A portal passport to adventure!

I thought I would post more illustrations from my project for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club.

The theme is “Book a Trip” and the library team and I came up with the concept of a “portal passport” that can transform into various vehicles that will carry our crew of critters on adventures around the world—and beyond it.

In an earlier post, I showed some of the rough pencil sketches of some of the vehicles I’ve been working on. Here are some “final” versions, inked and painted, including one image that shows the portal passport in its various stages of transformation. (I say “final” because, of course, nothing is final until it goes to print! I’m sure there will be lots of composition and colour tweaking to come.)

passport_transformingwalker_clrsubmarine_clr_lightbackgroundrocker_swerving_horizontal_clr

All of these pieces will be included in the overall poster design and some of the other marketing material for the library’s campaign. Slowly but surely, everything’s coming together . . .

 

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Poster design for the Summer Reading Club

I’m hard at work on the illustrations for the BC library system’s 2016 summer reading club. In previous posts, I chronicled the development and design of the characters that are going to populate the different material: the poster, the reading record, and so forth. The theme is “travel.”

Those characters have been approved, so now I’m working on the design of the poster. (The other material will come next; the poster is the most important piece.)

Here are some of my initial concepts:

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As you can see, I was toying with the idea of a vertical design and a steampunk frame. I liked the idea of the book transforming into a plane, and that seems to be the part everyone on the library team has been agreeing on.

They asked me to make the frame even more steampunk, but to try and avoid gears since gears played very heavily in their concept from last year. So it’s been quite a challenge to make something looked steampunk without the quintessential symbol of that genre. But I think I’ve got it now, as can be seen in this cobbled together version of the poster:

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No gears! I decided to make the poster horizontal, to stretch out process of transformation from the portal passport into the plane. The library team asked for one additional stage of transformation between the book and the plane; initially, I wasn’t sure if that could be fit in, but I think it does work quite nicely.

In the corner of the poster, I’ve added some insets of different vehicles that the portal passport might transform into. I had originally sketched some images of our crew—the flying squirrel, travel bug, and polar bear—in different locales, but the library team wants to avoid any perceived stereotypes. So do I, I suppose. Though I did like my polar bear wearing his traditional peaked Asian hat. (For me this wasn’t meant to perpetuate a stereotype, but a homage to my own travels in Asia. I wear those hats all the time when I’m in Asia; they’re really good at keeping out the heat.)

In any case, we’re going to try and represent travel through these different vehicles being in different landscapes. Hence the submarine in water, the rocket in space, and the walker in the jungle:

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Now I’m hard at work inking and colourizing the individual components. It’s all coming together, slowly but surely. Which is good—I have less than three weeks to complete!

Designing characters for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club ~ Round 5

I’ve been posting some of the artwork that I’ve been doing for the BC Summer Reading Club these past few weeks, but it’s now my work on the project is officially official.

So far, I’ve mostly been designing the look and feel of the characters that we are going to use for the material. Here’s the final versions of them—as you can see, we decided to go with a more “sketchy” look for the style of artwork:

Our pilot, the flying squirrel:

Flying Squirrel - sketchy color - pink clothes

Our navigator, the travel bug:

travelbug_sketchy

Our engineer: the polar bear:

polarbear_sketchy

I’ve also been working on the designs for the “portal passport”. My first attempt was a bit flat . . .

Portal Passport 01

So the team at the BC Library asked me to “up” the gadget factor, which I did:

portalpassport02

It’s by means of this book that the characters will take their travels. (The theme of the 2016 reading club is “Book a trip”.) I’m not sure if we’re going to use them, but I’ve sketched some (mis)adventures that the crew has in various locations around the world.

piranhaproblems-amazon

noodlenosh-shanghai

mummymishap-cairo

portraitpose-Paris

sharks-australia

Designing characters for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club ~ Round 3 (and 4!)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted sketches of characters that I’ve been working on for the BC Library Association’s 2016 summer reading club material. I’ve been working hard to fine-tune those characters, so thought I’d post some of the updated designs.

There has been some back and forth here, as the team and I tried to narrow down our crew members who will embark on an adventure via a sort of “portal passport.” We finally decided to go with the crew of a flying squirrel (as a pilot), a polar bear (as an engineer), and a travel bug (as a navigator).

Here’s my initial drawings of the final crew . . .

Flying Squirrel - color

Polar Bear - color

Travel Bug - colour - brown

The library team was quite happy with this cast, but did ask for some changes. For the squirrel, they wanted to emphasize that she’s a girl, so I smoothed out her mouth, accentuated her eyelashes and offered some different color combinations for her attire.  Here she is, in blue, green, and purple:

Flying Squirrel - sketchy color - blue clothes Flying Squirrel - sketchy color - green clothes Flying Squirrel - sketchy color - pink clothes

The team also wanted me to explore some brighter colors for the bug’s clothing, so I produced a few options, even playing with the color of his skin, too.

Travel Bug - color - green Travel Bug - colour - brown - alternate clothes 1 Travel Bug - colour - brown - alternate clothes 2

They were pretty happy with the polar bear engineer, so I didn’t make any changes to his coloring or design.

I also offered an initial design of what the portal passport could look like. In our imaginations, this is a sort of steampunk book that takes our crew members on an imaginative journey. The actual name of the campaign is “book a trip”!

Portal Passport 01

Designing characters for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club ~ Round 2

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A couple of weeks ago I posted some of my initial sketches that I’ve been working on for the BC Library Association’s 2016 summer reading club marketing material.

Round 1 resulted in the team picking the flying squirrel to be the pilot on our imaginary crew and the travel bug as our navigator. So, for Round 2, I’ve made a few refinements to these characters . . .

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However, the team also wanted to try out some bigger animals, so after flipping through my animal encyclopedia, I picked a few of my favorite creatures and produced the sketches below. My idea is that one of these bigger animals will serve as the crew’s engineer.

Desert Fox

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Kangaroo

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Polar Bear

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Rhino

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Who will make the cut? Well, we’ll just have to see whom the team picks . . .

Designing characters for the BC Library’s Summer Reading Club ~ Round 1

While I was touring through England and Ireland last month, I was approached with a delightful project: to illustrate the material for the library’s 2016 Summer Reading Club. It would mean following in some pretty big footsteps; in past years, the library has worked with some pretty talented illustrators: Jeremy Tankard, Shayne Letain, and Mike Deas—just to name a few.

However, I simply had to take this project. After all, the theme is “TRAVEL” . . . and I’ve done quite a bit of that recently (including being on an overseas trip when the project was offered). It just seemed a good fit!

The project is not without its challenges, since I need to design characters and produce illustrations that will speak to a wide age range, different cultural sensibilities, and both boys and girls. I decided I would chronicle each of the stages, as much as I can, on my blog . . . so here goes! Round 1 . . .

The first idea I came up with for a character was a “travel bug.” Here are some my sketches:

bug-01 bug-02 bug-03 bug-04 bug-05 bug-06

Of course, the other thing I thought about is a general cast of animal characters, things that you might find in your backyard. So here’s my collection of rodents and other critters:

bat flyingsquirrel mouse snail worm

Our end task will be to come up with a team of three characters that are on a travel adventure. I have this idea of them using this steampunked book as a sort of portal passport. I haven’t gotten too far down the road of that design since I have been mostly concentrating on the characters, but here are a couple of sketches:

book gangflying

So far, the team at the library has liked a lot of the designs . . . I just need to make sure they’re not too cute so I can hit that “tween” audience. Yep, that’s a challenge, because I still need to interest the younger kids, too.

Well, as they say, back to the drawing board . . .