These illustrations are by Dapo Adeola for the picture book Look Up!, about a science-mad little girl called Rocket. The book was co-created with the actor and author, Nathan Bryon.
Rocket knows that one day she is going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher and space-traveller that ever lived. Rocket’s heroine is Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. But first Rocket needs to convince her big brother Jamal to stop looking down at his phone and start looking up at the stars.
How did Dapo Adeola develop the character of Rocket?
Creating the characters is Adeola’s favourite part of the illustration process, as he must give the lead character enough personality to hold the reader’s interest. Adeola says, ‘I based Rocket’s energy and mannerisms on one of my nieces. She had to be bold, brave, curious and confident – all in a serious manner, while also being capable of being silly and playful when she’s ready.’
Rocket’s orange jumpsuit was an inspired choice, even copied by her cat! Adeola says, ‘I wanted to choose a colour and outfit that was gender neutral. This was the first one I tried, and it just stuck.’
How did Dapo Adeola create the illustrations?
Adeola used paper, pencil and a light box to work on his rough drafts of the illustrations. He then added the colour on his computer using the scanned draft images. The illustrations we see here are the finished coloured digital versions.
He says, ‘I began by laying out my pencil roughs first, and broke the book up into character-heavy spreads and those that required more in the way of a location. After finalising the book in rough pencil form, I then moved onto the digital clean-up stage.’
Who is Dapo Adeola?
Dapo Adeola is an illustrator and character designer. He was born and brought up in London and is of Nigerian heritage. Look Up! is his first ever picture book. Alongside creating new characters, he works to raise the profile of Black British talent and runs workshops to encourage inner-city children to become illustrators.
- Full title:
- Look Up!
- 2019, London
- Picture book / Original artwork / Illustration / Image
- Nathan Bryon, Dapo Adeola
- Usage terms
- Illustrations © Dapo Adeola 2019. Look Up! is co-created by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.
- Held by
- Private Collection
- Article by:
- Farrah Serroukh, Karen Sands O'Connor
- Home and belonging, Go deeper
The characters that we meet in children's books shape the way that we see ourselves and our community around us. Take a look at the history of Black British representation.
- Article by:
- Home and belonging
Explore a selection of children’s books including Starring Tracy Beaker, So Much, Coming to England, Azzi in Between and Clarice Bean.