Creative fun

Spread the Smile

I’m so excited to share my newest projects with you.

August has been a crazy busy month for me as two children’s books containing my illustrations have been published and both went straight to number one in a couple of Amazon’s best seller categories 😁😁😁

The first book written by the wonderful Claire Clements of Positive Pants is a delightfully positive book for little ones looking for ways to bring positivity to their day and feel better when they are feeling glum. It was such a wonderful process working with Claire to bring her book to life. When I first started drawing as a young child I loved to try copying the illustrations in the Beano so it was great to be able to include this iconic comic in the book, thanks Beano 😁 Click on the image or follow the link to buy Claire’s amazing book.

The second book is a story that has been in our Emotions Toolkit packs for families, and the Early Years and Key Stage One, for a while now and I am so delighted to finally have this published in paperback. Spread the smile is a story all about two friends Jack and Jane. They go on an adventure and meet Bunny. Throughout the story each time the children experience a big emotion Bunny teaches them a new self-regulation strategy.

The book couldn’t have been finished and published at a better time as the new Early Years Framework goes live this September and within the changes is the much needed self-regulation early learning goal. For us at the Emotions Toolkit we believe that for children to learn to self-regulate their emotions at an early age and be able to manage big emotions is crucial. These strategies are adult techniques that we have made child friendly and this book really brings them to life, putting them in context for small children. These skills will be with them for life 😁

With more illustration projects on the horizon I’m looking to fill my bookshelves 🙂 If you would like to know more about how I can help you with your book illustrations and how I work please do get in touch. I’d also be happy to hear from local schools or nurseries that might like to book an author, illustrator and qualified teacher for book week 🙂

Big Smiles

Debsta 🙂

Creative fun

How do commissions actually work?

Planning a commission in the sketchbook

Owning an original piece of art that is unique is a very special thing. There are so many outlets where you can purchase canvas prints off the shelf but for something bespoke and special there is nothing better than original art.

Over the last year we have been forced to spend more time at home and many of us have been rethinking decor and making our homes the perfect place to be. One of the things I specialise in is providing the right piece of art to suit your style and taste. The perfect finish to your room.

So how do you go about commissioning a piece of art for your home or office or as a gift?

Every artist will be slightly different and will have their own styles of working. Here is what to expect when you commission a Debsta 🙂

  • A great commission starts with a good conversation. Contact me with your initial ideas and I will arrange to chat with you about exactly what you are looking for. We will talk about what art you like, colours, size and subject. We will discuss who the work is for or where it will hang and whether you want the work on canvas or paper or a wall in the case of a mural.
  • If we are a good fit I will go ahead and generate a no obligation quote. In some cases it may be necessary for me to provide a rough sketch so that you can imagine how the commission will look. I will also endeavour to give you a time scale of how long the commission may take.
  • The next step if you are happy to proceed is that I ask for 50% of the invoice up front. This allows me to purchase all of the resources needed to begin creating the project for you. Once this payment has been received I will go ahead with your project. Exciting times:)
  • When I am working on your commission I will film some or all of the process so that you can watch how your artwork was created.
  • I will keep you updated on the progress and even though most people wait for the big reveal I am more than happy to share progress photos along the way. Just ask.
  • Finally once the work is complete we can arrange the delivery, big reveal and final payment.

There are many decisions to be made along the way and I will offer advice and support to you every step of the way. One of the big decisions is framing. Some deep canvas paintings look amazing hung ‘naked’ with no frame, others benefit from a frame and I am happy to make recommendations of which style and colour would suit the work and your space and will also recommend local framers or those closer to where you live. If you would like me to get the work framed on your behalf this will be agreed in step one so that I can quote you for this and make sure that the frame is factored into your measurements.

Ultimately I would love you to enjoy the process and be extremely happy with your unique piece of art for years to come.

Contact me to arrange a commission and start the conversation.

A recent testimonial from a happy collector 🙂

Debsta x

Creative fun

Digital Book illustration versus traditional methods

I have to say I have a soft spot for traditional illustration methods. When I published my first children’s book on kindle a while ago now, I had great fun plotting the illustrations and painstakingly creating them in watercolour. I love the finished effect and was very grateful to friends in the teaching profession for giving the book a trial run prior to publishing.

The Alternative Tale of The Three Little Pigs is available as an e-book on Amazon 🙂

However, because it was my first solo foray into writing, illustrating and self publishing, I hadn’t quite thought through what exact size my illustrations needed to be, what format they would need to be in for creating the real touchy-feely hold in your hands book. In order to reformat my illustrations to the correct size to self-publish through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) I would need to start again to get it absolutely right.

So here comes the beauty of digital illustration. I uploaded all of my original art work and I can now edit and tweak and reformat to my hearts content to get it book ready. So watch this space.

Going forward two things have made me more of a fan of digital illustrations. The first is that through my experience I can see how much easier it is to edit the images and tweak things for a client without having to go massively over budget and also saving lots of time.

The second is that it’s so incredibly portable. I can take my iPad with me wherever I go (and I do). I can quickly sketch out plans and ideas for clients and share my portfolio of work and my process. I can tweak things and move things around with ease and upload templates directly into my design software to ensure everything is to the correct dimensions for going to print. And frankly, I love digital illustrations and it is definitely possible to still get those painterly effects.

My most recent published illustration work was for a project very close to my heart. An anthology of poetry written by survivors of narcissistic abuse for survivors. Edited by Dr Sally Olewe-Richards, the book helps survivors re-write their stories, from heartbreak to hope and healing.

The cover artwork for this amazing book was created digitally to sit alongside a wonderful poem, and the title of the book, ‘My red quilt’. The poem shares how she took all the red flags of the relationship and made herself a quilt stitched with threads of pain and tears, eventually feeling powerful enough to rise again, lessons learned.

A powerful and emotional read.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before every commission starts with a good conversation. If you would like to know more about commissioning illustrations please get in touch. Next week, I will share what to expect from start to finish when you request a commission, whether that be oil on canvas or digital illustration or even a mural.