Penelope Bloom: Summer Camping

You know that moment when everything stands still…

when only the waves whisper alongside the gentle murmur of the evening breeze…

and the stars glimmer in the dark as the sun sets on the painted horizon?

These things I love about camping.

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Penelope Bloom is doing what I love to do.

Standing in silence, she takes it all in.

It’s amazing how the majesty of nature can calm the energy of a child. In this moment, Penelope remembers all of the fun she had playing during her busy day. She wonders on how such a busy place could now be so peaceful. Contemplating it all, she stores it up as a treasured memory.

~Tricia Bos

Sketching Junjie

Junjie, as one of Penelope and Eloise’ close friends, will end up in many stories and pictures in our books.

Before drawing scenes to illustrate our book, I like to spend time getting to know the characters.  I’ve done that with Penelope and Eloise so far, and now I’m doing that with Junjie.

I do this by drawing him (all of them, in fact) in as many positions, activities, and scenarios as I can imagine.

It’s a lot of fun to do, and it helps me build a history and rich personality for each character (besides the one that they were each created to have).

Below is an example from my sketchbook of some exploratory drawings of Junjie.  As I draw, I become familiar with how he stands, sits, and moves … which allows me to focus more on the imaginative settings in the story .

Getting something right, often means a lot of repetition and practice!

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Junjie in colour

Penelope is blonde and wears a lot of pink.  Eloise has curly black hair and mostly wears green.  What colours would Junjie have?

I think, there will be a variety of colours with Junjie.  He will often be pictured with his trusty magnifying glass in the future … and his is a truly scientific mind.  I think his colours will tend to change with his goals and pursuits :).

As for his eyes, I thought hazel would be nice …

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First thought’s on “Junjie”

The third of our irrepressible little trio is a boy, named Junjie.

Yesterday, I began to work out what he might look like, and how he and the girls might relate.

This is a first sketch … and I like it so far.

Pictured below are two stages of a drawing;  first, the blue pencil drawing (it’s an erasable animation pencil), and second, the drawing after I’ve scanned and altered it on the computer so that it is an outline only, ready for colour to be painted on in a layer below the drawing.

I haven’t quite decided on his colours yet …

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BFF’s

Now that Eloise is designed, it’s time to see what the dynamics of her friendship with Penelope will look like.

The writing will determine most of that of course, but there are subtleties in body language and activity that will speak volumes.  Although it is time to begin serious work on the illustrations for the book, it will always be important to explore these characters more fully.  They are as deep and as complex as you and I.

penelope_eloise_dance002What I most like to keep, in any drawing, is a feeling of energy, or life.  Sometimes that quality lies in the line work, other times in the colour, and yet other times, in the texture.  Sometimes, it is found in all three.  Each drawing needs to satisfy the eyes and the soul in some way.

Meet Penelope’s best friend, Eloise!

Penelope and Eloise have been best friends for as long as they can remember …

which is FOREVER!

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They share the same sense of bold adventure, curiosity, and mischief.

Eloise, like Penelope, wears a tutu and has a big bow in her hair.  But Eloise is also a princess warrior!  She carries her bow and arrows around with her wherever she can, because you never know when you might need them….

Creating Penelope’s world

In order to draw scenes for our book, “Penelope Bloom AND THE NASTY, GHASTLY, DREADFUL SMELL”, I’ve had to envision Penelope in a variety of different settings.

Gradually imagining these places is much more fun than creating them all in a hurry. As such, I’ve spent the past few weeks dreaming up her environment. I am excited to delve into this process further as I create all sorts of places for Penelope and her friends to explore.

This scene is inspired by the many antics of one of my favorite comic strip characters, Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.

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