When having a look through the book, “Understanding Illustration” by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies, I was inspired by the work of Sara Fenelli. I love how she uses her ideas to question the minds of the young reader by using a combination of illustrations and text. “I really like the challenge of rethinking the whole process of the book.” – by Sara Fanelli.

Although I didn’t follow her example of asking questions along the way and letting the reader explore the story through questioning, I did try to add some questions/ phrases at the beginning of the book, for example: ‘Do you dream in colour?”; “The sky is every colour but blue”; “What’s your favourite colour?”

I love her style of illustrating displayed in the book, so I had a look on Pinterest at more of her illustrations. I love the way she ‘randomly’ combines different things using layers/ collage, for example: lined paper; vintage stamps/ labels; vintage photographs; photographs of different textures; doodles/ sketches; paint; etc. I love the way she uses a combination of illustrations and different styles of text to create an interesting effect. I find her work quite charming and I think it displays a unique sense of humour. I especially loved the way she uses ‘cut-out’ eyes from photographs to add ‘eyes’ to her illustration characters.

As inspired by her work, I decided to incorporate graph paper; neon larger lined post- it notes; and cut-out ‘eyes’; as well as photographs, combining everything in my illustrations for this assignment.

Pinterest Link to Examples of the work by Sara Fenelli:



I looked through all my doodles/ illustrations created since the beginning of this course. I looked at several different possibilities of characters to work with. I narrowed it down to the following: penguins; school children; dinosaurs; aliens and fairies.

I also had a brainstorming session about possible settings and narrowed it down to the following: under the sea; classroom/ school; space/moon/rocket; in the garden.

I first started working on a penguin character in a school setting, (PLEASE FOLLOW LINK TO SEE ALL THE WORK I DID IN PREPARATION FOR THE PENGUIN STORY) but then got more inspired by the fairy character flying on a dragon, which I created for ‘Inktober’. I decided to focus on developing a story around the fairies in the garden.

I was inspired by the following illustrations I created for ‘Inktober’:


I decided to ‘brainstorm’ different ideas in order to develop the characters for my story:




The fairies are introduced where they live ‘at the bottom of Mama’s garden’ and where they usually paint the flowers ready for every Spring Time.


The Wicked Wacky Wasp is introduced. He creates a problem by stopping the fairies from painting the flowers ready for Spring Time.

3. QUEST –

The fairies send a letter via ‘birdie- airmail’ to Super Sally and Dolly Dragon to ask them for help.



Super Sally is surprised to get a letter and shocked to read about the Wicked Wacky Wasp.


Super Sally decides that they will go and help the Petal Painting Fairies. She makes a checklist with possible ways to stop the Wicked Wacky Wasp.


Super Sally & Dolly Dragon vs. The Wicked Wacky Wasp!! They meet and Super Sally starts trying to get the Wasp, using her 3 plans: fire; fly swat; vacuum cleaner



The Wicked Wacky Wasp ends up inside the vacuum cleaner on ‘Time- Out”.

Super Sally & Dolly Dragon are the hero’s:)


The fairies have a party to celebrate and then return to normal life.



When looking at, “Cross-media and cultural cut-ups” in the book, “Thinking Visually for Illustrators”, I was inspired by the assemblage pieces by Phizzychick on page 58 & 59.

When I was in Scotland during my Half-term holiday from school/work, I went to Hobbycraft (my favourite shop) and stocked up on stationary and arts-and crafts material which I can’t usually find in the shops in here. I found these wooden dolls and thought it would be fun to use them to create 3-D characters for my illustrations. Once back from my Holiday, and after deciding on a character for my story, I decided to use these wooden dolls to create my fairies. I ‘painted’ them using Liquitex acrylic markers and Posca paint markers. I gave them several coats to get a smoother effect. I did not add facial features to the wooden dolls, as I thought it would be easier to change the facial expressions for different scenes, using Procreate.

For the wings, I decided to try out different colour-combinations via mark-making. I used folded card and blobbed different colours on the one side of the card, then closed the card and ‘smoothed’ it over, when opening the card, it created a ‘symmetrical’ butterfly wing effect. I tried out a lot of different colour combinations and different ‘blob’ shapes. After these were dry, I chose the ones I liked the most and arranged them to match different wooden dolls. After matching the wings with the wooden dolls, I took pictures of the wings and printed out 2 copies of each. I glued and stuck 2 together to create a double-sided wing effect. I attached the wings to the wooden dolls using a glue gun.

I then took pictures of the different wooden doll fairies from different angles, arranging them into different positions as possibly needed for the illustrations’ scenes. The use of 3-D dolls worked out really well, as I was able to manipulate the wings, creating a more natural effect.

I looked for vintage black- and white photographs of women, and ‘cropped out’ their eyes to add to my different fairy characters, in Procreate. I added the facial features/ expressions on digitally in Procreate according to each scene, in order to match the necessary emotional response for different scenarios.



I loved the dragon character which I created for ‘Inktober’ and decided to use him in his original shape for this story.

I first tried out using green bubblewrap print and yellow check patterns (created for a previous assignment) to add colour to my dragon.

Although it looked cute, it just didn’t ‘look right’ to me and I decided to try out something else. I like the idea of the fairies ‘blending’ in with the flowers and thought it would be cool if the dragon also ‘blended in’. I tried out using the ‘leaf’- background to add colour to the dragon.


I loved the effect and decided to stick to it. I used the purple doodle background to add colour to my dragon’s spikes .


For the dragon’s flames, I decided to try out using ‘bubble printing’ with a bright orange acrylic paint, dishwashing liquid and water solution. I used the straw to blow bubbles and then ‘printed’ the bubbles onto the white card. After it dried, I took a picture of it and edited it in Procreate to create a fun effect.



When ‘brainstorming’ ideas to create the wasp, I looked back at some of my ‘pareidolia’- photographs I’ve taken for a previous assignment. I considered using the following:


I tried out different combinations of colours and shaped ‘blobs’ to create possible wings for my wasp- character, in the same way I created wings for the fairies.


I created the wasp’s body by manipulating the yellow and black painted symmetrical wings made during mark-making into different shapes. I liked the colours and it worked out pretty well.

I originally worked on using the black wings created with mark-making and removing the spaces in between the wings, to make it look more ‘transparent’. I added an ‘injection’- needle to the bottom of the wasp for the ‘sting’- effect.

I didn’t like the way it looked, as the wings didn’t really look the wings of a wasp. So I decided to try and manipulate it in Procreate in order to change the shape of the wings to look more like that of a wasp. I was happier with the outcome and added legs and antenna using the brush function: ‘industrial – corrugated iron’. I left out the ‘injection’- needle as I wasn’t sure whether it looked ‘right’.

I then added the word, “wacky” in the radio light screen, as well as re-added the ‘injection- needle’ to make the wasp look more ‘scary’ like a ‘baddie’.



I started off by drawing a ‘rough’ layout/ storyboard in my sketchbook. I didn’t focus on the detail, but just tried to work out the storyline and what kind of angles I could work on in Procreate on my iPad.







When developing these illustrations, I used a combination of: photographs; graph paper; neon lined sticky notes; origami; doodles; mark-making; 3-D objects; and pareidolia in different layers in order to create a collage effect using Procreate.

Within Procreate, I followed my Tutor’s advise and tried out using a bigger variety of brush styles/ functions including: Chalk; Monoline; Narinder Pencil; 6B Pencil; Fine Tip; Technical Pen; Studio Pen; Dry Ink; Oil Paint; Soft Brush; Decimals; Grid; Burnt Tree; Flicks; Fine Hair; Corrugated Iron; Water Flicks.

There are several backgrounds which are repeatedly used throughout the story. For example:

The photograph of the sky:

Manipulated into:

The Green Leaves:

Created by ‘cutting out’ and duplicating leaves from the following photographs previously taken in my Mom’s garden, in order to create a collage background of green leaves:

A combination of layers of green leaf background and graph paper:

The garden with green leaves and flowers:

Created using a combination of layers of: blue sky; green leaves; flowers and graph paper.

The flowers were created using a lot of layers of ‘cut-out’ flowers from pictures previously taken in my Mom’s garden & other places; as well as flowers created out of ‘neon post-it sticky note paper’; doodle backgrounds; embroidered flowers; mark-making:

The flower background was first created in colour and then edited into black and white, in order to create both set of backgrounds.

The garden with green leaves and colourful flowers:

The yellow & white check:

The graph paper:


For the front cover, I decided to use the illustration of Super Sally flying on the back of Dolly Dragon on their way to fight the Wicked Wacky Wasp. I edited it into a circle and used bright yellow stripes shining outwards from it. For the title, I tried to create superhero- cartoon-like text and added colour using the green leaf background and the purple doodle patterns. I think the cover is bright, colourful and eye-catching.

As inspired by the work of Sara Fenelli, I decided to add some questions/ statements at the start of the book in order to encourage the reader to ask questions and to think about things differently. I added the fairy characters to the sky photograph in order to create the effect that they’re flying.

I kept the title page simple, by using the same style for the title text, and just adding a thick pink border using the brush – chalk function in Procreate.

For this page, I added this old photograph of my Mom to create the effect that she’s standing in her garden watering the flowers. I used the same ‘garden layer’ with green leaves and black- and white flowers throughout the story’s illustrations, until the flowers are ‘painted’ by the fairies and are shown in colour. I edited the photograph to make it fit in more with the colourful and bright fairy character illustrations. I arranged the fairies around her to create a playful and fun effect. The illustration is in a circle shape to start the story.. looking “into” the book from the outside. I used graph paper as background and added the text at the top using the font: Bradley Hand in Procreate. I continued to use this font throughout the story’s illustrations.

I continued with the circle shape on graph paper, having a ‘glimpse’ of the fairies sending a letter to Super Sally and Dolly Dragon to come and help them against the Wicked Wacky Wasp. I added tiny fairies and the wasp to give a quick overview of the situation. Throughout the story, I added speech bubbles for the characters. I added the photographs of the origami birdies and drew in an envelope digitally. The origami birdies were folded by my fiancé, using neon lined post it paper. I photographed them and included them in my illustrations.

For this page, I photographed the 3-D fairy doll in this position, folding her wings closed. I then added it in Procreate. I used previous mark making bubble print yellow to create the hammock. I used photographs that I took on the Isle of Arran in the Summer, from a ‘fairy garden’. I thought the tree trunks with little doors in, might make it look more whimsical. I added ‘grass’ using the green post it paper.

As the character, Dolly Dragon loves Donuts, I added lots of random donut-related phrases to her speech/ thinking bubbles. Please not how the sign: ‘DO NOT FEED THE DRAGON’, is changed by the end of the story 🙂 Dolly is ‘camouflaged’ against the green leaves which makes it a fun game for the viewer to ‘spot’ her.

I added 2 additional circles to that page in order to show how the letter is received and opened; and how Sally’s facial reactions changes from her excitement over receiving a letter to being shocked when reading the bad news.

The origami birdies feature throughout the story, making it a fun game to ‘spot’ them.

I used a more ‘zoomed in’ angle for these pages, featuring a close-up of the letter from the other fairies. Adding to the dramatic affect of receiving the bad news about the Wicked Wacky Wasp.

For these pages, I thought it would be fun to add a checklist to name the different plans they could use to get rid of the Wicked Wacky Wasp. These plans are listed at the top, while Super Sally and Dolly Dragon is shown, flying over the flowers.. starting off small in the distance..and getting bigger as they fly closer and across the pages.

For the above pages, I thought it would add a dramatic affect to create a more ‘superhero’/ cartoon-like layout. I used cartoon-like-shaped letters and action-bubbles to add to the ‘action’/ excitement. Showing the 2 opposite characters facing each other.

The previous 4 pages shows how the different plans are used to stop the Wacky Wacky Wasp. The first 2 plans fail and the Wicked Wacky Wasp comes across quite ‘strong’/ ‘arrogant’, until he is finally caught using the vacuum cleaner. All of a sudden, he is not confident anymore, but is heard calling for his mummy. In theses ‘scenes’ action words/ bubbles are used to add to the dramatic affect.

After the Wicked Wacky Wasp is caught, he is put on “Time-Out” while the fairies have a group hug. I added the group hug quote using a letter board. I photographed it and added it digitally, along with the paper straws which are altered to create borders and poles. Next to the “time out’ – sign, is a sign saying: “save the bees, Discipline the wasps” hehe. I think that is appropriate.

The fairies are excited to finally start painting. The black & white flowers are gradually changing to beautiful, bright and colourful flowers as the fairies paint them.

After completing their jobs of painting the flowers ready for Spring Time, they decide to celebrate and have a party. Dolly Dragon gets a lot of donuts. And her eyes appear with hearts in them 🙂

Super Sally and Dolly Dragon returns to their home. The sign is changes by Dolly Dragon using a pink crayon: “DO FEED THE DRAGON DONUTS”.

Their place is decorated with lots of ‘thank you’ cards/ pictures front the other fairies, as well as… donuts for Dolly Dragon.

Back cover above 🙂 THE END.


I created an alternative plot as I really dislike Wasps. I guess this is not an appropriate ending to teach children to love insects. Hehe. Oh well.. I created this ending.. just for me 🙂



I used the following layout in order to make sure I get the pages in the correct order:



I had a look at “How children respond to picture books” in the Book, “Children’s Picture Books, The art of visual storytelling” by Salisbury M & Styles M. (Pages 80 – 86). It looks at how children experience picture books and how they respond to them.

I love the following quotes: “They love to be amused, but they also want to be challenged.” And, “Picturebooks engage minds as well as hearts, and make cognitive demands on the reader. The most challenging books makes children think in new ways which they often find deeply absorbing.”

I agree with that quotes as the children in my class love it when I use animated voices for the characters while I read a storybook in class, For example: the giant’s voice in “Jack in the Beanstalk“; the monkey’s voice in “Monkey Puzzle” by Julia Donaldson and the girl’s voice and personality in the story, “Pinkalicious” by Victoria Kann &Elizabeth Kann.

Although they love it when I use funny/ scary voices and actions, they also love it when I ask interesting open questions which makes them think about things differently. For example, when reading the storybook, “Handa’s Surpise” by Eileen Browne, we often end up discussing how children in some places in Africa are growing up in a different way than the children in my class. How they walk from village to village, instead of travelling in a car/bus. How they are excited to eat fruit as it tastes sweet, instead of eating candy/ chocolate/ donuts. How some of them walk bare feet, instead of wearing shoes.; etc. I always find it interesting how they react and how they are shocked at how some people don’t have shoes/ cars/ candy. They find it amazing how someone can carry a big basket of fruit on their head… often resulting in children in class wanting to try it, re-creating the scene with a plastic basket and toys. Discussing that picture book, often challenges them to think about things a little bit differently.

I decided to print out an A4 copy of “Super Sally & Dolly Dragon to the rescue” and laminating it, in order to take it to school to read it to the children in my class. I also took the 3-D Super Sally wooden doll along to school.

The children in my class, are between 4.6 and 5.6 years old. Although the children responded to the picture book verbally as well, a lot of them don’t have the necessary level of spoken English in order to express themselves effectively or to respond to them in detail (Most of the children are English second language speakers).

Some of the reactions during & after I read them the story:


“We have a vacuum cleaner in the house. It doesn’t look like that?”

“I’m a bit scared of the Wicked Wacky Wasp. I don’t like his voice.”

“The Wicked Wasp has to stay on time-out forever”

“I also love donuts”

“I ‘eat’ donuts yesterday.”

“I love Dolly Dragon. She’s funny.”

“I want to be Super Sally!”

“Do fairies really paint the flowers?”

“I want to be a fairy”

“I like the fairies. They’re cute.”

“Miss, I like this story”

“What is Spring Time?”

“Do flowers sleep?”

(I showed them a ‘fast-forwarded’ video on YouTube of how the flowers’ petals are closed at night and open during the day. They were amazed. They couldn’t believe it, as they’ve never seen anything like that before.)

When I told them it’s my Mum in the picture in the book, they responded with:

“You have a mum?” (lol.)

“Where does she live? “ (In South Africa)

“I want to go see the fairies in Africa” (She thought you can only find fairies in South Africa)

Where we live in the Middle East, we don’t really experience all 4 seasons in the same way you I do in South Africa. In South Africa, all 4 seasons are visible throughout the year with the typical changes in weather for each season. (Although we get a lot of sunny weather even in the Winter). Spring Time is so beautiful in South Africa, with lots of wild flowers popping up everywhere on the coastline. It’s stunning. My birthday is on September 1st and I was called a “Lente Baba”, meaning “Spring time baby”. When I was younger, our school always had a Spring Time Festival to celebrate the change of the seasons and all the flowers popping up along the coastline. It was such a fun time of year, with the Southern Right Whales returning to our shores.

The children growing up where I live in the Middle East don’t really understand the concept of Spring Time, as most of them don’t have gardens and don’t really see many flowers or even trees around. The weather here seems to change from Summer to Winter; skipping the general signs of Autumn or Spring. I guess this story introduced them to a season which they don’t really experience themselves. We continued to talk about the 4 seasons and how the weather changes.


They loved listening to the story and looking at the illustrations in the picture book. The drew pictures about the story characters afterwards. I love childrens’ drawings. They are so creative. Some of their drawn characters are a lot cuter and funnier than mine. So adorable.


I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment. I must say that it took me a lot of hours to create this story and illustrations. Although I love illustrating, story writing is not my strong point. It was a fun experience to put together a sequence of illustrations in the form of a story. It was a learning journey altering different parts of characters until I was happy with the end result. Although I have a lot to learn, I am happy with the way the illustrations came out. They are so colourful and bright, and looking at the colourful flowers, makes me happy. I love how the characters blend in with the flowers.. like real fairies..

I am slowly learning to use Procreate more effectively. I have tried to experiment with different brush strokes in Procreate in order to create a more textured and interesting effect. I think the exercises also encouraged me to use more text in my illustrations, not just using speech bubbles, but also with the ‘ signboards’/ letter board; letter; clipboard/ checklist; ‘thank you’ cards; etc.

All the exercises in this part of the course inspired and guided me towards ideas for the final assignment. Although I didn’t have time to complete both the fairy and penguin stories, I think the penguin story would have been quite fun to illustrate as well. If only I had more time.


After reading the feedback from my Tutor, I tried to edit the story illustrations by changing the sky background to a more solid blue. I removed the yellow check flooring for the dance floor. I ‘trimmed’ the trees and flowers backgrounds in order to make the fairies more visible. I replaced the blue ‘quote’ board with a black felt board. By making these changes, I tried to simplify the colours & patterns used, in order to make it look slightly less ‘busy’ and to make characters more easily visible on each page.


NAME: Juanita du Toit


COURSE: Illustration 1: Illustration Sketchbooks

The Open College of the Arts (University for the Creative Arts)

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