Character Sketches

The first thing I worked on was figuring out what the main character in the book was going to look like.The main character was a moose, so I started by finding photos of moose to base my preliminary sketches on.
Here on the left are some of the sketches I did. As you can see, they were pretty rough. I was just trying to get the basic shapes down. One of the things I wanted  to figure out was the distinctive characteristics of a moose. Basically, what makes a moose look like a moose and not a cow or horse?

Next, I began to draw sketches of what the specific moose in the story was going to
look like (right). I did not try to make the character look exactly like a real moose. I slightly exaggerated his big nose and long legs. (I was not sure what a moose's tail looked like, so I had to look up more photos.)

Once I came up with a character I was happy with, I did several neater drawings of him. I drew
him in several positions (left). If I had been illustrating a real book I would have scanned these drawings and sent them to the author to see what she thought of them.

If the author liked the character than I would have used this sheet of drawings for a reference as I drew the illustrations. I would not draw the moose character exactly like a real moose, but with any changes or exaggerations I had made in these drawings.

1- Introduction      2- Character Sketches      3- Planning the Illustration      4- Adding Color