Thursday, 13 June 2019

Guest Post: Illustrating Sophie Johnson - Ella Okstad

I'd love to give a warm welcome to Ella Okstad today, who has written a great post about coming up with the initial illustrations for a new picture book series and to share some of her early sketches! I'm very much a fan of Ella's style and it's one which I admire and would love to be able to emulate!

Illustrating Sophie Johnson - Ella Okstad

When I first read the Unicorn Expert it was instantly clear to me how Sophie would look. As she is a self-confessed expert on unicorns and a detective genius it was very important to capture this in how she moves and behaves. For the Unicorn Expert, the publisher sent me a link to a John Lewis Insurance commercial video to describe her personality which I felt was really on point.

I wanted her to have a simple stripy dress and a couple of thin legs. This way it would be quite easy to mover her around. Her face is dominated by a large pair of round glasses which gives her an important look; she is, after all, an expert and it also makes room for lots of different expressions.

Whereas Sophie's look came quite instantly, the real Unicorn was a little more tricky. At first, I imagined it to be quite flamboyant with a more horse-like body and a long wavy tail and mane. Then after re-reading the text and sending a couple of emails back & forth, we decided to go with the chubby quite insecure type of unicorn. It is, after all, seeking unicorn advice from the world's best unicorn expert!


In Detective Genius, Bella the dog is always there with an attentive look keeping an eye on Sophie. She is the true detective!


The guinea pig from Unicorn Expert can be spotted a couple of times in Detective Genius. Have another look and see if you can spot it hiding in the pages!


Review Links

Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert

Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius

1 comment:

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