The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

The Book Behind Wishker’s Whiskers — with Sarah Jennings

Sarah Jennings’ illustrations are full of line and movement — her characters springing into action at each turn of the page. Her latest picture book is with author, Heather Pindar, and Sarah will be bringing Wishker — a cat with very powerful whiskers, to The Bright Emporium for a storytime session on July 16th. I asked Sarah to show us how it all works, in terms of initial ideas for characters and what the artwork looks like, from the beginning sketches, to the final published product… LM

SJ: “I am so excited to bring Wishker to the Bright Emporium for Storytime Sunday. This is my second picture book as illustrator and it couldn’t have been more fun! As a crazy cat lady myself I couldn’t have been more excited to illustrate a story all about a magical wish-granting cat!

Untitled copy

Initial sketches for Mirabel and Wishker.

Cat1 copy

Wishker went through quite a few changes in order to become the cat you recognise in the book – I lightened his colour and changed his characteristics to make him look a little more friendly and eye-catching!

cat3 copy

wishker

Final Character design for Wishker (above)

After the characters were ready to go it was time to get sketching ideas for the cover and book spreads…

roughs copy

cover draft copy final cover copy

Cover idea — to final published edition.

sketchbook copy

It was great fun sketching out different ways to show the chaos that Wishker and Mirabel cause. I also added in tiny details amongst the madness – on a couple of pages there are mice to spot!

fave spreads copy

Here are some of the spreads I loved working on most:

fave spreads 2 copy

colour copy

colour2 copy

rough1 copy rough2 copy

This was one of my favourite pages to colour up and very little changed from the first rough sketch.

meal tme copy

I’ve also been really overwhelmed by all the lovely reviews it has been receiving and the kind words about my illustrations.

‘The illustrations from Sarah Jennings are bright and fun and compliment the story perfectly. Leo really enjoys looking at the pictures of the chaos Mirabel causes in her home after she phones up the zoo and the circus.’  – Naptime Natter

It’s also been so nice seeing young children interacting with the pictures in the book, and even pretending to eat ice-cream off the page!

kid copy

This picture is from a lovely review on Wishker by Beauties and the Bibs ” SJ

With thanks to Sarah for giving a great insight into the workings of picture book illustration! You can read more about Sarah here.

If you’d like to work with Sarah, you get in touch via her agent, Nicky Lander here.

And if you’d like to meet Sarah, you can!
Book your tickets for Storytime Sunday at The Bright Emporium HERE!

Wishker