For this project I illustrated and helped edit a short story for a children's book. The client wanted a personalized Christmas gift for their grandkids, so they wrote a short bedtime story about them. I had a lot of fun working on this project, despite challenges I was able to come up with creative solutions and ended up with a piece that is both fun and well made.
Sketches And Character Design
The first challenge was the design of the titular character, the Bed. Since the story involved a bed that could talk and walk, and run away, as per the title. This was a problem; beds don't walk. So I had to come up with a way to show loose and natural movement with an object that is meant to be rigid and sturdy.
I brainstormed a few sketches in order to workout the physiology of a walking bed. I made sure the design allowed for a very expressional face. I tried placing the face in different locations on the bed and even drawing it in different angles with different expressions.
After a few sketches, it seemed only natural that the bed had to be able to use it's legs, and thus a bipedal bed seemed more personified---a rolling bed would be too easy to illustrate. Although a risky design due to its uncanny nature, the client approved it nonetheless. I had loads of fun making it.
Another set of characters were the kids that slept on the bed. Their design was based on the actual kids the story was meant for, so not much creative freedom there. Aside from clothing and the art style, the kid's design was determined by the client.
During our first meeting I was able to create this design on the spot, securing my place on the project and earning the client's trust.
For this project I was given a very detailed manuscript for the story and what each scene should contain. In order to visualize each scene as precisely as intended I created a storyboard. Focusing less on detail and more on composition I was able to get a better idea what each frame would look like, making sure that would match the manuscript exactly. This way I could organize the characters better and play around with perspective.
The client also requested the inclusion of local landmarks that they would frequent with the kids. In order to maintain a light and cartoony design I decided it was best to keep buildings and backgrounds as clean and simple as possible.
In addition, I designed the border of each frame to be squiggly and uneven, with rounded corners and a slight fade. The idea was to keep a sense of movement and playfulness to the frames, while also maintaining the focus on the content within the frame. Instead of a frame that would cover the entire page, the squiggly framing would allow a small gap between image and edge of the page. This would create some breathing room for the viewer. Not to mention the cloud-like edges allude for additional content outside the frame.
I created a color palettes with muted tones with and a slight blue tint, since most of the scenes happen at night.
Another request from the client was to take the frames where the bed would be seen walking and place them on the same page, with a dashed line connecting them. This proved another challenge due to the frames having a considerable amount of detail. Particularly since these frames contained the landmarks in the background.
To solve this I decided to arrange the frames into a vertical tryptic. Since the tryptic would take the whole page the opposite page would be used for the text.
For the cover of the book I proposed to the client a fun, silly idea : the bed should carry the kids and fly them back home, like a magic carpet.
The client loved the idea and offered to compensate for the extra work. In the original manuscript, the story ends with the Bed inviting the kids to hop over because its way past bedtime. Although the addition of a flying bed was not necessary I thought it added an element of fantasy and magic that had not been explored in the story. If the bed could fly then it probably had some magical powers, which would explain why its able to walk--or be alive for that matter. I was glad to help the client finish the story strong with a solid plotline. They were happy with how their story came to life and I was glad to have worked in such a fun project.