Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Teeny Tiny Tiger

Like many appreciative and supportive (albeit naggy) parents/guardians of someone who dabbles in the visual arts, I have been pressured to nearly wit's end about writing a children's book since I barely picked up a pencil. It's not that I don't WANT to make a children's book, it's just that having somebody constantly telling you that you should because it would A) be cute, B) make a lot of money, and most infuriatingly C) that it would be SO easy to do, makes me less inclined to do so each time they bring it up. It's even worse when they try to bring in "family connections" to help you publish the thing, even if they may not even have the slightest idea of what they're doing.

But in all honesty, I have thought about writing a children's book for some time, and when freelance work dies a bit, I think I'll give it a go. I've actually already written one some time ago and kept it in my vaults until whenever I decide to dig it up again. It's about a tiger who wakes up for breakfast with a seemingly unending appetite. I, at least, think that the idea is solid enough for a book. But I've had one big issue; designing the tiger.

I had to figure out who the tiger was and, more importantly, what he looked like. Was he an adult tiger? A cub? An adult tiger that acts like an immature cub? Should he have a long slender body, or a short stout one? How realistic/stylized should I be? I spent some time studying tigers, as well as fictional tigers from comics and movies, both for inspiration and to help me avoid designing something that already exists! If it's too realistic, it'll look like Shere Kahn. If it's too graphic, it'll look like Hobbes. There seemed to be a fine line there, at least for me. 

But after a lot of scribbling and rough designing (while I will scan and post at a later date), I eventually ended up with this: 

While the look of the tiger was pretty much in place, the one thing that really helped me cement the design was to try animating him. By doing so, not only did I phone in on the design a bit more, but I got to understand a bit more on who the character was and how far I could push the design. So I did a rough test of him taking a big tiger bite out of a peanut butter sandwich: 

Now that I'm a bit more confident with the look of the tiger, I can start planning out the layout of the book, and how I will go about getting it made. I've heard some good things about sites like Lulu, and I know a few authors, so maybe they can give me a few tips. But it never hurts to ask around, so if anyone knows more about making and self-publishing a children's book, feel free to drop me a line!

I'll post more about this as I go later on. Take care!