• Hannah Balogun

Bev the Bus Driver

Towards the end of last year, I was approached by Peter Burke, a London Bus driver with a passion for story telling, music and much more. He asked if I could help him illustrate a children's book he's been trying to get produce, and after giving me a bit of background on what I do would have to do and what the book is about, i accepted and began getting to work. Just under a year later, we got the book printed and distributed in different stores around London!


It seems like just yesterday I was sketching all the different scenes, and the first stage of process was figuring out what style of illustration we were going to use, because before deciding to come together and work on this book, we had never met. I don't even think he had even seen my illustrations! I was recommended by an old college teacher (who I am so grateful for), and he just trusted in the skills he was sure I had, which made the whole process a lot more enjoyable. I did some research and looked for inspiration within other children book illustrations, however Peter stated he wanted his book to be unique and stand out, so I stopped looking at book illustrations in too much detail to avoid being too influenced by their style, and began experimenting with what I  know.


Within our first meeting , he mentioned how he wanted a hand drawn aesthetic, and of course I smiled and threw around words like "of Course" and "no problem" but in reality I was use to vector illustration in Adobe, but I was up for the challenge. Moving on, to decide on a style I did a lot of sketches and experimented with different pens for an outline,  I ended up going with a thick black outline as I felt like the variations of stroke sizes gave the thick outlines a more interesting aesthetic. I also get called an illustrator a lot, but I wouldn't really call myself that as there is only so far I can, and will go when it comes to illustration. However I went for this simplistic style because it wasn't too far out of my comfort zone, and was clear for the younger audience.


We then moved onto color and we decided that hints of color would be a lot more interesting rather than coloring the whole thing or leaving it black and white. I decided to explore red and blue to match the TFL Bus vibes, along with yellow to highlight important things like Bev's Hi-Vis jacket, and brown to tone down the primary colors a little in some areas. In addition, I was also the one to design the book, and being a Graphic Designer in this role was very useful as this meant I already had access to the images, and this meant Peter didn't need to go between two people, especially in situations where we needed to add more imagery.


Overall, it was a great project, and there's definitely more to come from Bev the Bus Driver! Below are some quick, scanned spreads from the final book, a sneak peak if you will. If you would like to purchase a book, go to https://goodnewsleyton.co.uk/index.php/bev-the-bus-driver.html




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