Behind The Childrens Book

Childrens Book Cover Illustration

This week I finished the cover illustration for Duncan's Magical Garden (our upcoming children’s book). The illustration process has spanned six months and involved over a dozen creative endeavors...

  • The story:
    Duncan's Magical Garden, written by Julia Wilkinson and Stephen Guida, is about a beautiful black bunny named Duncan who discovers he has magical powers. Duncan learns that he can transform his environment into a magical garden beyond any bunny's wildest dreams! There are broccoli trees, carrots that tower over his bunny head and every kind of yummy greens a rabbit could ever want. Of course, Duncan does run into some troubles along the way..."

  • How the illustration project began:
    When I was selling my miniature paintings (ACEOs) from eBay, and enjoying an enthusiastic - loyal following, I met Julia Wilkinson. Julia purchased one of my miniatures, and later requested a portrait of her beloved bunny. Thus began a long and rewarding friendship which was also the catalyst for many little rabbit paintings.

    A few tiny portraits of Julia's cute bunnies:

    Bunny Rabbit Art
    "Alyce-Michele Elise" 3.5" x 2.5" (ACEO) India ink and colored pencil

    Rabbit Miniature
    "Ashley Elizabeth" 3.5" x 2.5" (ACEO) India ink and colored pencil

    Brown Bunny Art
    "Nigel Sebastian" 3.5" x 2.5" (ACEO) India ink and colored pencil

    Julia writes about her beloved bunnies: “We adopted this little family four years from Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue in Phoenix. We call (the bunnies) The Fabbitz (Fabulous + Rabbits) They are: Ashleigh Elizabeth, the mother rabbit, and her three children, Nigel Sebastian, Alyce-Michele Elise and Duncan Alexander. It has been wonderful sharing our lives with them and watching them grow and interact as a family.”

    Each year the "Fabbitz" enjoy a big birthday bash. To help celebrate with the Fab Four, I painted a Triptych (a set of three paintings that when placed side by side will create one larger composition) of the four rabbits in their birthday hats!

    The Fabbitz
    "The Fabbitz Birthday Bash" Three ACEOs each 3.5" x 2.5", India ink and colored pencil

    I liked how Duncan looked in his cute party hat so much that I also created a few art gifts with his portrait:
    Bunny Rabbit Birthday Card
    Bunny Bookmark

  • The Illustration Process
    Inspired by her beloved Fabbitz, Julia (and Stephen) set out to write a children’s story about a family of bunnies who embark on great adventure and she asked me to illustrate it. Once Julia, Steve and I decided to collaborate on the book and agreed on details, I began work on the illustrations. Painting black fur is challenging, so I chose to paint a few trial pieces in order to practice capturing an ebony coat. Also, since I usually work in a small format of only a few inches square, I needed to create several larger works:

    Fall Themed Bunny Art
    "Fall Duncan" 4" x 6" India ink, colored pencil and acrylic

    Black Bunny Art
    "Bunnies And Lace" 4" x 6" India ink, watercolor and colored pencil

    My plan for the interior illustrations of Duncan's Magical Garden is to have each page surrounded by an ornate border. I will create several borders that can be interchanged with the story’s bunny characters. Below is a closeup of the first border and the page complete with Duncan peeking out.

    Bunny Art In Ivy Frame

    I also used the border separately to frame my other miniatures paintings.

    Rooster Art

    Mouse Art

    Parrot Art

    I love the way Duncan's cover illustration turned out so much that I also created a bunny birthday card from the painting!

Bunny Birthday Card

The process has been so much fun, and although it has spanned a bit more time than we initially intended, we are well on our way to completing Duncan's Magical Garden.

A slide show showing the step by step process of the illustration.



June Stoyer said...

Your work is so beautiful! It really brings back great childhood memories! Thank you for bringing a bit of sunshine to everyone's day!

Lisa M. Rodgers said...

You are some kind of talented Melody! Such beautiful work!

Fay Akers said...

all I can say is amazing. I especially love the way you did the black bunnies.

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

What a fascinating insight into the process of creating your new book Melody and the cover looks absolutely stunning - a fantastic achievement!!! :)

Melody Lea Lamb said...

Thanks so much June, Karen, Lisa and Fay! I appreciate you all stopping by and reading about Duncans Magical Garden

@toddweisscfa said...

Awesome work Melody. Your work is amazing. Thanks for sharing. TW

Kayla @EssentialU said...

I love how painting the Fabbitz turned into a book project. Thank you for the inside look into the process that brought you to illustrating this book. I grew up in my mother's art room. Your work is not only beautiful, but very personal and meaningful for the person you create it for.

Francis A. said...

I can't wait for 'Duncan's Magical Garden' to hit the shelves!! I love gifting books and this one is going to be a must!! Amazing that it only took you 6 months!! What a neat story behind the story and I am a big fan of your work!! Keep it coming Melody! ;)

Melody Lea Lamb said...

Thank you so much for stopping by Todd, Francis and Kayla!

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