Monday, April 15, 2013

They Grow Up So Fast

Time Frame: Several Years Ago
Amount of Book Complete: Maybe 1%

So, like I said in the last post, I had decided to begin the concept process for India and the book by creating a series of illustrations (meant to look like photos).

The good news was that it was working.  By drawing the first several photos, I was beginning to figure out some important elements.  The bad news was that one of the things I figured out was that the original character design for India just wasn't going to work:

This was one of the first versions.  Some of the details that would become permanent were already there: India's big, curly hair, her glasses, her clothes, etc.  But the shape of her glasses, her shoes, and several of the colors changed.  Most importantly, I realized she needed to speak.  As the general outline of the story started to take shape I began to see that India's complexities (her creativity, her sense of humor) would need a voice.  This was the next version:

There were details of this concept that I liked, but ultimately I thought she looked too old.  Maybe it was the handkerchief tying her hair back or the clam-like, frowning mouth, but this version didn't feel right, either.  Eventually, I went with a kind of hybrid between the first and second versions:

This one is closer to how India looks today: A more rounded and expressive face, the pink, square-ish glasses, the gray hoodie and purple skirt, etc.  But even this version (which appears on one of the early pages in the book) is a bit off model.  The longer I worked on the book, the more India's character model started to solidify.  It's changed since those first pages:

That means I'll have to double back at some point and fix the early drawings of India.  The changes aren't super dramatic and shouldn't take too long.  It's just one more part of the very steep learning curve this book has been for me.

Have I mentioned this book is also the most fun I've ever had drawing?  It turns out that's pretty important.  The fact that this book has been so much fun means that even the most tedious, technical moments have been a pleasure.  I really can't wait to share it.

Speaking of, it's time to get back to work.


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