Illustrating Children's Books Class: The Adventure Begins!

It's the first week of my Make Art That Sells Illustrating Children's Books Class, and I can barely contain myself over here, peeps!

For those of you that don't know about the class, it's a five week long intensive with art agent Lilla Rogers and Art Director Zoe Tucker.  Each week is a different main assignment with loads of little mini assignments and prompts in between, lots of great information and demonstrations and tips and tricks and generally all-around Very Exciting Things all about becoming a children's book illustrator. The goal is to have a lovely little portfolio pitch by the end that we can send out to art directors! 

We've been given three different texts (written by Zoe Tucker) to choose from, and we'l focus on illustrating those texts. Eventually I want to write and illustrate my own books, but this way I can get really focused on the illustration side and dig deep into that.

I'm so excited. And sort of nervous. And I really just can't wait to get back to making art, and you probably just want to see the pictures already, so let's just get to it, shall we?


Week One: Character

The text I chose (called Pet Problems) is about Eleanor, a little girl who very much wants a pet, but lives in a tiny apartment on the 27th floor of an apartment building in the middle of a city. 

This week's focus is all on discovering Eleanor's personality and developing her outfit, mannerism and accessories to fit.

Before I jumped into the assignments, I put together a pinterest style board to help guide me through the whole story and keep it cohesive. Here's a little peek at that:

Pinterest Style Guide for Pet Problems


Now for the assignments and sketches!


Sketchbook prompt: hairstyles

Character Exploration sketches for Eleanor's Mum. The main assignment is to focus on Eleanor this week, but I found myself expanding a bit. The story is very centered around Eleanor, but for me it's a lot about her parents as well, and how they support and encourage her adventurousness, sodrawing Eleanor just naturally evolved into including her parents. Her dad has been harder to pin down--more on him later!

More Character Exploration: Eleanor's Mum

More Character Exploration: Eleanor's Mum

Sketchbook prompt: hats

Spent much of Monday testing out various outfits and accessories for the main character, along with re-reading the text and brainstorming possible ways I can add even more depth to the story with the illustrations. ⠀

Character Exploration sketches for the main character, Eleanor.

We have a new sketchbook prompt each day. This one was glasses.

Back in college when I was studying animation, we did some assignments with clay "flour sacks" and had to animate a non-human, zero-appendage object so it had its own personality, based on a particular adjective we draw out of a hat (mine was "shy"). It was a great exercise, and I thought I'd borrow a bit of that concept here by making these eggs with no eyes as expressive as possible with just their glasses.


More on the class and assignments later! Now I'm off to go draw some more!