Thursday, 12 July 2012

Illustrating a Children's Picture Book: Reworking my Roughs

I was telling you about having to redraw a couple of the spreads for my latest book. 

The first one is this 'leaving ballet class' illustration (you can see the sketch work which lead to this drawing here):

The publisher's feedback was that there was not enough indication of where Lucy and Sparky were coming from and that it would be clearer if the ballet school was shown in the background: a good point. It's so interesting to get another pair of eyes on what I do! My art director also felt that the dogs in the foreground had too much prominence and the cat was laughing a bit too hysterically.

This is my rework. You can see it in context, with the page of Sparky's ballet efforts on the other side of the spread: 

The difficulties were:
a) trying to leave space for the text -
I couldn't get Lucy and Sparky central or as big as I would have liked, because I felt the rather intimate bit of dialogue between them needed to be alongside the characters, rather than up in the sky, which would be the obvious place.

b) getting round them needing to be walking in the road -
The natural place for the school would be on a road, but because of the angle, all the children would be crossing the road, a bit of a health-and-safety nightmare (yes, you have to think about these things). I decided to suggest it was more like a regular school, with a car parking area out front, which is why I've included a couple of cars (despite the fact that I hate drawing cars!). 

c) no room for Mum -
I wanted to keep Mum holding Sparky's hand: I felt it was important to show that she does love Lucy, despite being too busy to notice that she is now a dog! But she would have blotted out most the background, or everything would have had to be very fiddly and small behind. So I have cropped her off, just showing the hand.

d) no room for the 3 dogs and cat -
Though I loved the humour they added, I had to lose the 3 dogs and the cat: there is no room now at the front and, if I'd put them into the background, things would have been got too fussy. It's hard to let good things go, but sometimes you have to. If you look closely, I have squeezed in another shocked dog.

I'll talk you through the other reworked spread next time.


Anonymous said...

This is great insight into the challenges :) Thanks. said...

Pictures shoulder a good deal of the telling in a picture book and I think it is nice for non illustrating writers (me) to see all the effort that an illustrator puts into their telling.Love your illustrations.

Anonymous said...

Lynne, I'm not sure if you realise just how helpful & inspirational your blog is to aspiring illustrators. Thank you for taking the time to 'share,' it is very much appreciated! I'm currently working on composition & colour & seem to spend most of my time doing one piece over & gives me hope that even most talented & experienced of artists sometimes have to make alterations. Your work is fabulous & so are you!

Lynne the Pencil said...

What a lovely comment - thank you, and good luck with that drawing! x