Friday, 27 April 2012

An artist's process is not at all pretentious ... Lesley Vamos, illustrator

Hello lovely bloggers - Before I begin I just want to give a little thank you shout out to Sheryl for inviting me here as guest blogger, thus helping to kick things off in preparation for the imminent and exciting SCBWI conference in June! I represent the illustrator contingent - although, as this over written entry will suggest, I like to fancy myself part of the author group too - the part that is yet to find their story… 

However as I'm an illustrator first and author second it was suggested that I give you a little insight into my art process. For those that don't draw, this will hopefully help you get to know me a little better, and for those that do - maybe this will give you some ideas. I've chosen to use the SCBWI conference logo I did as I think it's the most relevant and it's the only illustration I can actually show at the moment. 

First I did some research into what was happening this year in the world of children's books and found the biggest thing that came up was that this year happened to be the national year of reading. Immediately I started to sketch out what came to mind when I thought of the love people (especially kids) had of reading. How we read, why we read and even where we read. I also explored different way to represent love, I didn't really want to go with the traditional love heart. 

Below are some of the sketches from this brain storm, as well as some colours I had in mind to enhance the mood of the illustration. I wanted warm passionate colours that also tied in with the logo already designed for the NYR.

Then I pulled out the sketch that I thought best represented what I was trying to communicate with the logo and started to flesh it out. After drawing it a couple of times and deciding how much detail I wanted to include, I did the final line work and colored it in grey scale. The grey scale helped me figure out which parts of the logo I wanted to stand out! 

Once it was in grey scale and I had translated the colours I had drawn in pencil to a digital palette, I started applying colour to the logo basing the placement on each colours grey scale equivalent. This is when the team came in - and where having other illustrators to talk to about your design work can be extremely helpful! Based on their feedback and ideas I took the logo back to sketch form to incorporate them and then took it to final colour as I already knew which colours were going where… 

Well that 's pretty much the long and short of it. As far as logo design goes this was probably one of the easier ones I've worked on as my client included myself - My process tends to change depending on who I'm working with and what we're working on. I prefer things this way as it means I get to work through new challenges every time and keep things fresh and most importantly fun ^_^ 

Have a great weekend everyone! 


  1. Fabulous post, Lesley! And a fascinating insight into how illustrators plan and carry out their artwork. Being a frustrated artist myself, I loved seeing how you created the SCBWI logo. I'm sure others will find it just as interesting.

  2. I LOVE the way you've recorded the process of creating the SCBWI 2012 Conference logo - wish I was a talented illustrator. Being a writer feels not so .... well, immediately satisfying. Love this lesley.

  3. Beautiful work!

    Nothing complements a children's book better than the imaginative mind of an illustrator. It's such a fascinating process and so nice to see it laid out this way.