Rosie Wheeldon: From Brief to Publication

Rosie Wheeldon, one of Bright’s wonderful young artists, shares with us the process of illustrating a Young Fiction cover. From first sketches to the submission of completed art work, Rosie gives her personal tips for fellow illustrators and explains Bright’s role in her development. 


Hello! I’m Rosie and I have been with Bright for just under a year. Later this year the illustrations for my first job will be hitting the book shops! A cover for the first book of a wonderful new girl’s fiction series Emily Feather and the Enchanted Door by a best-selling author Holly Webb and published by Scholastic. I would like to tell you a little bit about how I made the final art for this project…

When I receive a brief like this, I always start on paper with sketches. Luckily, this brief was very descriptive so I had a good idea of how to place everything and what had to appear on the front and back cover.

Once I have a few ideas, I scan my pictures and work my magic on Corel Painter (the program I use for all my final illustration work). I find it easier to submit detailed samples and roughs for my clients so they have a really good idea of what the finished work will look like.

Here are my two finished samples!  The Art Director wanted lots of magic and mystery in this book cover and the swirly background was an important part of the overall illustration. James was directing this project and it was great to be able to call or email with any little questions I had along the way!

Getting feedback from the Art Director was great! They liked the open door in the first sample and the character positioning in the second; so using both images I created the ideal composition for the front of the book. I also added more depth to the background and more sparkle to give it the perfect finish!

One of the things I love about Corel Painter is that I can work on the computer the same way I would on paper – with coloured charcoal and blenders/easers but with no mess! (Charcoal does get very messy) ! It also gives the Art Director freedom to move little things around to accommodate text on the book cover, like the decorative flowers. In the fast moving world of children’s illustration, a few little digital tricks can really help you meet tight deadlines!

Above shows you a close-up of the whispy effect I use to add that little bit of magic! I create the depth by colouring for a very long time with small brushes in many different colours before using the blender brush in a mixture of large and small strokes depending on the area. I then go back into the swirly areas and add lighter tones like white, light pink, and blues. I always love working on the swirls because I never know how it will look or how nice the effect will turn out. I also use the blenders on my sparkles and make them different sizes so some appear to twinkle.

Even though this was my first project with Bright, I still count it as my favourite. I loved the brief (magic and mystery!) and the client was lovely to work with, not to mention the Bright team always close at hand so I can concentrate on the important part of being an illustrator – the art!!

We’re very excited to see the finished product in May 2013! Don’t miss out on ordering your copy here