One character in particular that I had special fun with, was Big Gorilla from An Itch to Scratch by Damian Harvey. He's a little been ugly, but also rather grumpy, and with good reason - he has a terrible time!
Damian has him contorted with itching until the very last page. Not much fun for Gorilla, but excellent fun for me!! I have a mirror on my studio wall, not for gazing at myself while I work, but for posing. It's often easier to look than imagine, so when I need to know how a gorilla would twist himself up to scratch his back, I act it out in front of my mirror. My neighbours must think I'm nuts.
I also have a funny story about An Itch to Scratch that always makes school children snigger. When I sent the first drawing of Big Gorilla to the publisher, Gullane, they were not as enthusiastic as I'd hoped. 'We need an American co-edition,' they said, 'but we can't possibly show that to the Americans.'
The question needed asking: 'Why not?' I said.
'Because,' said my Art Director, 'he's got nipples. Americans don't do nipples.' And apparently it's true: in US picture books, nipples are taboo, even on animals. So the art director went to work in Photoshop and erased Gorilla's nipples. When she emailed him back across, he had two rather odd, bare orbs. It didn't work at all. Interestingly, it actually drew attention to the nipple-factor, like a great, big, neon sign saying 'This is where my nipples should be!!'
If you want to read more about Damian Harvey's exploits, or find out what else he's written, check out his blog and website.