Guest Post: Putting Together an Illustration

Guest Post: Putting Together an Illustration

The paperback edition of Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe by Wallace Edwards is on shelves now. The following post is written by Wallace Edwards.

The idea for Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe came to me while I was sketching an old shoe of all things. It occurred to me that it might be interesting to depict the shoe in a variety of possible alternate uses–as a boat or car or plane. I then thought why not have the shoe traveling through various environments and interacting with peculiar characters. These situations would build on each other until they would be revealed as what they really are–the thoughts of a daydreamer. As I thought through the storyline, it made sense to have the shoe end where it began to tie together the surreal images. The concept opened the floodgates for colorful fantasy imagery as well as silly wordplay.

I also had the good fortune to work with a truly great art director and designer, Teresa Bubela. Her help and patience made working on this book a truly fun and painless experience. That said, here are the stages for one of the illustrations in Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe.

I first came up with a rough sketch to suggest the basic layout.
After discussing the rough with the art director, I created a fairly finished pencil sketch on Arches watercolor paper.












I began painting some of the elements to get a feel for the colors.
Once things start to shape up, I showed my progress to the art director. In this case, it was decided that the cat was a little formal in a green suit.














I gave the cat a softer look in red striped pajamas. This echoed the red stripes on the tulip and draws the eye along the path of action in the painting.
More stripes added with the robot and the background fleshed out.














An extra strip of paper and some more elements to fill out the left side of the illustration are added. I realized too late into the process that I had mis-measured the page size at the start but thanks to Teresa’s suggestion of adding an extra strip to be digitally blended, the painting (and my sanity) was saved.
The final illustration.













I had a wonderful time working on Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe. Thank you, Teresa, and thank you, Orca!

The paperback edition of Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe is available now!

Wallace EdwardsWallace Edwards is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and an award-winning author and illustrator. His paintings and illustrations are found in public and private collections, books and magazines and on public display in Canada and the United States. Wallace has been the guest speaker at many conferences, literary events, schools and libraries. He finds visiting with students from kindergarten to grade six especially enjoyable, where his presentations consist of reading, discussions and drawing. For more information, visit






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