Illustrating

Daybooks copy

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It takes a lot of practice.

Those are all sketch journals: half writing, half art. I began to keep journals—the ones on the left side of the top shelf—when I was in middle school.

The kids who become writers and illustrators like to write, write, write, and draw, draw, draw.

That would be me. And maybe you?

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Here are examples of illustrations I’ve done for books and magazines.

Sometimes I write the story, too. Sometimes I illustrate someone else’s story. Sometimes an illustration is almost a story in itself:

Fish Girl and the Boatman. Media: scratchboard, watercolor, pastel

Fish Girl and the Boatman. Media: scratchboard, watercolor, pastel

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This one illustrates a story I wrote about coyotes. The text is not yet in place:

I Hear Baby Coyotes! Media: pen and ink, watercolor, pastel

I Hear Baby Coyotes! from “Tata’s Coyotes,” by Betsy James
Media: pen and ink, watercolor, pastel

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This page, from the same story, is waiting for text too:

Coyotes Eat WHAT?  Media: pen and ink, watercolor, pastel

Coyotes Eat WHAT? from “Tata’s Coyotes,” by Betsy James.
Media: pen and ink, watercolor, pastel

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Here’s an example of text and illustration together:

Hana and the Moon, from "Waiting for Luna," by Charnan Simon. Media: scratchboard, watercolor and pastel.

Hana and the Moon, from “Waiting for Luna,” by Charnan Simon. Media: scratchboard, watercolor and pastel.

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Black-and-white is fun, too. Great for snow!:

Inner Tubes!  Media: scratchboard and colored pencil

Inner Tubes! Media: scratchboard and colored pencil

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There’s no black outline at all in this one from my book Tadpoles:

Frog Eggs!  Media: watercolor, colored pencil, pastel

Frog Eggs! from Tadpoles, by Betsy James.
Media: watercolor, colored pencil, pastel

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Sometimes cartooning is the way to go:

Molly MacCool.  Media: pen and ink, watercolor, pastel

Molly MacCool. Media: pen and ink, watercolor, pastel

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And sometimes it’s seriousness that works:

Ab Drem's Mule, from Long Night Dance by Betsy James.  Medium: scratchboard

Mule, from Long Night Dance, by Betsy James.
Medium: scratchboard

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Illustration is magic!

Magician. Media: watercolor, colored pencil, pastel

Magician. Media: watercolor, colored pencil, pastel

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All material on this site, both text and graphics, is © Betsy James, and may not be used commercially without her permission.

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