Have you ever wondered how illustrated characters are created?
Welcome to the world of illustration and publishing.
Jim Lindquist (aka Jim Jackalope), the illustrator for my new children’s book, was kind enough to share a little behind the scenes sketch work from our conception phases of Amelia Gold.
From concept to character.
When I approached him about illustrating, I told him I wanted an adorable baby elephant with big cheeks like my baby girl.
He grabbed his iPad and got started.
We thought it might be cute to have giant ears that dwarfed her body.
Looking at the picture though, it was too reminiscent of Disney’s Dumbo. So we changed the ear size and shape, making her an Asian elephant rather than an African one.
I’d pictured a sort of water color look, nothing too intricate, just light and whimsical and pretty. Instead, we found that adding in more detail and bolder coloring, especially in the eyes, gave Amelia soul and life.
Then of course there was the matter of which colors to choose. Blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes? What shade of blue or grey for her body, and pink in the ears? And how yellow should the bow be? Could we make it look gold?
Once we were settled on her look, Jim had to experiment with different expressions, figuring out which features she used to display emotion. He drew inspiration from anime shows that he loves, focusing on the eyes and cheeks, and then played around with using the trunk and mouth.
Building Amelia’s world.
We decided to keep backgrounds simple, but colorful, in order to engage young readers without overwhelming or distracting them. The paintbrush tool he used created an effect that I’d never seen before, but really seemed to fit the book.
When it came to including Amelia’s parents, we took it as the opportunity to dwarf her character, and show that she is in fact just a baby. Rather than including full illustrations of the parents, we maintained Amelia’s size on the page, and brought in limbs (feet and a trunk) to represent the characters.
Solving a puzzle from the pieces.
All of the illustrations came together to accompany the story, then we had to develop our layout style, deciding how things should appear in the book. There are so many possible variations for page design and text layout.
One thing that helped was getting feedback from all of you on social media!
The votes we received for different covers heavily informed our decisions for the final book design. It was so fun to get you all involved!
We did it!
The finished product is, in my humble opinion, absolutely adorable! It came such a long way from my initial imaginings, but perfectly represents the character Amelia Gold.
Get the ebook here!
Amelia Gold and the Very Hard Marshmallow ebook
Join Amelia Gold as she discovers her first tooth!
Signed Hardback Available Only til May 24th 2019!
Amelia Gold and the Very Hard Marshmallow (Signed Hardcover)
Join Amelia Gold as she discovers her first tooth, in this special signed edition hardcover!