Characters and Style
Sometimes Character sketches are submitted prior to the Storyboard Phase if there is not a clear understanding of the genre or style.
A quick pencil sketch of the characters. This is a brief step that I sometimes like to include before beginning the storyboard phase in order to get on the same page with you about the general look and feel of the illustrations.
Some of you may already have a strong visual idea of the characters or scenes you want drawn, in which case I can draw from a detailed description you provide. In most cases, the process begins after I sketch out a few ideas.
Take a look at the gallery of styles to see what you like or send me some samples from books or illustrators that you like. Also, I can suggest a style that is best suited to your target audience or vision.
- The style of the illustrations is essentially the theme music that accompanies the story. It is the unifying concept and often develops naturally while trying to interpret all the separate elements that make up the story.
Developing the right characters is a crucial part of every story. Details are important in creating a good visual picture of the personality and the role the character plays in the narrative. A good narrative will develop characters so that the audience feels like they know them. You are creating a character from scratch, the more you can tell someone about them, the more credible they will be.
When working with an illustrator, the first step is to create a clear description of the characters. Often, the illustrator has not read the manuscript and does not have the benefit of seeing how an author develops her characters in the narrative. The author needs to write a clear description that creates a snapshot of the characters’ personalities and what they look like. Details that are relevant to the narrative such as exaggerated features or clothing need to be included. Basically, the author is responsible for pointing out anything that is not intuitive in the development of the character. Based on your description the illustrator should be able to get a good idea of how to visually capture the character through the use of expressive features, proportions, and clothing or accessories.
In my own Illustration Process, the character design is the first step and I consider it a great gauge to see if the author and illustrator see eye-to-eye. The amount of effort that goes into creating characters that go along with the author’s vision is directly proportional to how smooth or difficult the collaboration will be, in many cases. It is the author’s responsibility to provide a clear description, and in his or her interest to not micromanage the illustrator’s creative process once they are on the same page about the vision, the style, and the message.