Gail_newGail is a native of Florida, but has now adopted California as her own, thanks to her love of avocados and mountains (one of which Florida is lacking). She has been working as an in-house book designer for over 8 years and works on freelance illustration projects in her spare time. She has illustrated one educational digital picture book and hopes to publish one of her author/illustrated stories one day as a classic picture book. For her, picture books bring together her love of illustration, typography, and printing–and she will yammer on about them for hours if you let her.

For the past number of years, I’ve made it a habit to create nursery art for friends, family, and close coworkers when I find out they’re expecting. I’ve tried to make them a bit fancier each time in an effort to push myself to get better at my art and build a portfolio of work. More complex = more time, and recently I’ve run into a dilemma. Between the day job, my own personal art projects, and the number of IOUs for friends and expected little ones, I found that I had more of these art pieces than time to create full colored illustrations for. To find a solution, I had to simplify: pen-and-ink drawings, maybe a hint of color. That is all.


Swatches_scrapI decided to make use of what I had lying around: scrap watercolor paper (Arches, 140 lb), remnants from larger sheets that I cut down to sizes needed for various finished projects. I cut the remnants into 5×7 sizes, with any smaller pieces heading straight to the scrap bin, to be used later to test watercolor mixes before I apply them to finished pieces. Each large sheet of watercolor paper is too expensive to let anything go to waste.
Dog_closeup_eraserDrawings were done in pen-and-ink, sometimes being sketched out first in pencil, sometimes drawn freeform and impulsively. That is particularly true with some of my favorite animals: foxes, elephants, giraffes. They are fun to draw and I’ve probably drawn them a few too many times.
Once drawn, I add a touch of color to accent but not detract from the final images.
The images come from a combination of what I know a person wants as an image and what I’m in the mood to draw that day. They are a nice change of pace from the portfolio pieces that I redraw and redraw until I am (sometimes) happy with them. These are play.

Those of you familiar with Mel and her new years announcement might be able to guess which one of these I created for their nursery.


To follow Gail and her artful adventures:
twitter: @nightengailart
instagram: nightengail




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