Character Design

Get ready for a ton of Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime posts, as I'm already anxiously awaiting publishing day on February 13th! Today I thought it would be fun to take a behind the scenes look at the character development for this book of ours (written by Lisa Mantchev).

My work falls into two categories: 3-d and 2-d. When I am handed a manuscript, my brain usually guides me into which direction to take simply from the mental images that start immediately popping up as the manuscript is read. Jinx and the Doom was an immediate 3-d moment for me, and I am so grateful to Sylvie Frank at Paula Wiseman books for being immediately on board with the idea. Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime is my first 3-d book to hit stores (the second one being Just Add Glitter, written by Angela Diterlizzi, out this coming fall), and quite frankly I'm full of excitement and nerves as a result!
This is how the siblings looked minutes after accepting the book offer. All I knew was that A: it would be in 3-d and B: it needed to be graphically simple and retro to help support the vintage comic book superhero vibe that kept popping up in me noggin ;).  While I loved the look of this pair, the approach wasn't bold enough color and line-wise, so back to the drawing board I went.

Bright colors of ink were brought out, and I went to work. By giving myself a time limit of 20 seconds per head, I was forced to not think too much and just "do". After a good half hour, heads were piling up and the true characters started to take shape. I often find myself needing to impose this forced time limit, as I have a tendency to over think and thus become paralyzed from actually making any marks at all.  The Doom came first, and looking at this little pile it's neat to see him visibly there, just ready to get picked ;)

 Once the faces were sorted out it was time to design, cut and roughly put together the figures. The duo was finally ready to send off to the editor and director for feedback. This is yet another place where the role of an editor and director are crucial to helping get the figures just right. It was suggested that Jinx looked a bit old, and perhaps her piggy-tails could be moved up and arms shortened and rounded to help give her a younger look. Adjusting The Doom's arms too would be helpful, and once that those areas were addressed we finally had the siblings just right.

It's amazing how much difference those subtle tweaks can make, and Lizzy and Sylvie were spot on when it came to suggesting those adjustments.

I am beyond thrilled with how these siblings turned out, and cannot wait for you to be able to see them in their full glory in just a matter of weeks! 


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