Lorna and the kitchen dilemma

Building spread 1 for Dot and the Dragon dilemma

This blog post begins as any great story does, with a hero faced with a huge moral dilemma!

Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but even still a blank page can be quite daunting.

I was given a hilarious and charming manuscript from a local author to create a dummy book. The problem is it was SO hilarious and SO charming I was overwhelmed with ideas.

The warmth of the kitchen was something I needed to get right, it was Princess Dot’s safe space where she could let loose and build skyscraper cakes!

Below is an insight into the process of the first spread. I’ve always loved peeking at people’s rough sketches and process videos, so hopefully you enjoy….


I began with some watercolours of interior and exterior samples. The kitchen in the sketchbook is actually from the cartoon Chowder! I 100% recommend giving this show a watch (although prepare for the theme tune to reside in your brain possibly forever!)

Sketchbook and initial thumb nailing

From the kitchen I began to think how to make the little princess look larger than life and happy in her adult kitchen. There was a great part of the first page of manuscript that said “cakes TEN FOOT TALL” that I thought could be a cool momentum builder.


I began to make a small study using the sketches above. I was still deciding on medium and wanted to play with some gouache procreate brushes at the time. Below is the product of this experimentation, swipe left and right to see notes that I reflected on after finishing the spread.

Pull arrows left and right for initial resolved sketch and reflections

The overall tone of the spread was very girly and the princess seemed almost trapped. This was during the lockdown so it could be that those emotions were seeping through.



I began to draw my kitchen from life, this was a great exercise because I could position myself wherever the heck I wanted and ensure that my mind didn’t get carried away. I actually started adding this step a few years back after I read “Drawing from the right side of the brain” by Betty Edwards. Any time I get worried for a project I find that drawing from life, and ONLY what’s in front of me, lets me get to that nice drawing space. That space where your eyes and hands take over and everything feels quite sunny.

Drawing my kitchen from life followed by the chaos of Princess Dot

Once I had acquired the kitchen sketch I began to play with princess Dot. Where would she be in this little kitchen? Fun fact, there was actually about 20 more Dots, in sinks, on fridges, the lot! But I thought that might be a little overwhelming.


The final wrestle with the spread was done digitally so you can check out my process video below! I was designing the characters while playing around with this layout so get ready for a whole lot of shape shifting.

And voila! Little Dot and her huge cake! To see more spreads from Dot and the dragon dilemma you can click here to check the project out.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed!