Thursday 18 June 2009

Getting the Pencil Warmed Up!

I've had a nice chat about the blog with my Editor at Anderson Press. I worried that there might be issues with me showing work in progress, and bits of text from the new book, at this early stage. But great news: she thinks it's a wonderful idea and says I can show you anything I like - hurrah!

Julia's story is called Bear on the Stairs (about being scared to go to bed). I started getting my head into gear by thinking about the main characters, and filling a sketchbook page with research images, drawn from the Internet.

There are 3 bears in the story: a little fierce one, a medium-sized fat one, and a massive one with big teeth. I think some of my first characterisations were a bit too scary:

It is tricky, as they have to be mean and nasty, but not so scary they give the reader nightmares. It will help to make them as funny as possible, and they are evolving, getting funnier each time I draw them. These are my first sketches for medium-sized bear:

As you can see, I have decided to accessorize them, to diffuse matters further. At the moment, the little one wears stripy trousers, the fat one is squeezed into a too-tight t-shirt, and the big one wears a baseball cap (ignore the text - it's because I'm drawing directly onto those layout sheets):

I expect our furry friends will continue to evolve, but I am feeling much better about them now. What do you think?


Buskitten said...

Wow, double and triple wow! These characterisations are thrilling to see in their early stages, and they're all brilliant, of course!
It's great that we're allowed to see them as they progress Lynne!

paula said...

Fun! I like seeing your progress, too. I rather like the bear in the upper right page of the last spread (the one in striped shorts). His snozz is quite different from all the others. but like you're saying, things like having silly clothes on will knock them down a peg or two on the scary meter.

J. E. Morris said...

These are terrific! I especially like the 2 characters in the upper left in your sketchbook. Thanks for sharing.

Brad said...

these are great designs! it is very cool that you are able to share these with us. thanks

Anonymous said...

They look like they are developing nicely, like you say it must be hard drawing a line between scarey/funny and just plain scarey. I've always loved lots of darkness in children's books, but i guess that can be conveyed in the colour palette you use.

Is it a rhyming text? Should be really good when it's done, good themes and great illustrations, another hit fair lady!

Giles xxx

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks all for the encouragment - much appreciated.

No, unusually for Julia, it's not a rhyming text, although there is a certain rhythm to it.

Nina Khashchina aka Apple-Pine said...

Love the teeth! And bellies ;) Looks like you are having a lot of fun - good luck!