Rosie Browett talks about the Picture Book Illustration e-Course

Tell us about yourself Rosie

My name is Rosie Browett and I live by the beautiful Hawkesbury River, just north of Sydney. I live in our ‘treehouse’ with my loving and supportive husband, plus our three gorgeous boys. When I am not illustrating, I am running a household, homeschooling my boys and having adventures and playdates. I also love turning my illustrations into handmade craft for my creative side-hustle, Saucyduck.

My illustration style is very sweet with a hint of playfulness.

I signed up to the Picture Book Illustration e-Course because I have dreams of writing and illustrating my own stories. I have an imagination full of fun animal characters in costume waiting to find their way into picture books.

I haven’t got my own studio yet, so I mostly sit cross-legged at our living room coffee table, but sometimes I would borrow my husband's home office. I would unpack and pack back up my artwork, papers and pencils each time I used them, so they would be out of reach from sticky little fingers.

Walk us through the Picture Book Illustration e-Course

I knew going into the course that I wanted to work with the class manuscript, so I could get familiar with the tools needed to illustrate a picture book. I am very happy with this choice as it allowed me to grasp each step without having to give extra thought to my own written words. Each week I dedicated 4 - 6 hours to the course.

The Picture Book Illustration e-Course has been amazing, in that, I now have the confidence to approach any manuscript, whether it be my own or someone else’s. It has opened my eyes up to the world of illustrating books. 

The character design process was great for getting me out of my comfort zone. It really allowed me to think about shapes and expressions for the characters. It challenged me to experiment with my own drawing. 

The character map process was something I never would have thought about doing before this course, but it makes sense. It not only allowed me to see and experience my character from the side and front views but it was very helpful in proportionally drawing my Florence Fox character throughout the book.

I had never worked with thumbnail sketches before. It was fiddly trying to picture the story in some of the sequences, but also very rewarding. I liked being able to fill in the parts of the story, that I could already imagine, then to be able to work backwards to fill in the blanks.

The larger storyboard format was exciting. But sometimes it hurt my brain when thinking about those extra details. It certainly challenged me to see a fuller story. It allowed me to see pages and characters from different perspectives.

I found making the dummy book a very useful process. It was exciting to be able to turn the sketches into a mini-book. It allowed me to get a real feel for the illustrated story, so I could then create a few changes to allow the story to flow better.

With choosing the final illustration, I narrowed it down to two possible illustrations and asked the very lovely and helpful online community. The final illustration I chose to work on challenged me to draw a sequence of five Florence Fox’s in various movement across the page. I was very proud of the finished piece.

I definitely feel my confidence for drawing freer movement in characters has improved dramatically and not being afraid to explore a character through playing with different angles and shapes. I also enjoy the softer brown pencil for outlining, rather than the stark black ink pen I used for years.

My final illustration is a playful birthday scene full of bunting, rumbling fox cubs, loving cake-carrying fox parents, berries and woodland friends. Florence Fox is joyfully tumbling through this birthday celebration and across the page in a sequence of five images of fun before she waves goodbye on her way to school. 

Colouring this piece in was a little scary, but at the same time, I felt quite sure of the direction I was going! I am very pleased and proud to have finished it. I love the flow of colour as you are drawn across the playful scene!

If I were to do this course over, I would probably map out a personal time management chart for how I would fit in the homework. But otherwise, I have absolutely enjoyed the process of learning and building new skills. Skills that have opened my mind up and have given me the boost I needed towards my dreams as a picture book illustrator. 

Over the months, I have been keeping up with an almost daily illustrating practice. Which started with drawing bunnies and then pencil sketches of furbabies. But then I took up using Procreate, on the iPad, full time as it allowed me to find extra time for drawing in amongst kids and daily routine. Along the way, I fell in love with designing seamless surface patterns. 

Three months ago I illustrated a cute koala in a vegemite-inspired jar, expressing the need for hugs and dreaming about wearing a swishy skirt made from this very Australian design. Everyone got very excited about my dream and it soon led to me becoming a licensed fabric artist. 

I am thrilled to have 20+ designs exclusively out there already on fabrics. I get an excited buzz knowing there is also a very connected handmade market out there who are going to be turning these designs into wonderful items. 
I am very happy by this newfound fun for my illustrations, but also very excited to use these new characters in my own picture books. I look forward to taking my first story – about a little stubborn character, who comes to realise that giving is better than keeping – and turning it into a picture book that I can one day read my boys.
You can head over to Rosie's Etsy shop - SaucyduckDesigns 
or follow Rosie on Facebook or Instagram

The Winners of the 'Ben' Character Design Competition

And the winners are... but first, a huge congratulations to absolutely every one of you and your wonderful 'Ben' entries! Ben was especially humbled and thrilled by every single one of your entries. I am delighted to offer a PBIC place to #soobalooart (Soobaloo Art) and a one-on-one illustration mentoring session with me to #hoppingmadproductions (Vanessa Valentino). Ben has chosen #jeanettestampone (Jeanette Stampone) to get a 100-word bio from Ben.

Thank you for letting us share your wonderful imaginations!

The FREE Character Design Mini-Course, 20-min course (and worksheets) will give you an insight into the more comprehensive 8-week Picture Book Illustration e-Course, sharing Nina's character design process – discover, design and draw.

The Picture Book Illustration e-Course

If you're interested in the Picture Book Illustration e-Course, the all-new 8-week course will be kicking off this month on August 27 (with weekly live feeds from Nina).
To find out more about PBIC  >>> click here <<< or you can register here. You can also sign-up and be the first to hear about any new classes, courses, events and illustration news.

Join my free mini-course

As my gift to you, here is my character design mini-course. All I need to know is where to send it. Valued at $20, it is 100% free. No credit card is required. You will also receive Nina news – I love to share, but not too often, not too much, and always in support of your creative journey. And you can unsubscribe at any time.