The series Lavender’s Hens are the illustrations for a two part children’s book that is both a design textbook and a fictional story. In the first part, the Principles and Elements of Design are explained, and in the second part a fictional story about Lavender’s animal dreams and the messages she receives from them are told. With this book I wanted to combine my love of nature and my love of design together.
I painted the illustrations using gouache in a graphic way by making strong shapes then outlining them in black and painting opaque, flat fills of bright colour. Using a triadic colour scheme with the primary colours in most of the illustrations was important to unify the artwork in the series.
The design part of the book was inspired from teaching Design at VISA and studying the textbook Design Basics (Lauer and Pentak, 2005). For the fictional story I was inspired while observing and sketching my hens as they free ranged in my backyard, and inspired by a re-occurring dream where I am swimming with whales, a dream I had always wanted to draw.
Very often when I work, a whole story develops from a few small sketches. The first drawings for the book came to me while practicing “legs up the wall” yoga pose. I sometimes like to write in my journal in that posture. While I was in Viparita Karani I began making small sketches in my notebook of a character hugging a fat bird. That sketch became the illustration of Lavender hugging a bird in her dream. After that I began drawing a stylized bird over and over again which also became a final illustration of all the birds flying together.