Sky Private Eye | Illustrator Preview

My most enduring memories of beaches as a child are the colourful shells and pebbles I would find, so I wanted this to feature in the beach scenes.

Children’s book illustrator Loretta Schauer gives a little taster of the visual creation behind the soon-to-launch Sky Private Eye picture book series she works on with Five Quills.

Scenes from Fairytale Beach in Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Missing Grandma

The Sky Private Eye picture book series is coming out in Spring 2017 with Five Quills. What aspects of Sky’s personality show through in your drawings?

Sky is very capable and is ready to jump in and help whenever she can, so I hope she looks like a practical person but also someone who is creative and spontaneous. After all, she manages to make all those yummy cupcakes as well as being an ace detective.

Sky has a contemporary look and uses a number of gadgets, how did you develop this detail?

Sky is really smart so it makes sense that she would use the latest magical Fairytale gadgets to help her solve each case. Technology is increasingly a part of our lives now so I think children can identify with Sky in that way. Although my final artwork is digital, most of the elements are hand-drawn or hand-painted, so I try to contrast this with more digital looking elements like dots and patterns for the gadgets. It can be tricky to blend the two. Of course Sky’s biggest helper is her best friend Snuffle the dog, and he was great fun to draw.

When drawing scenes with lots going on, such as Fairytale Beach, what inspires the scene and when do you know when to stop?

My most enduring memories of beaches as a child are the colourful shells and pebbles I would find, so I wanted this to feature in the beach scenes. We also wanted Fairytale Beach to be familiar but not too much like a traditional British seaside. There are some exotic buildings and palm trees in the background, but the little details, the shells and seaweed, could equally be found on a tropical beach, or a beach closer to home.

Lots of Fairytale Town characters auditioned to be in the beach picture, but only a few made it in to the final artwork.

It was important that the viewer could focus on Wolfie and Grandma so I tried not to make the beach too crowded. I think my favourite incidental character is definitely Arthur the inflatable shark though. He’s so cool and collected; he had to be in there somewhere.

What are you looking forward to drawing more of as the Sky Private Eye series develops?

I’m looking forward to creating the new Fairytale Town characters and giving them interesting backstories and personalities!

Edited by Janey Robinson