I’m not anything like a professional character designer but when creating picture books you do your fair share. Today I’ll talk you through the process I used to create the wicked queen for my upcoming Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs ebook.
First there is always a process that goes on in my head. I think about what that character is like and how to express those traits physically. This often takes time but there isn’t anything to show. It’s all in my head at that point.
After I have an idea I start drawing. These are some of the first drawings I did of the queen.
They aren’t great. The characters are stiff. I was only barely thinking about the overall shape and gesture which are pretty darn important for a great character. Things I like in these first sketches are the angular face, the flowy sleeve, and some of the other costume elements.
I kept going and here are some of the next sketches.
They are more fun. You can see I did a lot better with shape and gesture. I also started thinking about how the queen will look when she goes to Snow-white in disguise. In the original story she goes three times in three different disguises. I started looking for a way to say “this is the queen even though it doesn’t look like it”.
Here is a sketch from the book of the finished character.
I decided to keep it simple and make the necklace the giveaway that we are seeing the queen.
Here she is in two of her disguises.
For more about character design I recommend the Character Design blog. It’s chalk full of artist interviews about designing characters. I’ve learned a lot from it, and refer back to it often.