Saturday, March 26, 2011

Character Design

Hi there friends.

For years now, at bedtime and in between picture books and chapter books, I have been telling the girls stories about a pair of mice that follow and protect a little family through its many journeys. The first mouse I made up in the space of a moment never expecting to tell more than one tale about him. I say “made up” though he is really a shameless rip-off of a well-known mouse from beyond the wardrobe -right down to the name: Cheepa-cheep (really, I think you’re allowed to plagiarize in the privacy of your home when you just want a three-year-old to please, please, please fall to sleep). He wears a sword at his side and a feather in his ear. He loves adventure, but is a bit more of a rapscallion than his Narnian cousin. Cheepa-cheep soon acquired a companion in the form of a small, bespectacled mouse named Chirpa-chirp, who carries a nearly bottomless sack of books wherever he goes. Sort of the literary rodent’s version of wikepedia. They ride on geese, have frequent trouble with gnomes, and more often than not their adventures are about saving the little family from unsuspected dangers.

I’ve never drawn a picture of them. But the other day I found these (drawn by Angelica):

This was thrilling to me because
I’ve never been on this side of the fence before. I’ve never had the experience of describing a character or idea and having someone else draw it. I’ve given that experience to others but never thought of what it would be like for them. I love the little details that weren’t mine -the sandals, the pouches on Cheepa-cheep’s belt. And of course the feather, which I had imagined as small but works so well as a battle standard.

NEXT WEEK: I will finally get down to posting my upcoming travels, signings and comics workshops. New York is on the horizon...