Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saris, Patterns, The Princess and The Pea... and Tips for Setting Your Story in a Foreign Land

For the final project for my Children's Book Illustration class, we had to choose any story and plan a 32-page picture book illustrating the full text. I chose the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea.

 I decided to set the story in India, since I love the look of the palaces there and the thought of illustrating an Indian princess just seemed so beautiful to me. I really love the colors of Indian textiles and jewelry and wanted to be able to work with that in my illustrations too.

Now, I have a full book dummy of rough sketches and text layout for a 32-page book, and two completed interior illustrations plus a cover illustration! This was such a fun project and an incredible class- I can't wait to take Advanced Children's Book Illustration in the fall!!

Here is the cover:

One double-page spread:

One single page illustration:

Lesson Learned: When you decide to set your story in a foreign country- RESEARCH is absolutely necessary! I pored over dozens of books at the library- books on Indian architecture, art, and fashion... I even found an entire book about saris that had diagrams about how to wear them for different occasions, which was very helpful in dressing the princess. There were some incredible books about arab patterns- I photocopied just about every page because all of the patterns were so gorgeous and inspiring when it came time to design my own patterns for the borders of my illustrations. Of course, internet searches were helpful too, but the best internet research I found wasn't from Google Images, but from YouTube. I watched clips of Bollywood movies and found some great inspiration for costumes and colors!

I spent more time researching than I spent painting- once I had it all planned out the rest was easy!


  1. Wonderful Job Heidi! Thanks for your comments too. Your insight and notes are invaluable. All I can say is, next big time Children's book author! Look out World!

  2. Aww thanks for always being so supportive, Stacey! You're great!

  3. Good stuff Heidi. When I write a children's book I'll know where to turn.

  4. Thanks, James! I would LOVE to work on a children's book with you one day- I think you would be a brilliant children's author!