STEP 1: Plan
prelims were never saved)
The story I want to create is centered around
the terrible subject of cancer. I don't want to
be morbid in my tale, but I definitely want to
portray the seriousness this disease represents
(hopefully in a non-intimidating manner). This
way children and parents could read this together
and potentially gain some insight from my experiences.
I do not want to teach a lesson, or preach to
anyone. I want to make a heartfelt story that
reflects some of the love my mom and I shared,
as well as, shed light on the ups and downs of
cancer. I know I definitely have a history with
this disease so if any information I share helps
anyone out there, in anyway, I know my mom would
be proud of me. With that said, "How do I
translate these intentions, into a character?"
I decided to just write any words I thought may
relate to this subject onto a piece of paper and
let my stream of consciousness guide me. Sadness,
inspiration, curiosity, innocence and vastness
are a few of the words I came up with. I figured
an innocent young girl with a curiosity towards
the vastness of life, is inspired by an overwhelming
sadness she senses from a secondary character.
I wanted this additional character to represent
security as well, so I went with the obvious choice
of including this young girls' father. It's this
generalized plan that has provided me with a sort
of back-story, which in turn will help me create
the actual story. I use this word association
process to pretty much plan what the entire world
I am creating for this book will look like.
STEP 2: Thumbnails
prelims were never saved)
A drawing can begin with an infinite amount of
approaches. I like to work out my ideas on a Post-It
note. The small size allows you to explore a large
amount of ideas quickly and efficiently. When
you see that you have a hint of direction in your
thought processes you can take these accumulated
scribbles, adhere them to a bigger page (or wall
for that matter) and review your visual thinking
with a fresh eye. This way you allow yourself
a chance to step away (so to speak) and decipher
all the gibberish you have committed to paper.
It gives you the opportunity to weed out potential
directions that may have completely missed the
mark, and expand on the ones that hit it. This
process should be very loose. Explore ideas you
may not typically lean towards. Have fun with
it! UNFORTUNATELY, I did not keep any of my thumbnails
or take a picture of my workspace for this project.
So, to give you an idea of what you're missing...
take some sticky notes, (about 50 or so) a pencil
sharpener, a couple of pencils and a big mess
of a desk and you'll feel like you're sitting
on my lap. For book creation, the entire book
should be nailed out to ensure good story flow
and progression and to see if what you intend
to produce can be achieved.
STEP 3: Rough
Working from the idea board you created for yourself,
extract elements from let's say, thumbnails 1,
2 and maybe even 3 (you decide) and work up a
rough sketch. The size of this rough sketch should
be drawn proportionate to the size you intend
on making the final image.
This is what I came up with after countless attempts
that were scratched because they did not evoke
the feeling I was after. This is where having
a plan or goal was handy. I could have simply
produced an illustration, but when considering
the overall intention of this book, the context
of each image created has to have relevance.
(see fig. 1)
After working my thumbnail to this proportionate
size, I still felt the characters were not expressing
the emotions I was looking for. On another sheet
of paper I drew the characters by themselves.
I felt this may be the best way to find what I
was after, because I felt it necessary to temporarily
eliminate the distraction of the presently busy
(see fig. 2)