how I illustrated my poem

I’ve got an illustrated limerick to share with you today which I created for yesterday’s #ShapeChallenge and today’s Prose for Thought. Instead of just pasting it in right now though, I thought I’d take you – visually as well as descriptively – through my creative process first. I find it helpful seeing how other people got from A to B when writing or drawing something so hopefully it will be interesting to at least some of you!

Ok, so I started with this:
mugshape This was yesterday’s #ShapeChallenge on Twitter and the idea is, you use the shape as inspiration for an illustration of some kind. Well, this just shouted ‘mug’ at me and I decided to go with that.

Then I remembered it was Prose for Thought today and that it would be nice to have a piece of poetry to share for that. I’ll write a limerick! I thought (no surprise there for regular readers!).

Hmmm… mug… mug of tea… right, what rhymes with tea? Bee, knee, see… three! Ooh, I’ve got three kids… right mother of three, cup of tea, ok I can work with that.

rough copy
This is the sheet of paper I figured out my design on. I wrote the limerick in my head and you can see it scribbled down the bottom. I then tried to work out how I wanted to illustrate it. As you can see, I thought about having the cup of tea centre stage (the red spot in the shape would become a cherry on the bun in that instance), with my face behind or next to it. I also toyed with the idea of just having a hand reaching for the tea with a speech bubble. Then I had a go at a little scene where I could be seen relaxing with my tea with my three boys (creating mayhem) around me.

Ultimately, I decided to go for the last idea (though I decided against having a son swinging from the light fitting! In fact, looking at the sketch now, I appear to have five sons…).

mug of teaThis is what I posted on Twitter for #ShapeChallenge yesterday (the idea is you share what you draw).

This morning I went back and tweaked it a bit – my youngest son (playing with trains) was too big, there was something badly wrong with this arms in the picture and he kind of looked like he was rolling off the coffee table.  I also tried to make my eldest son (doing the handstand) look like he had a slightly less broken neck, and I faffed around with my middle son’s face and arms. That lead to:

mug of tea2small
At this point I thought, I wonder what it would look like in colour? And got out my pencil crayons:

mug of tea colour Oh, um, that looks a bit rubbish. Definitely better in pencil…

But how about if I tried felt tips? (I’ve recently bought some posh Faber-Castell ones which I love using.)

So I grabbed them, outlined the whole picture with fine black marker and then coloured  it in. I also used white pen for a few highlights. Here’s the final picture:


mug of tea colour pens I think I might prefer the pencil version actually, but it was fun to try adding colour and thankfully, because I scanned it in first, I still have the earlier version even though the ‘hard copy’ now has ink on it.

There you have it. I’d love to know your thoughts!

Prose for Thought

19 thoughts on “how I illustrated my poem

  1. Rhyming with Wine

    I loved the shape challenge idea when I read about it previously in your posts. It’s great to see the work in progress this time. Fantastic limerick, and I’m in awe of your illustration talents!

    Dawn x

  2. Sara | mumturnedmom

    I’m a big fan of pencil drawing, that was one of my preferred mediums, but I have to say I really like the felt pen one, it’s very effective. Loved reading about your process and I love the limerick, that makes me smile too!
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…The Prompt 107My Profile

  3. Luisa Giordano

    This is brilliant, love LOVE the creative process detailed in it… Also now wanting to do the shape challenge! Completely identify with the 3 sons activity, I also have 3 boys (and a daughter)!

    1. Maddy Post author

      Oh do join in #ShapeChallenge, honestly it’s such fun (though there’s a different challenge on Thursdays now – a portrait challenge. Hoping to have a go at it later if I find the time!) Thanks for this lovely comment, Luisa. x
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week seventyMy Profile

  4. Niki

    Ah love this. And I truly understand those tea heaven moments – rare but appreciated. I usually love pencil drawings but I really love how the colour pops and adds a sense of family and movements in the felt pen one.
    Niki recently posted…a question of timeMy Profile


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