They say the eyes are the window of the soul. And that if your eyes are good, the whole body is good. And if the eyes are bad, the whole body is in darkness.
I believe this also applies when concocting funny, quirky and instantly likeable characters for children. However, for me, it’s been a learning curve to discover that the eyes of a character are in fact, the most important thing for a character, and the natural point of contact for the viewer.
I did not come by this in an instant revelation, sadly. But its been more a slow process of experimentation, practice, and of listening to client feedback, and taking it in without loosing the essence of what makes the character truly yours.
I found after all my process that it’s actually very simple- let your characters interact with each other and with your reader, get something emotive going, and you really can’t go wrong. For me, some of the best illustration I know, is where you can look at a drawing and be almost alarmed by the character looking back at you! I really do love vivid characters whose wit kind of sneaks up on you!
Practically, probably the best way to make that contact with your reader, is to place your character’s pupils slightly off centre.. Not much, but enough. If you’re going for slightly cute, go for the obvious big pupils, and, if you’re going for mega-cute, add some light tints to those big pupils.
Aside from making them cute, It’s also a law of perspective, when somebody looks at a person or subject the eyes will focus on that person/subject, hence the slightly off-centre tip.
I hope this saves you some time…
Bye for now x
I love sketchbooks and have been keeping them for absolutely yonks! They are such a great place for housing all those random, but useful characters. Characters that wait in the wings, to pop up at any moment, without warning, in future projects!
The great thing about sketchbooks is that they can be very rough and ready (well, mine are anyway), there’s no pressure to get things perfect in them. They are simply a great place to really play and work out ideas.
Here’s some recent people, animals, vegetables and minerals that live in my current book… some of them are creeping into my latest projects as we speak.
The website has had a refresh this week. Take a look at the shiny new work on here!
It has been a huge joy to illustrate the Sesame Seade series by Clementine Beauvais (check out her giveaway today!). I don’t think I’ve illustrated a series of books that have so consistently made me laugh out loud when hunched over my drawing board!
The final in the trilogy Scam On The Cam is published today by Hodder. To celebrate I have made available a small selection of editioned prints of art from the series. The editions are limited to 50 and are beautifully printed by Giclee Gallery on Heff paper (which is extremely nice). A snapshot is below, or you can click here to go to my little shop.
The BookBag have written a wonderful review of Scam On The Cam here , and myself and Clementine had our brains picked in an interview with The BookBag and YA Yeah Yeah last week which was smashing. You can read that here, if you do so wish!
Do get hold of these three books, they are an absolute hoot!