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She wants to know if you care to stop for some white rose tea? 🍵 🐉 🌸 . . . #dragon #illustration #tea #digitalart #digitalillustration #digitalpainting #illustrationartists #illustratorsoninstagram #photoshop #characterdesign #characterillustration #lisafrankinspired #pink #pinkdragon #cute #picturebookillustration #childrensbookillustration #art #artistsoninstagram

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Last year I got the chance to illustrate one story for an educational product at work (written by Marjolein Wennekers) and I’m really happy with the result.
The first time portraying a mixed family. We feel it is important children of mixed backgrounds in the Netherlands can also recognize themselves in educational pictures.

It’s a small story of 8 pages, it’s meant for close-reading exercise. I did have a really hard time squashing all of the details into it, because on one page there would be text and there had to be an illustration.
I really had to look very carefully at how to portray the scenes. I think the result is that there’s a lot more dynamic in the drawings than there usually was in my illustrations, so I think I grew during the process.
Thanks for watching and I hope you like it :)

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The dense forest was dark and filled with despair,
You couldn’t see five feet from your face with all the fog in the air.
The dense forest was lifeless, not a creature did stir,
Except for one beast, with sharp teeth and brown fur.
Through the trees a shadow appears, could it be a monster so foul,
With those vicious claws and a threatening growl?
Perhaps it’s a muscular warrior here to fight with the brute,
Or some colourful musician to play it to sleep with a flute? 

Why it’s a young boy, plain as can be.
He shouldn’t be out here alone, should he?
This is a dangerous place for young boys and girls,
For there’s a hairy savage with eyes white as pearls,
Who has made this dense forest it’s home,
With sharp toothed jowls, bubbling with foam.
Run home little boy, you mustn’t be here,
You’ll be eaten alive, that much is clear.

But the boy carried on, on his dangerous quest,
Did he not know of the forest’s pernicious guest?
Had he wandered in here by chance, gotten lost on the way?
Doesn’t he know he’s a grizzly brute’s prey?
Onward he stomped until he reached a large stone tunnel going deep underground,
The entrance to a cave, nestled into an earthy, tree-covered mound.
The boy took a breath, tried his best to look brave
And he trudged on forward into the deep, dark cave.

The boy produced a matchbox from his coat and a match he did light,
And never had the boy seen such a magnificent sight
For the cave was filled to the ceiling with gold,
Bracelets, amulets, jewellery of old.
There were coins stacked up high, sapphires and emeralds galore,
There were priceless artefacts all over the floor.
And Ancient paintings leant against the wall,
Even a Rolex on the hat stand in the hall.

But then the boy turned his head, and next to a pile of stones,
Was a pile of weaponry and a pile of bones.
Fallen heroes who had battled with the ferocious animal in vain,
If only they hadn’t come, and saved themselves the pain.
A sudden stir from the depth of the cave gives the boy a jolt,
But the boy didn’t run, dash of like a bolt,
The boy stayed resolute, despite his fear,
to fight with a beast was why he was here.

A shadow formed from the light of the torch of a monster so foul,
With grizzly, vicious claws and a threatening growl.
From the darkness of the cave the creature did stir,
A beast with jagged, pointed teeth and matted brown fur.
The savage stepped forward in his forest cave home,
To reveal sharp toothed jowls, bubbling with foam
And his bright white eyes shining like pearls,
A beast with a hunger from small boys and girls.

It was a blooming great, battle-scarred bear,
With cuts on his nose and legs raw from snares.
The bear snarled “You’ve come for my gold, have you, ruffian?
What makes you think you can handle me - Baldrick Bear the Barbarian?”
The boy trembled and said “I’m not here to steal, please Mr Bear.
I’m here to win some of your gold, fair and square!”
The bear cackled “You think you’re going to win some of my gold?!
Oh, little boy, I’m going to swallow you whole.”

“I’m sorry bear,” Said the boy “You’ll just have to wait.
I challenge you to an arm wrestle to decide my fate.
If I win our fight, I’d like you to give me some money,
If you win, you can eat me whole, diced, or slathered in honey.”
The bear grinned a sharp smile and growled,
“Boy, tell me why I shouldn’t gobble you now.”
“If you’re that hungry bear, by all means eat.
I think you’re just scared that I’ll have you beat.”

The bear roared with laughter, and rolled on the cave floor.
He giggled to himself until his belly was sore.
“Fine” the bear gnashed showing his teeth,
“I’ll play your game you impetuous thief.”
The boy and the bear discussed the rules,
Best two out of three for a handful of jewels.
They both placed their elbows on the stump of a tree,
The boy took a breath, and said “One, two, three!”

The bear’s grip was tight, his palms were rough,
The bear’s fat fingers were covered with brown fluff.
The weight of the bears arm alone was enough
To drag the boy’s arm down to the stump with a puff.
“I win” grinned the bear with hunger in his eyes
“Not yet,” said the boy “I still have two more tries”
“Why not leave now?” Said the bear, to the boy’s surprise
“Do you not care for your life? Boy, be wise.”

“Best two out of three” the boy spoke with courage.
The Bear roared “You can’t beat me boy, you’re rubbish!”
The Boy looked the bear in the eyes and said “I will not admit defeat”
Even though, in his head, he knew he had been beat.
So, when the boy placed his elbow down, he quickly thought up a plan.
The bear clasped the boy’s hand and the wrestle began.
With both their elbows on the stump of a tree,
The boy, with resolve, counted “One, Two, Three.”.

The boy couldn’t handle the strength of the hairy outsider,
The bear had a reputation for being a tough fighter.
So, the boy stared into the corner and his eyes grew wider,
As he pointed with his left hand “Look there, it’s a spider!”.
The bear rose to his feet, his elbow left the tree stump.
He shrieked and yelped himself into an eight foot jump.
The bear’s feet came back to the cave floor with a lump,
“Kill the eight legged beast, give her a thump!”

“I win this round!” The boy said with glee,
“You took off your elbow from the stump of this tree!”
The bear roared with fury and thrashed all about
The bear scratched up the walls and let out a shout
“Oh calm down bear, please,  be well tempered and mild,
Which of the two of us is supposed to be a child?”
The bear snarled, then he sighed, then he grinned
“One more round will decide who will win.”

“But first,” The bear spoke, most softly,
“Can you tell me why you want these gems so awfully?”
The Boy replied “My family are starving, we can’t afford food
Last night we had to eat leaves and sticks stewed.
Everyone knows you’re rich, Mr bear, so I just thought,
If I could beat you at a game, we won’t have to eat naught.”
“I see,” The bear said “that is truly a shame.
Perhaps we shall get on, and finish this game.”

“If you don’t mind,” The boy said fearlessly “I’ve got a family to feed”
“You have.” the bear quietly considered, “You have, indeed.”
The bear, was impressed with the spunk of the lad,
And he felt the boy’s story was rather quite sad.
For the third and final time, the boy and the bear placed their elbows down,
The boy was determined, but the hairy beast frowned,
With their elbows both firmly on the stump of the tree
The boy with vigour said “one, two, three.”

When the boy counted the third, final, three,
The Bear took his elbow off from the stump of the tree
And looked up to the boy with a smile so wee.
The boy couldn’t believe what he’d just seen.
“Looks like you’ve won.” smirked the brown bear,
Placing his paws on his head, he lent back in his chair.
The boy was ecstatic and he leapt into the air,
This had been a frightfully stressful affair.

“I think I’ll give you this.” The bear said, throwing the boy a large precious stone.
“And here’s a few smaller ones, get yourself some good food in your home.”
“Thank you so much, Mr Bear.” Said the boy “You played very well.”
“Not as well as you, boy” the bear smiled “that game was swell.”
The boy shook the bear’s hand and the bear shook they boys’
Then the two heard an horrendously loud trumpet-y noise
The bear said hurriedly “Leave here now boy, we part ways as friends,
If you ever go hungry, come back here and we’ll wrestle again”

But the boy stood still and asked “What was that sound?”
“Run from here boy” the bear said “and stick low to the ground.
You must go now, boy,  if you want to survive.
The hunters are coming, and they’ll take me dead or alive.”
“What about you bear?” said the boy “What will you do?”
The bear looked fiercely and said “I’ll beat them black and blue.
There’s never been a battle I haven’t won.
Except for my battle with you, now get out of here, son.”

The boy launched through the exit and when he’d gotten outside,
The cave was surrounded by an army so incredibly wide,
That the boy no longer felt very brave,
As the bear joined him outside the treasure filled cave. 
“There’s the beast” Shouted a uniformed man
“And he’s got the boy! Kill him where he stands.”
“You won’t do such a thing!” The boy demanded,
“Oh yes we will! Kill the beast.” the chief commanded.

The army drew all their swords and their spears
The aged bear hadn’t faced an opponent like this in all his years.
The infantry moved towards the bear with precision,
The boy looked to the bear and made his decision.
He ran between the armed troops and grizzling bear,
His arms were thrown out wide, and he stood right there.
Between the force of the men and his furry friend,
He shouted aloud, “I will not see this bear’s life come to an end!”

The Chief spoke to the boy “So you’ve not been kidnapped by this fearsome beast?”
“Kidnapped?” The boy replied “I came here so my family could feast.
I beat this bear in an arm wrestle for a little bit of gold.”
The chief called back in disbelief “That’s the biggest lie ever told!”
“It’s true.” Gnashed the bear “It’s not me you should be pointing your swords at.
This boy can beat a bear in single hand combat.”
The Chief shouted “None of that matters bear, we’re killing you for your treasure.
You have enough money to keep our larders stocked for ever and ever.”

“Are you all hungry?” the bear called to the crowd,
“Yes!” The army said “Our cupboards are empty and our tummies are loud!”
“This boy won from me an almighty jewel” Said the bear
“He beat me in an arm wrestle, fair and square.
The diamond he won is priceless, it could feed you all.
You’ll all eat tonight, we need not brawl.”
“I’ll share with you my prize,” Said the boy “If you leave this bear be.
It turns out we’re friends, the bear and me.”

“Very well.” Said the Chief, “let’s get that jewel home so we can all eat.
I’m craving a leg of lamb and, for desert, something sweet.”
“Thank you.” Said the bear to the boy. “You’ve stopped the attack.” 
“It’s quite alright, bear” The boy said “thank you for your kind act.
But I’d better be going, my village needs feeding!”
“That Diamond,” The bear said “won’t be all you’ll be needing,
It won’t feed your entire village forever.
So, just know you can come challenge me to an arm wrestle, whenever.”

Then the bear slid back into his cave in the mound,
And the boy turned to the army and looked all around.
“Goodbye bear!” The army cheered. “Thank you, hairy beast!
Thanks to your kindness now we’ll all feast!”
“You’ve done it lad!” The chief shouted “You are so brave!”
“To be fair,” Said the boy “It was a close shave!”
“Get on my horse, lad!” Hollered the chief “Hold that gem up proud,
Tonight we eat as much as our tummies allow!”

This story is a part of 365 Stories for Sprogs, a big book filled with little stories for youngsters and parents alike! Each of these stories are written in a single day by author Harold Benjamin-Lewis. With a book like that, it could be the only storybook you’ll ever need. Well, for a year at least!

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Ive got my jumping off piece for my new portfolio work. My biggest struggle has been “picking the right story to illustrate” and I tell ya, I just can’t decide. I like being told! But I realized I just have to feel passionate about whatever story I’m illustrating. So I’ve been doing little storybook scenes that come to me until the right fairytale strikes me for my dummy book! 

Here’s my sketch to final 

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Every Sunday me, Mum and Dad visit Nan-Nan. She isn’t just my Nan, she’s my Nan-Nan. My Dad’s Mum’s Mum. My Nanny is called my Nanny but Nan-Nan is double the nan, or something. 

Anyway, we drive down in our old car, every Sunday, to visit Nan-Nan. Turn on the engine, Vrooom, Putt-Putt-Putt.
Pull on the choke, Errrch.
 Release the handbrake, Kerplunk.
 And off we drive to Nan-Nan’s.

Nan-Nan lives in this big building with all these small little houses all smooshed into one and it’s filled with loads of other old people. Pensioners, my Mum tells me to call them, pensioners. She lives in this big building with lots of pensioners and to get to her little house, we have to go in through the doors at the front of the building and walk down this long, dark hallway.
Our footsteps echo in the hallway, Thud Thud Thud.
Eventually, we get to this lift that makes a really loud rickety sound when you open and close the door.
So get there, Dad opens the door, KRRRR,
we get in, dad closes the door, KRRRR.
I push the button. Nan-Nan lived on the 3rd floor, so the number 3 button. Then after I push the button, I look through the glass windows on the rickety elevator door and count the floors go by.
The lift hums into life and whirs as it passes the floors.
And I count, One - The elevator hums, hmmm - Two - Hmmm - Three - Hmmm - Kachunk.
Then Dad Opens the door, KRRRR,
we get out, dad closes the door, KRRRR.
Then we head to the left and I knock on the door with the number Thirty-Seven on it. Knock, Knock, Knock.
Then I ring the bell, just to make sure she heard. Riiiing.
Then knock a couple more times, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock. Riiiing, Knock, knock, Riiiing, Knock, knock, knock.

Dad gets out the key, he has nan-nan’s door key on his keychain. His keychain also has this funny little zebra on it and i just think it’s a very funny keyring to have.
Dad gets the key and turns it in the lock, Crk, then he opens the door, Errrr.
“Didn’t you hear us?” Dad calls.
“No dear, I didn’t.” Nan-Nan sighs.
I amble up to nan-nan, plod, plod plod. Give her a massive hug. After she’ll look at me and croaks
“Haven’t you gotten big.”
“I saw you last Sunday Nan-Nan.” I stomp with indignation.
“You’ve gotten this much bigger.” and she holds up her ancient hands, and shows me a small space between her finger and thumb.
“This much.”
Me, mum and dad spend some time chatting with nan-Nan and watching films on her dusty, black, box-shaped telly. The button on the telly pops when you push it in, pop, then it buzzes while showing the pictures, buzz, buzz. 

Nan-Nan keeps five pence pieces in a little glass cup and when I go round she tells me to fetch her little glass cup with all the five pence pieces in so I amble over to the dresser that she keeps the little glass cup with all the five pence pieces in, plod, plod, plod. I pick up the little glass cup with all the five pence pieces and it jingles, ching, ching, ching. And I amble back to nan-nan, plod, plod, plod. She pours the five pence pieces into her lap, jingle, jingle, jingle. Then we sit and count how many five pence pieces Nan-Nan had saved in her little glass cup. Every five pence piece we count goes back into the little glass cup, clink, clink, clink, clink. Five, click, six, clink, seven, clink. After quite a bit of clinking, all the five pence pieces are back in the little glass cup and nan-nan smiles.
“You can have those Five pence pieces, if you’d like.”

This story is a part of 365 Stories for Sprogs, a big book filled with little stories for youngsters and parents alike! Each of these stories are written in a single day by author Harold Benjamin-Lewis. With a book like that, it could be the only storybook you’ll ever need. Well, for a year at least!

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For Constance

There’s card tricks and disappearing acts,
Aged wizards in their pointed hats,
Broomsticks on which sit black cats,
But there’s a form of magic that’s one of a kind,
That, my dear, is the magic of your mind.

‘My mind?!’ you say - My dear, that’s right.
Who else would create your dreams at night?
Some pixie who, with all her might,
Would blow a dream into your miniature ear?
Your mind makes every one of your dreams, my dear.

I promise, my dear, this tale is no exaggeration,
All boys and girls can, with some determination,
create the most remarkable hallucinations.
All day and Night, if you try hard enough,
Your mind can make some truly magical stuff.

The trick, of course, is imagination.

Let your mind be extraordinary, let it go wild.
You’re not young for long, enjoy being a child.
Remember your mind is far more occult
Than the dulled, bored minds of boring adults.
Your dreams shall be massive, you shall think even bigger,
Let your mind be magical with all of your vigour.
Your imagination could save mankind.
That, my dear, is the magic of your mind.

This story is a part of 365 Stories for Sprogs, a big book filled with little stories for youngsters and parents alike! Each of these stories are written in a single day by author Harold Benjamin-Lewis. With a book like that, it could be the only storybook you’ll ever need. Well, for a year at least!

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Begone 2020!

Welcome 2021!

Hope is the only word that is currently rolling through my mind and can’t think of anything else for for a year to come.

Happy New Year everyone! 🎉

Hope this one will be much nicer to you ❤️

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Before We all dwell into holiday mode, here is something to wish you Happy Holidays! Be kind to yourself, since this year has been hell of a ride! 🎉❤️

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A jolly dinner party between some Winter Solstice chums from all over the world: The Holly King & Oak King twins, a spirit of Yule, Gryla (the Christmas Witch), and Jólakötturinn (the Yule Cat). But if you know anything about Gryla, you might want to pass on that stew she prepared. 😉

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