Witch Hazel – Bear-a-thought Illustration

I’ve done many teddy bear illustrations over the years, but some of them I do forget, but this isn’t one of them.  Although I am not a great fan of Hallowe’en, I do love the colour and imagery that I had to capture in this drawing.
Witch Hazel by Michael Quinlyn-Nixon for blog
I was asked by a big company in America, to illustrate one of their many beautiful teddies and after looking through their glossy catalogue several times, I was ‘taken’ to this little witch bear, with her sequinned cape and starry hat.  I liked drawing this teddy bear ‘as she was’, which included her rather sad looking face.  A number of my customers used to say, “Can you draw that teddy bear smiling?” and I replied, “I draw the bears as they present themselves”.  Teddy bears have individual characters: some happy some sad – just like human beings.

I remember my youngest niece, Cora, was just a baby when I started this illustration and the small wizard or witch that was coming out of the jack-o-lantern resembled her a little bit (she will be cross with me for putting this on here!), so I had to include him/her in the illustration.  Many of my teddy bear illustrations have a soft pastel theme, but with this one I could use the strong colours of green, orange and purple without hesitation.  I loved doing the confectionery: lollipops, cupcakes and biscuits with the ghosts and black cat cake toppings.  It was a great deal of fun (I think I ate them ALL afterwards!).

Whatever you have done or are doing for Hallowe’en, I do hope that you get a lot more treats than tricks!  Enjoy yourself and be safe…

When autumn leaves start to fall – Bear-a-thought illustration

It seems many, many years ago that I was working on this ‘When autumn leaves start to fall’ illustration.  All of the Bear-a-thought illustrations take me right back to the time I was drawing them.  This was an illustration that appeared in my 2006 calendar and was inspired by a famous song performed by the immortal Nat King Cole

I was chatting to a good friend recently who mentioned the  song and I thought that this illustration would make a very good blog post this month.  I have to be honest and say that I have a bit of a ‘downer’ about November and it’s my least favourite month, as I dislike being plunged into the dark days of autumn at the end of October.

AutumnleavesbyMichaelQuinlyn-Nixon
In this illustration, I have tried to show November at it’s best with golden leaves and azure blue skies.  I chose one of my new teddy bears, named Raymond, for the illustration as I just thought he was so appealing in his blue duffle coat and I loved illustrating the cord buttons on his coat that are keeping him warm from the autumn chills.  I also really enjoyed drawing the golden-leafed oak tree in the background and I do remember putting some shapes in amongst the foliage.  I think there was a heart, a gingerbread man and a goldfish to name a few, though looking at the illustration now I can’t see them.

The leaves that our lovely little bear is bouncing on were quite difficult and rather monotonous to draw, but I wanted to give them the appearance of looking dry, brittle and ‘crackly’; the kind of bone-dry leaves you cannot resist running through and then watch them being whisked-off by the cool autumn breezes…

Autumn leaves of red, orange and brown, to the ground come fluttering down.
Raymond jumps to catch them as they fall, from the trees above – so big and tall.

Sarah – Girl’s Birth Picture

This month I received a commission for a birth illustration from my youngest-ever customer, Sarah. Only twelve-years-old, Sarah has used her birthday money to commission from me a bespoke illustration. I was delighted to receive this work, as I have known Sarah for many years. I had asked Sarah to think about what elements she would like included in the picture and if she had a particular colour scheme that she wanted me to work to. Having had her bedroom freshly decorated, Sarah provided me with a piece of the colourful wallpaper that she wanted to match her illustration with. Elements that were required were, “lots of pugs and girly things”. That was a good brief…I knew exactly where I was going.Sarah complete(lighter)forblog
I sketched out the illustration last week and set to colouring it this week. I have enjoyed drawing the pugs, which are a breed of dog that I have not drawn before. I wanted to have these little canines in various positions and doing what dogs do if left unattended for too long! So, the picture includes chewed shoes, tampered with make-up and a string of sausages that are being wolfed down in haste. I also wanted to do the pugs various sizes, so they looked like a family unit.
Wallpaper
Matching the coloured-pencils to the wallpaper (above) was interesting, as I had to blend some of the colours to get the required hues. I had to write down the combinations of these colours, and I also gave them imaginative names such as ‘Acapulco Sunset’ (orange), ‘Mushy Peas’ (green), ‘Pretty Polly’ (pink).

At the time of uploading this blog post, Sarah hasn’t seen the final piece of artwork, but I do hope that she will be happy with the commissioned artwork and that it will go admirably in her new and fashionable bedroom. Thank you, Sarah.