Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Drawing a Picture Book: Tricky Bears...


Going back to start work on spread 3 (where we get to meet the fat koala for the first time) I've hit a new problem...

Julia's text goes: 'In the middle there's a fat one with big, biffy paws. Mummy says there isn't.' so I was busy sketching the child and koala together on the stairs, much like this following page (only still half way up, where koala lives).



Then suddenly it struck me - how did the child get past the little bear we have just seen on the previous page, commandeering the bottom step?


And I realised it wasn't just a problem for spread 3 - how did he get past the koala to be in the following image (the one at the top) meeting Big Bear? Uh-oh. We discover how he bribes the bears later, but don't know that yet.

I had a thought: perhaps the child could be peering through the banisters, so he hasn't had to pass little bear at all:



But now it makes even less sense that he would suddenly find himself at the top of the stairs for spread 4!

I could leave the child out of spread 4 altogether, but the bear won't easily fill the space, unless perhaps I lay him down. Another possibility is to include the child as a little vignette within the spread, telling the reader about the bears without actually being there: sort of 'reportage':

If I do this for the big bear page, I think I'll have to do it for koala too, otherwise it would be too weird, but there's plenty of space under the text...


What do you think? I rather like the vignettes, but will show Anderson Press both ideas, and let them decide which works best.

8 comments:

cassia said...

I'm never sure how much artistic license to take with these problems- especially those times when the non-realist version looks better compositionally. However, I like both your sets.

As an aside, if you do go for vignette, could you have the cat in both vignettes? Looking shocked, paws over eyes typed thing, and then his rear end vannishes as he runs away in the second vignette?

Lynne Chapman said...

I like the idea of him running away in the second one - less repetitious and more funny. Thank you!

Claud said...

I think the 'reportage' idea works really well, but if you are going to distance the child from the bears by placing him in a vingnette, why not pull the bears as well out of the comfort zone of the stairs and do something completely different. So much of the story is set on and around the staircase that it would be nice to step away from there for a few spreads. My first thought was of the bears all lined up in some sort of police line up, as in 'the usual suspects'. The boy would be distanced from the bears by either the vignette device or the two way mirror and he could then take the time to describe the various bear's paws, teeth etc.
It would be a nice way of hinting at the bear's criminality without having to face the problems you have previously had whereby the bears have to be a bit mean, and the best way to show this is by them making direct threats towards the child, but at the same time not presenting a book which is too scary for the kids.

Lynne Chapman said...

I like the idea of the police line-up Claud. It could look really funny.

Unfortunately I have to stick to the text, which means we have to meet them one at a time. Also, as this is the first time we see them and the stairs, I think it would be a bit confusing for a very small child if they were described as being on the stairs, but shown elsewhere.

Joanna Dover said...

I like the child looking through the banisters! How about for spread 4 if the boy was looking from the hallway up (in the air) - and the bear was looking over the landing/banisters at him (outside the bedroom door)
That way the boy could observe all the bears from below (and know he'll have trouble getting to bed) but won't have the problem of how he got past them all?
The boy could even be standing on a chair in the hall or something if you wanted him to be closer to the bear, or you could have a good perspective shot up from the boy to the bear?!

Lynne Chapman said...

Nice idea Joanna, but I'm not sure I could draw it in the spread format: it's almost impossible to do vertical images and retain any dynamism, as everything gets so small trying to fit them in!

I could perhaps get the bear down low enough, looking out from the landing floor, but then we'd lose sight of the bedroom door and he'd lose all impact too. The first time we meet him, I think we need to see him pretty clearly.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

I don't know why but I don't like the circle with the boy inside... I think is you can't do Joanna's suggestion... then do the bear at the top without the boy at all (like the bear sitting on the bottom stair).. and maybe do as much perspective of looking from below as you can... maybe even include just the top of the middle bear's head, to give the idea the boy is looking over that bear to the bear at the top.

Joanna Dover said...

What about the perspective the other way??
From the top of the landing so the bear is huge and scary, and the boy looks little and scared down below, looking up at him? hmm - guess you can't see the bedroom door like that, but I suppose the reader would assume it was up there behind him??

Get what you are saying about the size issue though.