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The Magic of Malregard: A secret revealed!

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Hi everyone,

I love the person who decided that the calendar needed a pancake day! Don’t you? We had a mix of cultures in our house as we had both crepes and Scotch pancakes, both delicious in their own right! Nom, Nom, NOM!

Craig and I spent a long weekend up in the North of Scotland, visiting his folks, so I’m afraid I have been suffering form withdrawal symptoms due to the lack of crafting!

But, I have been waiting for such an occasion to share this with you.

(Sorry about the quality of the photos, as due to the deadlines involved, the only photos I could take were on my iPhone.)

You may remember before Christmas I was working on a top secret project. Well, now that Christmas has come and gone, I will reveal all. Our friend Jeremy wanted to give his wife Sarah the perfect gift for Christmas. Some lesser men might have contemplated jewellery, flowers, or clothes, but not Jer. Oh NO! …. he decided to write Sarah her own fairy tale. That’s right ladies, write her a fairy tale!

I can almost hear you all melting in an chorus of awwwwww’s.

Well, Jeremy tasked me with the vitally important, and somewhat scary role of illustrating a cover for the book!!!

Oh my word, I was sooo excited! I have never done any illustrating before, but he knew that I am always in my element when I have a pencil in my hand. So he gave me a brief: The story is about the Hills of Malregard, it involves a little girl called Elizabeth, and there is magic and mystery, and a little bit of SciFi. And, he envisaged it to be Tim Burton-esque. So I did some research, googling images of Tim Burton films, sketching ideas, using it as an excuse to watch Nightmare Before Christmas (love that movie!).

After sketching in pencil, I used a lightbox to trace the illustration onto a piece of card using a pigment marker. Next I photocopied it onto a couple of other pieces of card. This was because I wanted to experiment with the colours so thought it would be best to have a few copies at hand.

Here’s the thing I love best – I used Tim Holtz distress inks to colour the image! I tapped the ink onto an acrylic block, then used a waterbrush to paint the ink onto the illustration. And I must say, I am really proud of the finished result. I think Elizabeth looks lovely, don’t you?

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Next stop was the background, and I knew immediately that distress inks would be a winner. I made a wash colour first by tapping the ink pads onto a craft sheet, spritzing with water then schmooshed a piece of card on top. Then I used torn pieces of paper as masks, and using a blending tool I blended the ink onto the page to create hills in the background. Then I inked the edges to create depth, and spritzed with a little glimmer mist and cosmic shimmer spray. And I also used this fab hero arts stamp to create a flourish border to the page. I added a touch of Stargazers pearl paint to the love hearts to add a little shimmer.

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The rest was up to Jeremy. He took the two images, scanned and photoshopped them together and got a book printed especially for Sarah. I must say that it was incredibly hard to keep it secret from Sarah, but it was definitely worth it in the end!

So here you have it, my secret illustrating mission, that was a challenge and a delight. Thank you Jer for giving me a chance to broaden my skills, and for giving me another excuse to use my distress inks, and most of all, for getting me a copy of your wonderful book so I can also experience the Magic of Malregard. I feel very privileged that I have one of only two copies, and extremely honoured that you asked me to be a part of this wonderfully special gift!

Thanks for looking & please leave me a comment here.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Carmen O. February 18, 2010, 12:33 am

    Absolutely Fabulous! I just love how this turned out and so want to try it myself. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Carmen February 18, 2010, 1:02 am

    *squeak* Another Carmen!!

    Oh my word, what an honour as you say and what a gift. Talk about swoontastic! This is just gorgeous Lesley – you done it proud!

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