Diving into the world of children's illustration

Following on from my previous blog post about using pen and paper within the design process, I thought I'd show you a project I'm working on.

A few months ago, Mike Bayliss approached me with a collection of dinosaur poems and asked if I could illustrate them. While illustrating a children's book has always been a dream of mine, it has been quite a challenge. Character creation is a tricky mistress indeed! The subtlest line can be the difference between a flat character and one that is engaging and mischievous. After several failed attempts at drawing various dinosaurs, I became very frustrated.  

One morning, I came into the studio and decided to spend an hour watching videos on YouTube by Disney Animators (such as the one below), which showed the tricks you could use to create expressions, personalities and movement within drawing. The next step, was to spend a few hours drawing out various dinosaurs, experimenting with emotion, defining features and positioning.

Eureka! Finally a breakthrough. The more i sketched, the more the characters started to emerge. Some looked cute, some looked embarrassed, and some just looked like they were up to no good. Slowly but surely, these dinosaur poems began to come to life with tangible illustrations alongside. 

 Below are a few sneak peeks of the characters, and my method in creating them. I can't wait to continue exploring this new world of dinosaurs... but if you want to see more, you'll have to wait for the book! 

(All poems by Mike Bayliss)