Something from Glen — The Illustrator’s Angle
Greetings, dear reader! My name is Glen, and it is my firm belief that inside all of our minds exists a unique little world, made up of our own quaint little dreams, and filled with the liveliest characters and the brightest little bits of scenery. Into these we pour much of our hopes, our wants, and our wishes of what the world could be, and while they are often misunderstood by others around us, they never fail to make our days a little better.
For me, being an artist has always been about having just the right amount of skill to capture little snapshots of these worlds, and putting them on pieces of paper or canvas to let others into the vibrant little secrets that run in our imaginations.
When Alifya gave me the privilege to work on her book, along with it came the opportunity to enter her world, and the world of Mr. Hoo & The Thingamagee.
My first task was the most crucial to the illustration process: I had to read the script and imagine myself within the story, almost as if Mr. Hoo and Mrs. Bumbleberry were old friends with their own special habits and appearances and Peek-A-Boo Mountain, with its magical fluffy clouds was a place I’d been to before in my life, and I was going to describe them in a piece of writing — except I was going to draw them all instead.
And then I had to plan and sketch the drawings. This task of translating the world I’d just read of into pictures that my younger self would want to read was, almost certainly, the most interesting phase in the entire project.
Every character is so special and so different from the others — yes, even Mr. Hoo’s three Piggies — and I had to make sure that I could imagine and draw them in little “snapshots” of scenes where these special things, and the special things about the places they were in, could come out in the drawings.
Mrs. Bumbleberry is a great example of what I’m talking about. She only appears on two pages of the book, but within so few pictures she had to be known as a neat, petite little woman who loves baking cakes and cookies in a sun-drenched, rustic kitchen.
After I put in the black and white sketches, I slowly began to put in the colour tones, and finally, the textures and small details into the drawings. It’s a pretty magical thing to see the world your mind has crafted with time and feeling come to life in a picture, and even though the world originally belonged to Alifya, I had come to live in it too. Filling in and colouring page after page brought scene after scene to life, and now, when I look at the completed work, I almost expect to feel on my face the same wind that blows through the trees on Peek-A-Boo Mountain.
I have to mention, in conclusion, that illustrating a children’s book became an nice adventure— both in the world of the book, and in my own journey as an artist — one that I hope to continue for as long as it lasts.
Thank you for reading this short note about me, and I hope you enjoy reading the book, “Mr. Hoo & The Thingamagee.