wildly interesting projects

Here, I’ve outlined a few of my Wildly Interesting Projects, or W.I.Ps, that I’m working on at the moment. You can see how I go about doing them. My progress, if any. And, all the hair pulling and teeth gnashing too.

You never know you might even get to see a finished piece or two. WARNING – as a Creative, I usually have multiple project on the go at any one time.


Colour Draw: Baby Blu's superhero outfit


Project Name: Baby Blu, Thank You!

Project No.:      #Illust123

Date:                   June 2015



Baby Blu, Thank You! is a picture idea that came to me as I watched my baby daughter Isla play with her favourite toy – a plastic blue elephant we nicknamed Big Blue. I began thinking about how big elephants were, but how small they actually start out. My own little girl was born very small, but from her first few seconds of life let us know that she as not going to be pushed around.

What if a little blue elephant decided she wanted to dress up as a superhero? What if her brothers told her she was silly, she couldn’t be a superhero, she was too small? What if the little blue elephant didn’t listen to her brothers and did heroic things despite being small, did things just the way she liked?

That’s exactly what happened when Baby Blu and her family go off on their annual walking holiday. Through forests and deserts, around lakes and over mountains, Baby Blu’s brothers complain about her slowness, shortness, weakness, but Baby Blu is a superhero and she does what superheroes do best, she helps those in need.

After taking a break from drawing for a while, I’m loving working on this project. The story itself came fully fledged, I know exactly what was going to happen and when, it was just a matter of drawing it out. All of the pencil sketches and text are now done, and I’ve completed a number of full colour pages.

To see samples of sketches verses the finished drawings Click Here



Project Name: The Book of Curses

Project No.:      #Illust121

Date:                 Oct 2012 – Oct 2013


This is part of a collaborative two book project I’m working on right now, with award winning YA fantasy author Conor Kostick. Conor has written two amazing children’s books full of adventure and intrigue, and I am illustrating them. 

The first one, The Book of Wishes, revolves around a greedy boy called Alex, and the terrible book he finds that grants him all of his wishes. The only catch is that the book’s creator, a two-faced god called Janus, has twisted the book’s magic so that it turns people’s wishes into nightmares.

The project started when Conor gave me the text for Curses, and I started sketching. About five sketches in, Conor had a look at what I had done, and liked it. From there, I completed a further fifty or so sketches, and then knuckled down to the real work – inking and finishing. We both decided that black and white images would suit the story best, with a full colour book cover. So, once the black and whites were done, I scribbled a few ideas for the cover. Conor chose the one he felt fitted best with the story (also my favourite of the four I’d drawn), and I finished and coloured it. 

The most difficult illustration for me, was definitely the cover. It took about two weeks for me to come up with a composition I was happy with. I wanted to make sure that is was eye-catching, had plenty of action, and also showed a number of the characters in the story. 

To see samples of sketches verses the finished drawings Click Here


Project Name:       The Book of Wishes

Project No.:             #Illust122

Date:                         Oct 2012 – Mar 2013


The Book of Wishes is the second part of a two book collaborative project with award winning YA fantasy author Conor Kostick.

This story took a bit more research when illustrating it compared to Curses. Again it involves a magic book that grants wishes, but it turns out that actually granting everyone their deepest desires is a lot more dangerous. One brave girl from a small village ends up taking on an evil Prince who has stolen the book, and convinces the Prince’s dragon to help her make things right. 

When doing the sketches for the project, I had to make sure that the landscape looked right – as the story is set sometime in the Middle Ages. Clothing, hair styles, architecture all had to be researched – which was good fun, as I had’nt had the chance to draw for this era before.

I found the thought of illustrating the dragon probably the most daunting part of the project, as she plays such a BIG role in the story, both physically and narratively speaking. After much deliberation, and teeth gnashing, I decided to draw detailed illustrations of the various dragon body parts – eyes, mouth, tail, wings, claws – as opposed to trying to fit one enormous illustration in, every time the dragon was mentioned. Which worked out really well, as I love detail.

Wishes called for another fifty illustrations, most of which have been inked and finished by this stage. Now to the cover…

To see samples of sketches verses the finished drawings Click Here


 All images & text © Julianna O’Callaghan