Four illustrations from the series Besties: Bear Hug, Fire Fox, Wise Owl and Swan Embrace. They represent the need to get closer to nature and the sweetest friends that we find in other species. Some of these illustrations are inspired in real life.
We all have heard about messages in a bottle thrown to the sea. Well, this time it is the sea in a bottle, or maybe a forest or any place that you can imagine. This little day dreamer girls, really enjoy being close to nature. What else could we find inside a bottle?
From the series “Life in a Bottle”: Ocean, Forest, Air and Dreamwave. All painted in watercolours.
I am taking you to the backstage of my painting of “A Dodo in Shrewsbury”; a fantastic initiative of Shrewsbury BID, who has commissioned local artists – I am one of them – to paint BT & Openreach boxes to brighten up the town. The topic is animals, to link with Charles Darwin, who was born and bred in Shrewsbury.
I was allocated a box just outside the Wakeman College -Shrewsbury College English Bridge campus – next to the entrance to the Abbey Gardens by the English Bridge. Trying to relate to Darwin and the area, my inspiration came from retro science books. Derek the Dodo represents extinction, an essential part of evolution, which connects with Shrewsbury’s Charles Darwin and the academic world.
After sending sketches and getting them approved, it was just the matter of having some days of dry weather to be able to work. The project took me three days to complete, plus quick visits some days later, to varnish it.
Preparing the box: This part is the dirtiest, but very important to be able to achieve a good finish and the best end result. The box was in a good nick, but cleaning took longer that I expected, as some of the old stickers on the box had left a sticky glue which was reluctant to go!
Once it was done, I sanded it with a fine sandpaper and then, after a quick clean and dry, I applied the primer and went for lunch, to give it time to dry.
After lunch I drew my little dodo friend and started with the first coat of the background.
I have to say that I was absolutely touched by the kindness of the passers-by who have been commenting on the painting and encouraging me. I was even offered a cup of tea by a neighbour!
In the morning of this new day, I managed to give a second coat to the background and it seemed to be taking shape. I started painting the dodo and build up the colours on it.
One of the passer-by was a Shropshire Star photographer who took some pictures of the dodo and I. This pics ended up in the newspaper the next day!
I was again touched by everybody stopping to say hello, and I also got a delicious cake from the sweetest couple. A light rain, which wasn’t predicted in the forecast, surprised me; so I ended the afternoon early. I left looking forward to the next sunny day!
Today I focussed on the details. In the morning I gave another coat to everything and after lunch I returned to work on the lights, shadows and the nature around the dodo. Once again, I was thrilled by the kindness of passers-by: Salopians and tourists who stopped to chat. What a lovely place Shrewsbury is!!!
The weather was glorious, so I could stay late – giving it a push to finish the painting.
It has been an amazing experience!
I came back the following week to varnish, but it only took me a few minutes. Thank you Shrewsbury BID, BT Openreach and all of you for all the kind words.
I know that dodos are extinct, but do you know what? There is now one in Shrewsbury! If you happen to walk past the Abbey Gardens, please say hello to Derekthe Dodo. And if you feel like it, take a selfie with him and post it on instagram, tagging me @giselarobinsonart with the hashtag #adodoinshrewsbury . Look forward to seeing your pictures!!!
Illustration commissioned by Mighty Kind Magazine, for their third issue Breaking Bread. The illustration aims to bring awareness on food allergies that others may have. Food allergies was done digitally and the typography was designed together with the illustration.
Illustrations inspired by the heartwarming novel “The Book Thief”. Full colour front and back-cover illustration made with acrylics and two monochromatic interiors made digitally, representing some of the most iconic moments of this charming story.
I will braid my sadness: A Short Story of Paola Klug
I have been working in an Illustration of a short story of Paola Klug, a fantastic Mexican writer and poet. “Trenzaré mi Tristeza” (I will braid my sadness) is a story about women, tradition, family, customs and – over all – love. The kind of maternal love from a grandma, completely incondicional. As soon as I read the story I fell in love with every word and it inspired me right away.
I worked in a double page, having the story in the odd page, most of the main illustration in the even page, but passing into the odd page and framing the story.
The illustration is painted with watercolours in a neutral colour, adding a tiny touch of bright red in specific places to add temperature and bring it to life.
I believe that it complements the story nicely with an air of melancholy and sweetness. What do you think?
What I love about Paola is the simplicity and warmth of her words. If you read her – I promise – it will touch your soul. Gracias Paola for transporting me to my childhood and the stories of my own grandmother, and for filling me with inspiration.
If you feel like reading more stories of Paola or purchasing her latest book, see below her social media links:
The World Map and the Argentina Map are Illustrations commissioned by Mighty Kind Magazine, published in different issues. The World Map shows the origin of certain legends, meanwhile the Argentinean Map describes the country, customs, culture, autochthones animals and some feature places. The Shrewsbury Map is a personal project which illustrates the place where I live with my family, place very close to my heart.