Location Drawing and the Character of Environments

Hey everyone,
Just a few thoughts I wanted to share.

I’m still going through Illustrating Children’s Books by Martin Salisbury. One section of the book deals with creating a sense of place in your images. The focus here is on using location drawing to inform your studio drawing. This has caused me to consider the spaces in which my characters will dwell. There are three main environments in Our 1984: Shelter.

  1. The interior of their house – bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, living room.
  2. The exterior of their house and the countryside.
  3. The countryside and grasslands of the imagined space they explore during their playing.

It’s always been my desire, right from the moment I conceived of this story, that the environments in these books would be just as rich in character as the children. I have a feeling that task may be more challenging than I currently perceive it to be. Martin Salisbury writes about the benefits of location drawing in developing environments:

“The benefits of location work range from the primarily technical (namely, the ability to draw many things and from many angles) to less tangible ones associated with inspiration and atmosphere.”

I think I may need to try and carve out some time to go to the country and do some sketches in order to better acquaint myself with the Alberta countryside. The downside of this is that winter is approaching and my story is set in Summer. I suppose even if I can get a handle on aspects of form, depth and perspective I can translate a fall scene into a summer scene by way of colour and some research into summer photos of Alberta.

Though I am very familiar with the Alberta countryside I want to be careful not to slip into a place of drawing from my memory completely. I believe in order for the character of the environments to come forth I will need to examine and include plant life native to the prairies.

As for the interior of the house. This will prove a little more tricky as the story is set 25 years ago. The house that I remember as a child has been greatly renovated and, though very beautiful now, has none of its former eightiesness. I will likely have to rely on memory and photographs to achieve a sense time and place for those scenes inside the house.

I’m so excited to get back to my book in full force, it appears as though that won’t happen until the new year. For now I will continue to do some small amounts of reading and continue to sketch and work out concepts for some of the supporting characters. I had a major breakthrough the other day on the design of the trolls for this story. I won’t go into detail here right now because it’s something I want to share when the concept visuals are complete. It’s very exciting though as it gives the trolls a few layers of interpretation and metaphors for story telling.

Well. That’s all I’ve got for you today. Until next time, love large and dwell in the light.




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