Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Bat King

I'm very happy to introduce you to the Bat King (and fellow bats) who Zaddison will meet when she explores the attic.

That means there's just one more character left to design for 'Zaddison & the Mysterious Dark' and then I can really get started on illustrating the story :D

Monday, September 13, 2010

A cousin for Zaddison

I made this cute little fellow when I was drawing one day and I think I might put him in a story as Zaddison's cousin that she hangs out with sometimes.

Maybe they'll do science experiments and make things fizzle and explode.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brainstorming Eek

These are a few of the sketches I did when I was trying to figure out what I wanted the monster under Zaddison's bed to look like.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Introducing Eek

Meet Eek, the little monster Zaddison will find under her bed.

I think the next book after I finish Zaddison & the Mysterious Dark will be about Zads and Eek exploring the backyard and having adventures with their imaginations.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mini Zads comic strip

I thought it would be fun to put a little sequence like this at the beginning of the book before the title page just to show Zaddison looking around and being curious about the dark one night before she goes to bed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Zaddison Design

After trying to watercolor Zaddison, I felt like she looks too elf/sprite-esque so I played around and came up with this more monstery-ish version of Zaddison.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Studying John Tenniel

Looking at all the children's books I loved growing up was a kick in the crotch that I need a lot of practice before I can illustrate a book that kids would enjoy.

So I went to the library and picked up some books to study their artwork and learn how to draw better.

These sketches were done after studying John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. I looked specifically at the way he proportions Alice's face and practiced drawing my character several times and while trying to keep her looking consistent.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sketches of an Opera Singer

These are some of my first sketches of what the opera singer might look like. I don't have a lot of expertise in drawing people so I'll be doing some more studying character designs and experimenting with shapes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Octopus & The Opera Singer

Last year me and Jon were talking about how much fun it would be to do side stories about some of the NPW characters and turn them into children's books. On the way to work the next morning I was thinking about what kind of adventures Dark Beard could have had when he was growing up when I thought of the story for The Octopus & The Opera Singer.

It's part mystery, part love story and won't involve pirates, but I think it will be a lot of fun to draw since octupi are far and away one of the coolest animals of all time (can they be called animals since the live underwater? Aquatic creatures perhaps?).

This is quick ink sketch I did of the moment before the opera singer sees the octopus for the first time. If I drew it over again, I'd have him looming over her a bit more and extend the bottom tentacle so that it curled closer to the cliff.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Zads in Watercolor

This weekend I busted out my watercolors, probably for the first time since middle school when I'd paint pictures with my little brother.

It was fun but not terribly successful. I think the colors I mixed make Zaddison look more like some kind of water sprite or woodland fairy which is pretty much the opposite of the little monster I'm going for. Still, it's a start. And once I eliminate all the shades I don't want then the ones that do look good are bound to show up sometime.

I have to say my respect for Jon is growing two sizes too big. The more I work on my stuff, the more I realize how great of an artist he is and how much talent he has to make NPW look so great.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monster Masquerade

I was wondering how the monsters would have gotten under the stairs in the first place and I thought--Hey! maybe they got lost on their way to a masquerade.

So here they are with some little masks, the owl one is my favorite.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Zaddison & the Mysterious Dark

I think I'm going to make a slight plot change. Instead of the story being about helping her mom clean, it will be more about Zads exploring different dark places around her house and finding out that there isn't anything to be scared of in the dark.

The first place will still be under the stairs and I think the second place will be the attic and then under her bed in her room.

In each place she'll find different creatures who have different reasons for why they're there in the dark.

This is my first go at what the page will look like when she's about to explore under the stairs. Below my picture are the pictures I used for reference so that I could get the perspective right on the stairs.

I forgot to put Zaddison in before I inked the banister so I drew her real quick with pencil just to get an idea of where she'll go. I'm pretty sure I'll have to draw the page several times before getting it right anyway.

On the wall by the stairs I want to add some old paintings with cool frames. I'll do some sketches of those soon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brainstorming the Stair Monsters

These are some brainstorming sketches of how the monsters under the stairs could look from different angles. I'm not sure how much I like these and his design will probably change.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monsters who live under stairs

In the first book I thought Zads could be helping her mom clean the house and along the way she meets little creatures hiding around the house.

My first idea was for her go sweep under the stairs where she would find a funny, stupid-looking monster with long arms that she could send gallumphing outside.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Proportions of Zads

During a day-long marathon company meeting, I tried to figure out how exactly I would draw the proportions for Zaddison's body and face.

I tried a couple mashups of body/head/leg ratios and figured out the width and length of her body in relation to her head. I realized she looks a lot more child-like if I drop the eyes down lower and a lot cuter if I make them bigger so they can be more expressive.

So far I only have two outfits for her but I think it would be fun for her to wear different clothes for each book instead of always having the same outfit throughout the whole series.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Early Zaddison Sketches

These are the next phase of sketches I did of Zaddison to get more familiar with drawing her. I decided want her to have high piggy tails and pointy little fingers that make me think of frog hands.

P.S. Today is my birthday! 24 was a great year for me, me and Jon had just moved to Austin, I found a great job, I made the website for NPW and we've had so much fun doing the webcomic together (we're almost wrapping up the 2nd issue already!), and even more exciting, I became an aunt!

I think 25 will be even better, especially since now I have a new little dream, I hope to have my first book finished by the time I turn 26.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Introducing Zaddison

I decided I want the stories to be about a little monster named Zaddison and all her adventures. These are a few of the first sketches I made when I was brainstorming what she might look like.

Jon said he pictured her having a gumdrop shaped body, but when I gave that a go I just came up with that creepy little kid on the top right. I liked the top left one the most so I'll run with that one and see where it goes.

Also, I have to say that scanning these pictures in gave me a lot more respect for Jon and everything he does to make our webcomic. I thought I could just draw something, scan it, save it as a jpeg and then put it up here. No no no. You have to do all these fancy adjustments to darken the lines so that they show up the right way and get rid of the shadows and paper texture that also gets scanned.

So I have to give him a big thank you for showing me how to do things and for helping me with the Minted Mouse graphic. I drew the letters and the mouse but he did all the colors and the cool border. And that's why it pays to be married to an artist :D

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dragons = Children's Book?

A few weeks ago Jon and I went to see How To Train Your Dragon at the dollar theater with some friends. Turns out it was one of the best couple bucks I ever spent on a movie.

I LOVED the little sketches they show during the end credits and it made me want to draw, which made me want to have a reason to draw, which made me want to write and illustrate some children's books for my new little niece Addison--who stole my heart with her cute baby wiles.

So. This blog marks the beginning of my new adventure of making children's books from start to finish.