Monday, March 15, 2010

Picture This - Samantha Bell

Not only does Bumples Magazine have talented writers, we also have talented artists. Samantha Bell is here to tell us what it’s like to lend her artistic skills to Bumples Interactive Kids Magazine.

How long have you been drawing?
I have been drawing as long as I can remember! I think my mom has even saved some of those early pictures...

Is this something you'd like to do for a living?
Right now I'm home full-time with my kids, but illustrating is a wonderful part-time career. It's creative, expressive, and for me, relaxing -- I like to turn on my favorite music as I work on the next piece. And it's so much fun to illustrate for children, as I feel I'm also illustrating for my own.

How do you decide what to draw for a story?
I start off by reading through the whole story several times, envisioning the action as I go along. I then decide which scenes would be the most interesting to depict. Depending on the number of illustrations needed, I choose from those scenes the ones I'm going to draw.

What types of media do you like to draw in?
I enjoy trying out different types of media. I like pencil, pen, watercolor, acrylics, oils, cut paper, pastels, scratchboard, or a combination of any of those.

How do you start a drawing? Do you plan or just jump right in?
I start an illustration by sketching out thumbnails -- small drawings showing just the basic shapes of the characters and where they'd fit in the illustration. These are quick and easy to do, and with them I can decide which composition will work the best. If the drawing is a realistic one, I take reference photos of the people/animals/objects that I've planned for in the drawing. I then begin the illustration, drawing it in pencil to scale or a little larger.

Any advice for folks hoping to break into the drawing biz?
1) Learn -- take an illustration class, go to conferences, and ask other artists about their techniques. 2) Get to know other illustrators -- it's a very supportive community! 3) Don't give up -- persistence is the key!

Anything else you'd like to add?
When considering your work, take a look at how others create their illustrations. Visit the children's book section of your library or book store, or check out websites such as If you're like me, you'll find some inspiration and some motivation!

Samantha Bell is a freelance illustrator/writer. Her work has been published in magazines both online and in print, and she's illustrated several picture books for Guardian Angel Publishing. Her first picture book with Alma Little is due out this spring.


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