I was in Carnarvon this past week, doing workshops with Primary and High School students. Thanks to the Shire of Carnarvon for having me, and an extra special thanks to Natalie Whitley, Regional Librarian, for organising the trip.
While there, I met our July Competition winner, Rachel Loffler, who works in the library at Carnarvon Senior High School.
I started working on a new version of Knut, one without the big nose.
You can see here that I’m trying to draw the same face over and over again while keeping it consistent. Well, I’m trying at least! I’m also trying some profile sketches so I know what Knut looks like from different angles.
I was pretty happy with Knut at this point. I had a meeting coming up with Cate, our editor at Fremantle Press, and I needed to show a watercolour sample of Knut. I used one of the big-nose sketches as a guide, but made his face more pointy-chinned…
I do enjoy colouring on the computer for the ease of use, the speed, and the amount of control you get- but you can’t beat the feeling of using a real brush, real water, and real watercolour paint. I reckon the finished product looks a lot better too.
Next week I’ll tell you what Cate thought of the character design so far, and the improvements that were made after the meeting.
The first version of Josh/Knut had a huge nose. I made a small clay sculpture which seemed to be cute… but when I translated it into drawings his nose was enormous.
His character was starting to come through here- alternately brave and afraid, with his faithful Viking dog Wolverine by his side. But the nose had to go, it’s far too big for a young boy.
Character design tip- Did you know that our ears and noses continue to grow for our whole lives? Babies and kids have small ears and noses compared to their head size, but older people have much bigger noses and ears. If you draw a character with big ears and a big nose, it will make them seem older. Unless of course your character is a baby elephant. In this case I’d recommend making their eyes much bigger than usual. The babies of all animals have bigger eyes than the adults, compared to their head size. Except those blind cave fish, they don’t have any eyes. And tadpoles, they’ve got tiny eyes. And… sorry where was I?
Right, yes, I was getting rid of Knut’s big nose.
The next version of Knut is the ‘pointy-chin’ version, you can see his nose is much smaller:
I’ll show you some more of this version next week, including an early watercolour sample.
This month, you could win a copy of In Flanders Fields, signed by the author Norman Jorgensen!
Your task is simple- think of a question you’d like Norman or myself to answer, then add your question to the comments section of this post before August 24th.
We’ll randomly select one of the questions, and whoever submitted it will win this month’s prize!
We’ll also select our favourite questions and record a video interview, which we’ll upload at the end of August.
The fine print: this competition runs from 6 August to 24 August. Winners will be drawn on 24 August at 2 pm WST and announced on the blog on August 31. To be eligible, blog readers must submit a question for Norman and/or James in the comment field of this post. Employees of Fremantle Press or their families are ineligible to win.
To recap- a boy who lived across the road from my parents was helping me develop the main character for the book. This boy, Nick, seemed very much like the main character of Josh (Knut)- both are very inventive and creative boys, with vivid imaginations. For research purposes (and for fun), Nick, his dad Roy and I set about building a Viking longship out of a cardboard fridge box.
We laid the cardboard out flat and ruled a line straight down the middle- we’d be building two identical sides for our ship, so we would need to divide the cardboard in half.
We drew the outline of the boat onto one half of the cardboard, making one half of a ship.