Words for New Illustrators

Daybooks copy

It takes a lot of practice.

Those are 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?

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 will be added to the page:

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 works best to be serious:

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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Betsy James on Writing, Art, and Walking in the Desert

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