Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Dozer" Character Design

I recently finished illustrating "Dozer's Run," a picture book to be published by Sleeping Bear Press (written by Debbie Levy and Rosana Panza). It is scheduled to be in May 2014. I guarantee that I will post more about this project as we get closer to the release date!

For now, here's a post about the character design and development of Dozer, the title character in this true story of a labradoodle who spontaneously took part in a fund-raiser half-marathon.

Click here for a Publisher's Weekly article about the book.

When I start a project, I focus on the characters. The first step is drawing; lots of drawing!

I do pages and pages of these. I use
photo reference, especially at first. Click to enlarge.
Action poses. Click any of
these images to enlarge.
I like to put the character in poses
from the book. I try to show action
and emotion from the beginning stages.

Once I get some poses that I like, I do color studies.

My color versions can also be process studies. I did all of these
color studies digitally,  although I go for a "traditional" look.

More color studies, but I've decided to go for
 an opaque, painted look.

Color studies. Yep, I do lots of studies. At this point I'm
starting to figure out Dozer's defining characteristics.
Dozer is getting closer to his final look.

More color studies in a technique that is
close to the final process.
Getting closer.

And in this cover detail you can see what I ended up with.
Here's a detail from a finished interior illustration.