is the first in the Things with... series and the next in the series is coming soon: Things with Wheels.  I am very excited about finally entering the realms of Createspace to create a print version of Things with Wings.  It has been a stressful learning journey that I would not have been able to achieve without Des' assistance.  A lot of work has gone into creating a picture book and hopefully this will be apparent when you see it!  The layout is slightly different to the kindle version as it is mostly double page spreads so the illustrations are nice and big. 
I am very proud of my new series and can't wait to hear what people think of the illustrated rhymes. 

Things with Wings will make a fantastic stocking filler so why not check it out.  I am hoping to get the Winter Surprise in print very, very soon - it is a lovely, heartwarming seasonal story.  It really is a magical time of the year.

The journey is moving on...

Things with Wings can be downloaded as an eBook or ordered in print from all Amazon territories.  Just edit the following link for your country.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A guest blog by the very clever Des Campbell, Illustrator and custard cream fan

"Hi, my name’s Des and I’m the illustrator for the Things with... series of books that the talented (I think  that’s what it says, I can’t read her writing) Rachael Phillips has written. I’ve been asked to share my process for bringing an illustration to life.

Before I go to bed at night I leave out some paper, pens and some colouring pencils and elves appear and produce a completed illustration ready for the morning when I wake up… oh, wait. That’s how I get my shoes repaired. Cobblers, you cry!!! Easy, tiger. It’s just a story!!
Well, I thought it was just cartoonists that like to read about how cartoonists do stuff but if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t get out much and enjoys this sort of thing then prepare to have your socks blown off. What’s that? Quickly, go and put some on.

Having read through the text for the book and enjoyed a few cups of tea and a sizable quantity of custard creams I produce a series of very rough ideas. I then draw these up into something that matches what I can see in my head and get these emailed to Rachael. Two cups of tea and rather a lot of custard creams later, Rachael responds that the sketches are wonderful and I can go ahead on the finished artwork.

The sketches, having been scanned into the computer are then brought into my favourite computer program in the world, (until they invent a custard cream program) Corel Painter. The process for all these illustrations is the same so for this example, bats, the sketch is enlarged to the size of the finish artwork. I then “ink” over the sketch using a Wacom tablet. No brushes or pens were harmed in the making of these illustrations, the inking is done digitally using a couple of “brushes” in the program that mimic actual real media. One big benefit of inking this way is that I can separate foreground and background elements, which is a huge plus if I then colour the lineart in a different colour.

After more tea and custard creams (you can see a pattern forming, can’t you!!) I then add the colours, using different “layers” for the background, bats, and effects. The moon, added towards the end, is just a circle coloured in a colour very similar to a custard cream now that I think about it!!! I then added a soften filter to give it that moony look.
All the shading, shadows and highlights are added next until the illustration has a more painted look.

Once I’m happy with it (I’m never happy, no illustrator ever is) I “flatten” the image and send it off to Rachael who, I’m sure, thinks I’ve trained a monkey to do these illustrations but then thinks, life is too short, it’ll do!!!

After eating so many custard creams I start to feel guilty and watch Silence of the Lambs on DVD to cheer myself up. The above process is repeated for each illustration and people with shares in biscuit manufacturers jet off to Vegas to spend all the extra money I’m providing for them!!!
So there we have it. Anyone still awake, please turn the lights off and put the empties out for the milkman. Time top put the kettle on…  

Des Campbell"

 If you want to see Des' fab work in the completed book you can download 'Things with Wings'  Print version coming very soon.
Des also created the cover artwork for all the Larry the Liger stories! 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Things with... excitement!

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post but I have been very busy making preparations for something exciting... 

It's a double whammy for news today!  I have finally ventured into the realms of Createspace and Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise is now available to order from Amazon as a print book.  It is also available at other stores and I hope to arrange for local libraries to lend it too!  In case you aren't familiar with this story it is a lovely winter's tale where we find the liger cub wondering who he will play with as all his friends go inside for the winter.  There is a surprise in store for little Larry which makes for a magical ending to this seasonal story.  Not sure it can compete with the Sainsbury's Christmas Ad though!  It is available now on all Amazon territories IN PRINT (in case you missed it!!)

The second bit of news is brand new excitement as I am finally unleashing my new series of illustrated rhyming books on the world!  I wrote the Things With... series when my first child was a baby and she is now almost 7 years old so they have been a long time coming, you could say.  I am very proud of these rhymes and they mean a lot as my late Dad got to read them.  Sadly he only got to read one of the ten Larry the Liger stories...
Things with Wings is the first illustrated rhyming book in the series and is available to download as an eBook from Amazon.  I am working on the print version and will let you know as soon as this is available.  It will look fantastic in print as it is beautifully, and humorously, illustrated by the talented Des Campbell, who also illustrated Larry the Liger.

With Things with Wings you can share a rhyming adventure learning all about winged things.  The illustrations and rhymes are great fun for any age group so it makes for a great book to read to the children.  Each illustration has an extra thing with wings to find so it should engage most children... and adults!
I am very happy to have finally got Things with Wings published on Amazon.  I really hope you check it out and I would love to know what you think.  The next in the series are coming soon along with the print option. and all other Amazon territories
In other news I have been planning parties and making party bags.  I have been preparing party games and buying party food.  My youngest daughter, Amy, was 4 on Wednesday and it is her party tomorrow.  She is very excited and I can only hope all my planning pays off and makes it a seamless 1 1/2 hours!   My eldest daughter, Ella, is 7 in December so I have been buying lots of sweeties to make lovely sweet filled, cellophane cones with lots of ribbon!  I am enjoying being creative once again.
What a great way to end the week.  I hope you will join me by reading my new creation in Things with Wings and why not order the print version of The Winter Surprise too.  Happy weekend everyone.
My next journey has begun...