Illustrations Inspired by Real Landscapes Claire Richards

This was originally created for the 2016 Children's Book Week

Australia: Story Country

One of the most exciting steps in illustrating picture books is creating little worlds! I love finding little clues in the authors text to where each book or page could be set. The background landscape is what gives a picture a sense of place.

Little Red Riding Hoodie by Kel Richards, Scholastic Australia

I go out into nature and look for interesting backgrounds for the story.

I look for details that can add colour, or can just be fun to paint.

With 'Little Red Riding Hoodie' the author, Kel Richards described the 'Mallee Scrub'. I went out to see how that was different to regular Australian Bush.

To make it like the Mallee I included dry river beds and big old gum tree stumps.

LIttle Red Riding Hoodie

Next I use images of background objects as a reference for sketching.

I put retro chairs in the house because Grandma's often have older things .... and I just wanted to draw what I had seen at a 50s exhibition.

I really enjoy when I get to add things to the worlds like, designing jetties and boat sails.

After looking at nature I have to balance it with creativity and not putting in too many realistic details.

Some landscapes are just from happy memories.

This picture is inspired by seeing dragonflies and fireflies as a kid at dusk

Of all the picture books I've illustrated there is one that by far the most inspired by real-life Australian landscapes.

I had just finished a big road trip all the way around the edge of Australia.
The regrowth after the small annual bushfires in the Kimberly and Northern Territory.
Exciting ford crossings.
The Cliffs by the Nullarbor and the Great Australian Bight. (Spot the Whale)
Looking over the edge of the windy roads through the rain forrest to see Cairns.
Finally, sometimes the image works best with a blank white background.

Make your own picture book world! One idea: draw a landscape and on a separate page, draw character. Cut out the characters and tell a story. You can photograph or photocopy them in position.

A Creative Commons Licence has been used for this Presentation. This Presentation is free for schools or anyone to use. It includes artworks that were the product of collaborative processes.
Created By
Claire Richards

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