Julie  Monks





2004 - IMAGES 28

Julie drew a lot as a child due to the influence of a very talented elder sister (who is also an Illustrator). Through the good fortune of an excellent art teacher at school, she later went on to study Illustration at Kingston University where she was surrounded by amazingly talented students and professors. Julie considers herself very lucky to have an interest that will last the whole of her life.

The illustration entered for the competition was from the first children's book she wrote and illustrated for Scholastic. The idea for the book came from childhood memories of snow.

“I will never forget the excitement I felt as a child when there was snow on the ground, it seemed so magical, I remember the quietness and stillness and I wanted to convey this in the illustrations. I used a combination of oil paint and coloured pencil to create the images; overall I tried to create a sensation of softness.”

“The award gave me exposure and a chance to meet other professionals and editors in the field and of course it motivated me to continue to making illustrations having been selected by such a prestigious panel of judges. It is not always easy when you work alone and positive feedback can make a big difference.”


BRIEF: To create a children's picture book for Scholastic, illustrating my own text.

MATERIALS: Oil paint and pencil crayon on hot pressed paper. I used oil paint because of it's translucent quality, it is possible to build subtle layers of colour it allows you to create texture and marks due to it's slow drying properties, the pencil crayons were use for creating small details.

RESEARCH: I started collecting images of snow before beginning the illustrations I also spent time looking at painting, particularly of the naive painters. I also spent time thinking of key memories from childhood, sounds, places, and emotions experienced when it snowed. Overall I spent time thinking about the world I wanted to create for the characters.

PROCESS: I spent time making some simple charcoal drawings before beginning the final artwork. I worked out my characters, their age, how they looked what did they enjoy doing. After my sketches were approved I spent some time discussing with the designer the overall look of the picture book then began the final artwork.

RESISTANCES: One of the difficulties with using oil paint can be its slow drying properties at times even though I use just fine diluted oil paint and can get frustrating when you are waiting for it to dry!

INSIGHT: Above all I wanted to recreate a child's excitement and joy at their first experiences of snow. I wanted to create wide-open spaces and a sense of freedom and of imagination.

DISTRACTIONS: Cups of tea.

NUMBERS: Number 1, first book, first experiences, first gold award!  

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am still fascinated by the theme of snow and I am working on another snow themed picture book right now! One day I would like to visit a snowy place, but I have to say I am less keen on snow than I was as a child!

Monks Monks