Friday, 17 July 2009

Illustration Friday - Tango

another image from the vaults that fits this week's Illustration Friday Brief "Tango". This was for an exhibition held in Ginza a while ago.....

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Illustration Friday: Hollow

Old exhibition piece illustrating the saying Fairy Folks are in Old Oaks. Seems to fit this week's "Hollow" theme. Can you spot the hidden figure in the shadows? (I didn't know it was there until after I'd completed the artwork).

Friday, 10 July 2009


I've just finished an unusual (for me) book for British publisher Frances Lincoln Ltd, a non-fiction lift-the-flap for young children on the human body. Outside-in was written by Clare Smallman and first released in the mid 1980's with illustrations by Edwina Riddell, but for this new edition I was asked to completely overhaul the book to appeal to a modern readership.

The text and layout were pretty fixed, but it was an interesting project to approach. Many spreads consist of pictures of children, with a flap to reveal the working body underneath, thus...

In the illustrations I tried to achieve a balance between accurate depiction of children with just enough character and distortion to make a fun book.

There are also some vignette scenes like this.....

Outside-in will be co-released in the USA by Barrons, I'm not sure of the exact release date yet.

This was an interesting project quite different from my usual output. In Japan I established my career illustrating fairy tales and dreamy aspirational images, the UK seems a lot more gritty. After researching wasps and fleas for the "Nasty" book, I'm wondering what other in-the-face projects might be next!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Cover to Cover Conference

Looking towards the end of the year, I'll be giving a talk at the British SCBWI 2nd Conference for Writers and Illustrators Cover to Cover, and all the magic in between - the making of a children's book which will run on 21st and 22nd November this year at the West Downs Campus in Winchester.

There are a lot of good speakers and it promises to be an interesting weekend for faculty and attendees alike. My break-out session will be "Power Portfolio's - Learn the secrets of building a better portfolio and showing it effectively". running from 1.00 - 3.00pm on the 22nd.

Regular readers will note that I gave a talk on exactly the same topic in Tokyo earlier this year, I'll basically be covering similar ground, here's the blurb:

"Despite, or perhaps because of, the plethora of artists websites, nothing beats a face to face meeting with an art director or editor. An effective portfolio that best shows off your talents is essential. With over 25 years of experience as an illustrator John Shelley will focus on the golden rules of portfolio layout and offer insights to help strengthen your portfolio book or other media. The workshop will also address focusing on your best work, tightening your presentation skills, and the psychology of meetings and tips on promotion. Following the talk, attendees are invited to submit their portfolios for discussion and critique. Please bring along your portfolio as you would to a client, a picture book dummy if you have one, and promotion materials."

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Early Summer in Staffordshire

A bit quiet on the blog lately, due chiefly to a pressing book deadline. I'm indoors sweating over a drawing board rather than under the summer sun, but almost done now, I'll post images when it's all handed in.

Nevertheless, much as I yearn for London, there's much around here to count blessings for.