Lilly Mae is my second picture book to be published by Raw Mixture Publishing in 2015 and the first collaborative project with my sister Sarah who wrote the book. Sarah's wonderful and beautifully written story was easy to become inspired by enabling me to add my own detail and story through illustration. I had a lot of fun coming up with why and how Lilly Mae changed the weather and loved developing the looks and style of Lilly Mae with all her funky outfits!
'a perfect and unique little picture book [...] These sorts of stories which explain the world around us are such rare gems.' @zooarchaelogis
Lilly Mae written by Sarah Mahfoudh
Colour // The colour palette for Lilly Mae came to me quite quickly after reading Sarah’s words. I wanted the palette to be fresh, distinctive and refined. The obvious starting point for me was the pale blue sky and bright white clouds, with the addition of warm yellow for the sun being a must. This would form the background within my scenes. Reading the book, you get a sense that Lilly Mae is a determined and feisty character with a real sense of fun and joy, so the colours of the illustrations had to portray her strength. I loved the combination of hot pink against the blue, yellow and white, and introduced the dark grey for outline and detail. The limited combination of the pink and grey was enough to show every detail of her character and expression without complicating the simple graphic style. The addition of light grey and a darker blue then allowed me to create darker contrast spreads for the stormy skies, windy scenes and when Lilly Mae felt sad.
Texture // I’m a big fan of bold flat colours (you will find a lot of it in my work!) but I felt it was also important to add some texture into Lilly Mae to help break up the expanse of sky; to add depth and interest to the illustrations. I achieved this by creating simple rounded dot and square graph paper hatches and applying them to hand-drawn cloud shapes. The combination and overlaying of hatches with flat colours helped to illustrate the softness of a white fluffy cloud and falling snow or the heaviness of a dark hail or rain cloud ready to burst!
Illustrating the story // One of the most enjoyable parts of illustrating Lilly Mae, was being able to add extra levels of detail to the story through illustration. Sarah’s wonderful concept and beautifully written story was a dream illustration project and so easy to be inspired by. After reading the words, being able to put my own take on how or why Lilly Mae was changing the weather, or illustrating her mood was a lot of fun. One of my favourites is her ice-cream making cloud which makes it snow down on earth.
Illustrating movement // The windy scenes in Lilly Mae were a lot of fun to produce as I really had to create a sense of movement and energy. The spread design and illustration combined with the layout of flowing text following the movement of the wind really helped to enhance the dynamic of these pages.
Lilly Mae style // Creating Lilly Mae’s outfits and sense of style, were a big part of developing her character and helping to tell the story. I love her her funky stripy leggings, cool hats and snowboarding gear!
'Fifi (6) and Ned (3) really loved this story and found it quite inspirational. They loved the illustrations, especially Lilly Mae’s dress sense. Its definitely resulted in quite a lot of dramatic and active role playing this Easter break.' Claire from Being a Mummy
This is a delightful book with clever rhymes and lovely illustrations. Definitely recommended.' Jan Shepherd