This month I’m taking an intensive course on illustrating children’s books with Make Art That Sells. It’s taught by an art agent (Lilla Rogers) and art director (Zoe Tucker), and they’re guiding us step by step through the process of creating a storybook pitch. Class started this week with work on our main character. I’m using a text written by Zoe called “The Lucky Pearl.”
My first mini-assignment was to think about accessories for Pearl. It’s really easy for me to get in my head and not know where to start with big projects. I’m not currently the kind of person who does art compulsively; it doesn’t feel like second nature to me. I think it did when I was younger, and I’d love to feel that way again, but I’ve spent a lot of years learning and practicing perfectionism, and it is, as they say, the enemy of “done.” This is something I love about the way Lilla does her classes. She starts each big assignment with a mini assignment that’s designed to get you started on the big assignment. This week our big assignment is to get a draft of our character nailed down, so she’s started us off with thinking about something character-adjacent: accessories.
Thinking about an anthropomorphic pearl, there are only so many accessories she can have. The text mentions her “peering” out of her shell, so glasses came to mind. I looked up eyeglasses on Pinterest and sketched lots of different styles. The name of the game here is quantity, since this is the idea-generating phase. Once I had my collection drawn, I drew Pearl, gave her a bow and a smile, and we had a glasses try-on session. This was actually super fun. I realized pretty much at once that the big, round, goofy ones make her look very likable and vulnerable.
Next up I’m going to work on drawing her a lot, trying out different media and techniques! Also stay tuned for the other main character in the story, the merboy!