Above are the results of a full morning sketching for my new book- now known as "Hello, Boston!" (Scroll down a few posts to see the end result- notice the difference?) After illustrating lots of adult male mallards in my book, "Journey Around Boston from A to Z", I thought I'd begin by getting the feel of a duckling and developing his character. I looked up pictures of baby mallards at the library and on the internet and got down to business. I first draw on vellum (more forgiving with mistakes and changes- you can also use tracing paper, but it's more flimsy). When I was reasonably satisfied, I took out the watercolors which I've used for all of my "Journey Around" books. I transfered my drawing onto Arches 300 weight hot pressed paper using graphite paper and started painting. Cute, but... more suitable for an Easter greeting card don't you think? Not cheerful and energetic enough and, most importantly, not enough character.
At the time, my daughter was reading her gazillionth "Bailey School Kids" book (a real cute series by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones) and I happened to look up the illustrator John Steven Gurney and was inspired to see how he develops his characters. Aha! I wanted the duckling to be energetic, cheerful, and curious and two little people in my life (my nephew Jake (above) and my daughter's friend Connor) had what I was looking for. The next challenge was HOW to capture those qualities in a duck! Stay tuned!