With the recent release of The Wishing Boat (Amanda Tarlau) I thought it would be interesting to provide a personal
insight into how I created the illustrations for this picture book. I’ll describe my process in a way that will hopefully provide
a brief overview of my methods.
Start at the Beginning.
The first time I read a story I’m simultaneously imagining the events playing out like an animation. I then begin to isolate
images that best resonate with the text and I start sketching. These sketches are quite reactionary, unrefined, a visual
response to a particular line, word or feeling during reading.
I begin to create the character(s) early in the development process and The Wishing Boat was no exception. The girl
is the focal point of the story, the narrator in this case, as the whole story could be perceived as her soliloquy.
Storyboards are important, very important. This is the stage at which my ideas become refined and integrated with the text.
The storyboard is an opportunity for me to gather together my sketches, develop my initial ideas and start to build the
overall pace and structure of the book.
The storyboard is the first look at how the book will read as a whole, offering the people you are collaborating with a visual
synopsis of what you are trying to achieve. In the case of The Wishing Boat I worked in black and white for the storyboards
as it’s easier to figure out the depth of the images this way - it’s also quicker to make changes upon request.
Roughs usually follow on directly after the storyboards are complete. The rough illustrations provide me with an opportunity
to start thinking about details, refining composition, light sources etc. These are important factors to consider before moving
on to the colour stage and the final artwork.
I work mostly digitally and the final print-ready artwork is usually supplied as CMYK, at least 300dpi. Time management is
critical when you are completing 32 pages and covers whilst juggling other projects at the same time.
*If you work traditionally, in watercolour for example, then factor in the required time it will take to send your illustrations to
The Wishing Boat is the first picture book that I've worked on that is in my own style and it’s both exciting and rewarding to hold
a physical copy in my hands. I have since developed my illustrative method and continue to learn and improve with every
new project I tackle.
The Wishing Boat is currently published across Australia and New Zealand and is available from Scholastic
The book is also available online in other countries at the Book Depository.