Erin and James – Birth Pictures

I was delighted to hear the news that my friends, Keith and Anne, were to become proud grandparents, as their daughter, Sarah and son-in-law, Mark, were expecting twins in the early months of 2017.

Having done a number of illustrations for Keith and Anne in the past (of a canine nature) it was nice to be asked to do some birth illustrations for their two grandchildren. The grandchildren are beautiful and the parents have named them Erin and James.  Congratulations to all the family.

Erin was very traditional in being ‘ladies first’, with her ‘little’ brother arriving only a minute behind her. The proud grandparents wanted some animal illustrations to feature on the birth pictures, but each of them were to have a different theme, so I suggested African/Safari animals for James and British wildlife for Erin. I was inspired by all of the Beatrix Potter merchandise last year, so it’s not surprising that Erin has a red squirrel, rabbit and a hedgehog in her illustration. This illustration is also the first to feature a mole, an animal that I can’t remember ever drawing before. James, on the other hand, features animals that boy’s tend to like – particularly crocodiles, lions, monkeys and elephants. It also has my favourite animal, a giraffe in it too.

I heard from Keith that the new parents, Sarah and Mark, are delighted with their children’s birth illustrations, which makes it all the more enjoyable for me, as I truly enjoyed drawing them. I hope that when they are older Erin and James will enjoy them and that they will be a wonderful memory for them in later years.

I must make an apology for the quality of the images on this blog post.  I took a picture of these commissions with my mobile phone and not my camera (which wasn’t working at the time 😦 )

Penelope – Girl’s Birth Picture

I’ve done quite a few birth names now and have done a few varities of names too, but a new name often comes my way; one that I like and one that also makes me keen to get on with the illustration request.

The name Penelope is a nice Greek name and a friend I had called that told me that the name relates to a Greek story about a lady who was famed for weaving a never-ending tapestry whilst waiting for her love to return from a long voyage.

PenelopebyMichaelQuinlyn-Nixon(complete)web

The client, in this case, didn’t want a weaver but did want lots of dalmatians (I couldn’t fit on one-hundred-and-one), which happens to be my favourite breed of dog.

I started off with the pencil sketches and soon realised that no matter how I drew the young dalmatians they were going to look so like Walt Disney’s no matter how hard I tried. Walt Disney has rather cornered the market on Disney films, making both the cartoon and film version, which featured Glenn Close.

I wanted the Dalmatian pups to interact with the letters and tried each one in different positions before settling on the final version. The colour chosen for the letters was yellow and this was very complementary to the black and white of the dogs. Once the puppies were all drawn in I added a slipper, some balls of wool and a mouse. A woodpecker flew into my garden as I was working on the sketch, and seeing as the colour of it was so similar to the dogs I thought it would be nice to include it.

The client loved the final illustration and I hope you do too…

Grace – Girl’s Birth Picture

I’ve done a good number of birth names over the last two years, since I left full-time employment as a graphic designer. One of the nicest things about doing these birth illustrations is knowing that they will be enjoyed for many years to come. Another nice aspect of the work is that many of my customers come back to me over and over again to have some more work done.

Grace completeforblog
One friend and customer, Angela, has now purchased several of my birth illustrations for newly-born members of her family – as birth presents or christening gifts. I am always delighted to do these illustrations, as each and every one I do is unique and tailored to the client’s tastes and specifications.

A little while ago, I received a message on my blog, from a lady who said that I should do a birth illustration for a ‘Grace’, so I promised to post something this month. The illustration above was done for a little girl who loves ballet and all-things-pink. The client also asked to include a picture of a dancing marmalade-coloured cat, which was one of my favourite parts to do.

Many people think that my illustrations are created on the computer, and are surprised to find out that each one is sketched on paper, with all of the details marked on the ‘rough’ copy.  I later draw these out by-hand and then hand-colour the whole illustration.  The only time that a computer is involved in the whole process is when I scan in the final illustration, so it can be included on my blog.  It takes approximately two-days to complete each illustration, with the required amount of detail that my clients expect from my work.

I later heard that Grace, loved her picture, as did her younger sister who also received one – as a special gift. It was nice to have two satisfied ‘customers’, as well as my client 🙂

Huey – Boy’s Birth Picture

I have had quite a few commissions for children’s nurseries over the last two months, but I have particularly enjoyed working on the illustrations that contain the jungle animals theme. One such illustration was for a little boy called Huey, whose Grandmother, Linda, had commissioned me to produce. Huey is an adorable little boy and is already (despite his young age) keen on a game of football, so jungle animals playing football was the theme of the illustration. Hueyillustrationinprogressforblog(smaller)
I chose a range of animals that Huey would know and recognise, a bear, lion, hippopotamus, monkey etc and dressed them in football kits. I sketched the illustration out in half a morning and worked out what colours I was going to use. One of the stipulations of the illustration was to keep the colour green to a minimum, so that had to be held in mind when choosing the animal characters.

During the final colouring stage, I was just colouring in the baby hippopotamus, when my good friend, Mary, rang me to see how I was doing.

“What are you doing today, darling?”, she asked.

“Well, at this very moment in time, I happen to be painting a hippopotamus’s bottom” I replied.

“Oooh” said Mary, “that sounds like a big job!”

Fortunately, my drawings are not life size or on this occasion she would have been right.

It’s nice getting the occasional phone call from family, friends and colleagues…whilst I am working, as they can add an extra bit of information to my picture, or in the case of my latest birth illustration add in some of the elements, such as a panda, a kookaburra(!), a rabbit and a tiger…
Huey illustration(complete)lighterforblog
Linda was delighted with the Huey illustration, which was presented to Huey’s proud parents on Christmas Day. I do hope that these illustrations will prove to be family heirlooms in years to come, a happy memory of family love and affection…

Felicity & Matilda – Birth Pictures

I was approached from Judith, a former work colleague and friend, to do three illustrations for her adorable grandchildren: Eleanor, Felicity and Matilda. Felicity and Matilda are twins, so I tried to use similar colours for their birth names, but gave them totally different themes.Felicity(complete) forblog

Matilda(complete)forblog
Judith thoughtfully and wisely provided me with a list of ‘favourite things’ that the girls liked and enjoyed doing. With Felicity and Matilda she also provided me with the first two words that the girls could utter. Felicity’s was the rather advanced word ‘teapot’ and Matilda’s word was rather cute – ‘goggly’. I decided to use these two key words to provide the basis and theme of the illustrations. Felicity is making her friends a cup of tea, from the aforementioned teapot, whilst Matilda is hanging out her washing (another one of her favourite things) with a t-shirt with rather goggly eyes.

I was delighted to do this trio of illustrations (I will post a picture of Eleanor’s illustration at a later date), and was equally delighted that the illustrations received full approval from Judith, whose comment is shown below. I do hope that the girls will treasure these illustrations as they go through life and that they will always give them some delightful childhood memories, as well as remind them of a special love, given to them by a grandmother, that commissioned these illustrations especially for them…

Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures!  Lots of love from Judith xxx  We will cherish them!

To see the process of how I create these bespoke, hand-drawn illustrations, please take a look at the posts in May (Phoebe) and June (Joshua).