Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Designing a Character

These sketches and colour test show me looking for the sense of a character. It’s too early to say what he’s for, but I will say this is the first time I’ve worked with an author for ages. And there’s no doubt being an illustrator is slightly easier when it involves working to someone else’s specifications. Unless those specifications are crazy (happily not the case here). There’s such a thing as too much freedom.

Odd the difference between how someone looks in my head, and how they turn out on the page. Why is it I can’t just draw what I see in my mind’s eye? What is it about putting down marks that changes my intentions? Answers in the comments please.

This character is intended to be a cross between a dismal but kindly uncle type and a strong-arm butler. Someone you’d want with you in a dark alley, but not so much at a party. It’s the 1920s.

I finally get to draw a Homburg! Unless the author tells me not to.


  1. I thought it was never trust a man whose eyebrows meet? :)

    I've met a few creepy butler types and they did look uncannily similar, m'lord.

  2. Wonderful. They're so expressive and suit your description perfectly to my mind. As to why things never turn out as you'd imagined - I don't know. But it's true of writing too, of course.

  3. I'm glad to hear that, Rachel. And what elevated circles you must move in:)

    Simon, thanks. It's funny to think that art might be made in the bits that go wrong. Was it Christopher Isherwood who said, 'I am a camera'? If so then he's welcome to it.

  4. Oh he's great! It's weird but I can even hear his voice just from looking at that picture!

  5. Well that's interesting, Thomas, because I feel the same about writing - often the book you end up with is not what was in your head - not worse, just different. Only once did I write a book that was exactly the feeling in my head, and it felt really good :-)

    ps Nice sketches :-)

  6. Which begs the question: which book? But I won't press you...

    Glad you like the sketches:)


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