This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Step 3: Character development

Now that you have a good solid draft to work from, there are several ways to go. We've chosen to focus on character sketches as the next step in creating your picture book dummy.

Character is at the heart of all good picture books. The child reading or being read to must always be able to identify with the main character: groundhog, starfish, brave little toaster, ditzy housemaid or "real" child, the main character is the focus of the action and of the reader's concern. In other words, it's important to get it right.

Sketch, sketch, sketch, until you know each character thoroughly. Your goal is to be able to place him/her/it in any conceivable situation, expressing any conceivable emotion. (Remember, there will be changes once you've sold your story!)

Cartoonists are masters of character design and development--here are a few books/links with great tips, no matter what your style:

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels, by Scott McCloud

The Art of Animal Character Design, by David Colman

Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures, Volumes i & II, ed. by Don Hahn

The blog of illustrator Aaron Zenz

Character Design: a blog devoted to interviews with character designers

Join us for #kidlitart at 9 pm EST, Thursday, February 10, to share tips and tricks for getting to know your characters visually.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha! How did my name get into the mix with Scott McCloud, David Colman, and Walt Stanchfield! Thanks for the honor :)
    - Aaron