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  • Gemma Elaine

Weeks 6-8: Building the character and style

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

So.... Work has started on the book!

Here's how my miro board is looking right now, the deliver column is definitely filling up, and you can see my Gantt chart now has a breakdown for the studio project pieces in it. According to this, I should be working on the thumbnails this coming week. Although I need to get my character designs finalized first.

What have I been up to the last few weeks?

Designing the Character

So this is where I started with my initial sketch idea for the limited colour palette.

I'm not a huge fan of the above image, she's too old looking for my taste so I spent some time playing with some different character design styles to see what the character would look like in full colour towards the end of the book. All of which I quite liked... each of these were illustrated with different rendering methods along with different characters styles, with the view to mix and match the ones I like.

I took the last girl and reverse engineered her to see what she'd look like in a progressively limited colour palette.

From here I needed to explore more with the progression from three colour to full colour, the black lines in the previous illustration were distracting so I went ahead and played with colouring the lines. I also missed the sketchiness of the previous sketches so I tried to bring that back in.

The result came out pretty great, I love the sketchiness that I managed to get back, but the digital "copic marker" I used is a bit muddy looking so the next step is to combine this look with the character designs I like best and a different colouring tool - probably a more cell-shaded colour look.

Trying the new style combo

From here I took the aspects I likes from my previous experiment and tried it out with one of the girls I liked.

She is potentially a little too darkly shaded in the limited colour version but I quite like it.

You can watch me draw it below

New storybook draft

I've also been reading a wonderful book on writing picture books by Ann Whittfor Paul called "Writing Picture Books" and I'm finding it incredibly useful.

Under the guidance of this book, I've tried writing my book in future tense and I'm loving the results. I also think that my book needs to introduce a little more conflict at the beginning for my main character (Maison) to overcome, currently, she has little in the way of imperfections or an obstacle to overcome.

After I came up with a draft I liked I started working on my thumbnails...

I was partway through drawing these when I had a meeting with my supervisor and she pointed out that there was no reference to the paints that come with the kit in the book. After much discussion, we decided that it was important that the book encourage the reader to use the paints that come with the kit.

So with some rewriting, I'm introducing some prompts for the reader, and at this stage, I'm introducing them as speech bubbles.

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