Interlude - Little Green Riding Hood (II)

Little Green Riding Hood answers the call. She's supposed to go to Mommy and Daddy's Work (in the story, the actual name of their workplace), but suddenly remembers she doesn't know where it is!

Still into the computer art on this one – for some reason, I like the hamburger in particular.

On their way to Mommy and Daddy's Work, the trio run into a bear. The bear I painted not too long ago was my first attempt at the new illustrations for this story – he's sneaking up on them. Not to worry, though. Little Green can watch out for herself and her siblings.


Interlude - Little Green Riding Hood (I)

I had mentioned Little Green Riding Hood a while back. Here's the opening illustration of the story, done on computer. You can see at this time that I had no qualms about giving Arianna little dot eyes. Nor about giving her some kind of baby mullet, but that's the way her hair really went when she was that age.

Even if I don't care much to do my own work on computer lately, I do like the effect. I like the bright colors, the sharp colored outlines, and the crispness of it. I just enjoy working in a traditional media even more.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: C

This is for "Catch!" said the pitcher.

Another spot illustration, but more than just the figure of Arianna this time. And the alphabet book gets to do double duty as a child's first primer on puns.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: O

Finally came up with a way to draw Arianna. I was expecting to draw her with dot eyes, like I did with the other kids in the other alphabet books. But her eyes are such a prominent feature that tiny little dot eyes just didn't look like her.


The Gingerbread Policeman (VI)

The Big Bad Wolf decides to take things into his own paws. He lies in wait for the Gingerbread Policeman...

...and gives chase. But it's a trap! An unwise one, scowls the wolf, since the Gingerbread Policeman is locked up in the cage with him.

But the the little cookie shows that the Big Bad Wolf is no match for his cleverness.
He sliiiiiiips out between the bars, and lives happily ever after. Fairy tale evil-doers, beware!

And so ends the tale of the Gingerbread Policeman, for now at least. I've got a couple more in mind, but first, my daughter needs an alphabet book. I've finally got the next painting finished, so it'll be back to those drawings next.


The Gingerbread Policeman (V)

The next day.

It's been some work to try and re-design the way I draw my daughter for the alphabet book, yet keep the style consistent. Finally got it today, though, I think – the line drawing, at least. Tomorrow, I paint! But until then, I have a lot of gingerbread illustrations.

These were so much fun to do that it's the way I now like to work. Up until this, I was focusing mainly on computer illustration, like the previous two alphabet books. But when I tried to do something more than spot illustration in Illustrator, I found it incredibly boring to spend all that time making all the little points and shapes. This is basically the same style, but in a traditional medium and a lot more fun.

I had mentioned that my daughter liked Little Red Riding Hood. One day she said she didn't want a green cup, because there were no green princesses. By this, I assumed she meant that Disney had not marketed any princesses dressed in green. So I told her to make up her own story about a green princess. She came up with (naturally) Little Green Riding Hood. It turned out to be a good story, so I was trying to illustrate that one as well. It was when I was doing the full page illustrations for it that I came to my conclusion about working in Illustrator.

Once I'm done with the Gingerbread Policeman pics, I'll put up the ones I finished for that one, done on computer. I still want to do something with her story, but in watercolor, even if it does mean re-doing the few that I've already finished.


The Gingerbread Policeman (IV)

The Gingerbread Policeman's first day on the job.

For the story to continue, I needed to make the Fox into a good guy instead of a bad guy. When a friend of mine saw me working on the last picture, he was appalled. He had read too many fairy tale revisions to his kids where no one was a bad guy, and he thought I was drawing yet another one.

I assured him I wasn't. I, too, am all for villains in fairy tales. They're too wishy washy without them. So enter the Big Bad Wolf.

But of course he's no match for the Gingerbread Policeman, despite being big and bad. And Grandma gets her goodies when this cookie is on the job.

On a side note, my oldest daughter used to love Little Red Riding Hood. When she would ask me to make up stories, she would say "Make Little Blue Riding Hood!" or "Make Little Gold Riding Hood!" And she'd tell me whether Little (insert color) Riding Hood would listen to her mother or not.

One of my favorites was "Little Silver Riding Hood." When asked, she said that Little Silver Riding Hood was good to flowers but bad to her mother. I ended up making that one into an 8-page book for the kids. They're just quick marker sketches colored in on computer, but I may put up one or two up on here later.


The Gingerbread Policeman (III)

I'm jumping ahead a bit in the story, but this is the Gingerbread Man and the fox – make that Officer Fox – on the other side of the river. In my story, the fox took him away from the others not to eat him, but to recruit him for police force. In this picture the Gingerbread Man is taking him up on the deal.

I was going to put a part in the book about the fox swimming back over and claiming to have eaten the Gingerbread Man, to throw everyone off. But it slowed the story down too much, so I decided to leave it to the imagination (or this blog, now that I've written it).

More work being done on the alphabet book. The hard part is determining how Arianna will look throughout, even though I've already done one picture of her. Fortunately, her eyes were closed, because that's the thing that's going to change the most from the way I drew the kids in the other books. So I'll keep putting up Gingerbread Policeman images until I can get another alphabet painting finished.


The Gingerbread Policeman (II)

The saga begins.

When I initially envisioned the story, it was going to start with the third image. I figured that everyone would know the story, so I wouldn't need to put the first part. But when I showed the story to my writing group, they all thought that small kids might not know the story as well as I was assuming, so it was better to tell it briefly.

The good part about that was that it gave me an excuse to do a painting of the Gingerbread Man bursting out of the oven. And the animals chasing him were fun too.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: G

Got the first one finished. Only 25 more letters to go!


Interlude – The Gingerbread Policeman (I)

Here's another thing while I'm painting. It's a book that I did for my kids, so I'll put up images from it every so often during the down times on the alphabet book.

It was a bit of an experiment. Every Christmas I try to make a book for the kids, and this last year I wrote one that included all of them, doing all the things they like to do. It was received with what can best be described as apathy. It was pointed out to me that A) it was Christmas and there's far too many toys to care about books and B) it was in black and white.

So, as an experiment, I decided to try one in color, and see how quickly I could do it. The result is this book, which I gave to them the day before Easter. That way I A) avoided competing with candy on the actual day and B) gave them something in color. It was much better received. So next Christmas it's going to be all color again. And hopefully finished before Christmas day.


Bonus Alphabet Page

My wife liked the X page of Gavin's alphabet book in particular. So I decided to post that one too, while I'm working on the first painting of Arianna's book.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: rough sketches

Here are a few examples of the sketches I have so far for the next alphabet book. Most are pretty simple, since I have so many to do. Here's the one for G: "Got it!" she called gleefully.
Although on occasion I got totally carried away, as in S: Soon they came to a stairway.


My Next Big Project: Kid Alphabet Book #3

But first, an introduction. Here is the cover and a sample page from the first one I did for my daughter:
I made this for her because when she was learning her letters, she knew capital letters really well but not small letters. When asked what the letters in "hello" were, she said "h - e - eleven - o." Which is really cool in its own way, but I doubt her school would think so.

So I made this book to be very plain, one big letter and one specific image on each page. I know a lot of alphabet books have a million things that start with each letter, but I wanted to be able to say "Remember that letter? It's on the page with the kangaroo" so that each one would be easier to remember. Either this book helped a lot (my version) or all the time my wife spent with her on her letters did (more likely reality), but I enjoyed doing it.

So then I did one for my second child. A bit late, according to my wife, since he already knew the letters by the time I finished, but I wanted him to have his own as well. Here are the cover and a sample page:

Now I'm on the third one. She doesn't know many letters yet (she's only 1) so I have a chance to get this done in time. On the other hand, I want to do this one like the bear I just finished instead of computer illustration, so perhaps it will get done in time for her own kids to learn from it. But I can dream, can't I?

You'll be seeing some rough sketches for this soon.

The best part about doing alphabet books for your kids is that you automatically end up doing 26 drawings at the least. So if you're an artist and you want an excuse to spend a lot of time drawing, offer to make someone an alphabet book.