Penelope and Snowie

Laughter is the best medicine.
Just ask Penelope.
She dressed Snowie in a tutu…poor doggie.
And found the result hilarious–in a tears draining from eyes, giggle-fit kind of way.
Our hope today…that you would see the world through the eyes of a child and find happiness and laughter in your day.
Penelope and SNowie

Penelope Bloom’s Scary Campfire Story

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Penelope peered at her friends through the crackling flames with a mischievous grin. “Once upon a time,” she lowered her voice, “there was a dark, dark forest.”

Gripping the hands of her chair, Eloise’s eyes widened with fear and anticipation.

“And inside the forest,” Penelope spread her arms wide, “there was a dark…,” she paused for effect, “dark tree.”

Above their heads, a large maple swayed, its limbs black next to the starlit sky.

“You can’t scare me!” scoffed Junjie.

She leaned closer. “And in the tree, was a dark,” she lingered on the word, “dark nest.”

“Ohh!” Eloise covered her mouth with a trembling hand.

Overhead, a branch creaked.

Junjie’s eyes shot toward the sound. “Nothing but a bird, I bet.”

“And in that nest,” Penelope’s words barely rose above a whisper, “there was a dark, dark….” Her body tensed.

Eloise and Junjie hung on her every word.

The pounding waves filled their silence.

“BOO!”

Eloise shrieked.

Junjie almost fell out of his chair.

Penelope giggled. “Gotcha!”

Their laughter carried across their campsite.

“My turn,” said Eloise.

They quieted.

“Once upon a time….”

What inspires you?

The winter Olympics are over now, but boy were they fun to watch when they were happening!

The athletes of every nation are so inspiring, they make me want to try many of the amazing things they are able to do … (this year I decided I might want to try hockey … lol).

Near the end of the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Janna and I wondered what Penelope and her friends might be doing in response to the inspirational athletics they were watching.  We decided that they would most likely join in, with great imagination and enthusiasm, and that it might look a little like this  …

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Dream big dreams!  These three sure do!

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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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….

Further Explorations of Character Design

I’d decided Penelope’s basic proportions. Now it was time to try her out in various positions, activities, and moods.

In the sketchbook drawing below, I tested my basic concept of Penelope to see if her proportions would work sitting down, crossing her arms, and jumping in the air.  I wanted to be able to exaggerate her proportions on a case by case basis (foreshortened and detailed feet with toes … bigger shoulders for a hunched up look when crossing arms) and was pleased with the result.

Next, Janna and I decided upon a hairstyle to match her character.  Wild, carefree, stubborn, and loveable…her hair became an expressive part of her design.  I wanted it to look generally the same, but be able to use it to indicate her mood and tell a story.

🙂

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This drawing of Penelope is much closer to the final design, only her hair would be simplified over the next little bit.

This is also the first drawing of Penelope with her bunny and puppy (Snowflake).

But I still had questions. How would she look in her different environments.  What would her house look like? How tall should she be in comparison to its front steps? How should I design her bedroom?

And what about the rest of her family? How should the rest of the Bloom family appear?

Very exciting!!!