Last spring I painted a series of “baby animal portraits” to decorate my granddaughter’s nursery. Now they are going to be made into a children’s book. I was so excited when a publisher agreed to make a book out of them because I enjoyed the process of painting the animals so much. I worked from real photos to make them accurate, but I added my own touch of character to them. We are calling the book, “Hello Baby Animals”.
The book is scheduled for a spring 2018 release date, which seemed so far away at first. (Books take a long time to go through the process it takes to get to the final product). We agreed that “Spring” was the time it should come out due to the nature of the book, and it was too late to do it for spring 2017. Now finally the dummy has been approved and I am ready to start on the finished artwork. I am very excited!
The animal paintings that I originally presented to the publishers were portraits. But we decided we wanted the book to be about a bit more than that. The idea came up of presenting a “peek” at certain parts of the baby animals first. The child would guess what animal it was after looking at the body parts. Then the baby animal portrait would appear on the following page. The book would be baby’s first introduction to animals.
Here is how the “pencil dummy” looked that was presented to the publishers to be approved before going on to the finished art. A dummy is done to give a general layout of what the book will look like. This is where changes can easily be made. The typed pages are the notes the editors made for each page.
The editor’s comments on the dummy were very positive, but the one thing they wanted was for some of the animals to show a hint more of their personalities. Some had more personality than others in the originals. Normally this is my “specialty” – making animals come alive with personality. But I was very reserved about that in these original watercolors. As I was doing the original paintings I thought of them as being somewhat realistic animal portraits for Lyla’s nursery. Although for fun, I did add clothing to them, which added a touch of whimsy and individuality to them.
Now I am going to redo some of the animals that had a more blank look to give them just a “hint” of personality. This will be a bit of a challenge because I don’t want to make them comical or cartoony in any way. I just want a look in their eyes or their body language that will give a little indication of their personality.
Here is the first tiger that they loved, but thought needed more personality.
Below is my revised tiger with a hint of mischief.
I made it a boy this time because the sequence we put the animals in now called for a boy here. (I want it to be evenly split between male & female animals) I tried to give him a bit of a “coy” look, as if he were about to pounce!
With this baby giraffe they wanted it to look a little younger. Here is the original.
Here is the revised giraffe as I tried to make it look a little “younger”. (Once again I changed the sex due to the sequence, it was needed)
Here is the process. I find the best photos on my computer of a particular animal and I refer to them as I work.
Soon I will begin to add the animal parts in a fun and lively way. I will update this post as I go…