Thursday, 19 January 2012

Inspiring Scene of "The Gift of The Ladybug" - Part Five

The first picture I made from interpreting the story on The Gift of The Ladybug, tittled "Kuda n Ladybug". 
It is a scene of a horse galloping down the hill with a ladybug flying above him with a happy expression on their faces. The golden yellow sunlight dusk covering the hill, while a rabbit popping out from her cozy hole with a broom.

As an illustrator, one of the most important things in creating a good book is a good connection with the author.When the author and the illustrator shared a mutual respect to each other, there is no doubt that they can create an EXCELLENT BOOK.

This is what Carole wrote according the above picture:
"I envision the whole book to have the magical, airy and heaven-like feel that you portrayed in the "kuda n ladybug" illustration. I LOVE it!!! I also want some of the fun, whimsical and personality nature of the "pretty horse and ladybug" to make it's way into the characters in The Gift of the Ladybug."

And so the "kuda n ladybug" illustration became the main drawing of the book resembling of how TJ taught his parents, Troy and Carol how to live, as polkadot taught the horses how to fly.

We use the picture for cover of the book, as well as the inside cover and one spreads on page 28-29.
front cover
back cover
inside cover in sketch and the finished one

Momma and Poppa horses Character in "The Gift of The Ladybug" - Part Four

The character of momma horse started from this drawing, when I had a day dream about a pretty, trendy, clever and sophisticated young female horse.

The story of The Gift of The Lady Bug started in winter and came along in every page with the circle of the season in one year. And so the outfit of the characters. Here we can find momma wearing light spring dress with shawl, and a first yellow dandelion pinned in her hair.

The rejoice scene, when the horses at last cherished the fact that their son was meant to be a ladybug. 
They slowed down their hardworking ways, perfected countless bug-a-licious recipes, sang, danced and played with Polkadot.  

The last page of the book, when the horses treasured all of the lessons that their wise Polkadot taught them and rejoiced in the gift of the ladybug. The looks on their faces shown a complete expression of peace, gratitude and remembrance. They are picturing the gifts of Polkadot. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Cobblestone Street in winter wonderland - Part Three

1. In a quaint village with cobblestone streets, charming shops and glowing homes, there lived two horses that were very much in love.

"I’m picturing two horses walking down cobblestone street (standing upright on back two legs walking toward the reader with and front hooves arm in arm). It’s winter with snow on top of houses. Both sides of the street are lined with narrow houses, shops and street lamps (see link of Pistacia Vera, all with glowing windows and smoke coming out of chimneys. The shop in this illustration is a pastry shop, Pistacia Vera. If you need another shop, add an Art Gallery). The houses are usually brick, narrow and close together. Except our house is gray siding. I want this spread to feel cozy, happy, quaint and like a winter wonderland."
(Author's footnote) 

   Google time, as I've never been to winter zone before... :D
Time to travel to some places with beautiful cobblestone streets, to winter wonderland, and pack them all in my dream box.
Where should I hide when I need to focus on my thoughts? In to my meditation room. A topsy-turvy free zone, where children only can be heard from behind the door and not allowed to go in... Except when any of them need to have a 
go...ha XD

  And here is the cobblestone street in winter wonderland scenery!:)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Polkadot Character in "The Gift of The Ladybug" - Part Two

Polkadot has to convinced momma and poppa horse that he was meant to be, 
andalways happy of being a ladybug.
page 23  The Gift of The Ladybug

Well Polkadot, lets make those cute, adorable yet wise expressions of you 
to help you reaching your dreams! xo

page 23-24  The Gift of The Ladybug

It was really a fun, enjoyable moment drawing this little guy.

The Gift of The Ladybug - Part One

I love this project!
Illustrating The Gift of The Ladybug project is really something. It's the first time for me working with an excellently solid and fun team from different time zones, on a crazy short timeline. The Author is Carole Amber from Colombus, Ohio, USA. The Editing and IT team are Nina and Agung from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. While I myself as the illustrator and art content, live in Shah Alam, around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
There has been a lot of work and back-to-back deadlines in order to hit our final deadline on December 20 with uploading 14 spreads, the cover and the layout to CreateSpace. But we successfully made it!:)

The Gift of the Ladybug is a tribute to TJ, Carole and Troy's late son.It portrays a story about accepting fate with joy, laughter, love and peace.

Carole M. Amber is the author and owner of the project.

The first time I read The Gift of The Ladybug story, I simply fell in love with it. And reading the story behind the story really moved me. Carole is a person, a mother with all greatness and perseverance that I admired

A part of Author's Note
by Carole M. Amber

"This story came to me in a flash during one my darkest moments. It was a cold, dark and rainy evening in December. We were driving home from the Cleveland Clinic after hearing the doctor say "your son may not see his second birthday." I was reeling, in a catatonic state and frozen in pain.

Suddenly, I began to see horses and ladybugs floating in my head. I watched the ladybug ask the horses why they were crying and I heard the ladybug say, “But I don’t know how to be a horse. I only know how to be a ladybug.” It was these words and the peace that they brought that allowed me to find relief in this harrowing moment.

In the days following that car ride, I put pen to paper and wrote The Gift of the Ladybug for TJ. I gave it to him for Christmas and was able to read it to him countless times. 

The Gift of the Ladybug mirrors the way TJ made us feel. His eyes and demeanor would say, “Mom and Dad, I’m okay. It must be this way.”

TJ peacefully passed away in April 2009 at 14 months from complications from Leigh Syndrome.

My profound gratitude to TJ, and to this story, reaches far beyond words. Not only did The Gift of the Ladybug provide comfort to me and my family when we needed it most, but it helped us reframe how we looked at our circumstances. When times got hard, we embodied the story. We would remind ourselves that TJ was our ladybug and that he could never be a horse. And if TJ could face his fate with joy, laughter, love and peace—we could find a way to do the same. Our wise little ladybug gave us a glimpse of what it is like to fly."

When an author and an illustrator can sit together and discussed about every page, character, expression, the ambient, nick-nacks and details, it becomes a great way to get the essence of the story and then poured them into visual graphic..

It was some works around the clock game! With the internet stayed on line for almost 24/7, the teams from the two continents were sharing all information, files, discussing all tweaks, and throw jokes as well as giving support to each others. One horrible moment was when the internet connection in Jogjakarta,Indonesia crashed for the whole day on the last critical time, but still the team managed to get through the trouble with a very strong spirit.Once again it was a tight, close call, but still remains fun.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Cute Pirate

Hey, who said being a pirate is only a job for those rough guys? ;)

I got the hat from Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of Caribbean, but I added a light magenta feather for a touch of girlishness:)

The Princess

In the late November 2011, I received an email from Carole Amber, asking me to make a whimsical portrait illustration of her two beautiful nieces, Clara and Lauren for the Christmas gift. One of the girl Clara loves to dress up like a pirate while the younger one Lauren loves to be a princess.

It was a fun time dressing up the two girls with the cool whimsical outfit! :)

I made this picture with water color, it was fun to make texture on her pink dress, and I love the way her white and olive green stripes dress showing up a little under the pink one:)
and by the way,  I wish I could have boots like her here...ha.