The children's book illustration class with Art Agent Lilla Rogers and Scholastic UK Art Director Zoe Tucker started this week ! We had to pick a text from three different choices. Lila developed a quiz method to help us make our choices which was fun. I chose the Russian folk tale, "The Gigantic Turnip", a favorite or mine as a child. I always loved stories that built on itself progressively. I thought I could have fun with all the characters and it just felt right.
First I brainstormed about the characters...
? a farmer at the farmer's market buying seeds from a woman who's truck says, "Ginormous Seeds" or "Monstrous Seeds" or something...
? a scientist-farmer who is experimenting with various fertilizers...the scientific name of turnip is "Brassica Rapa"
? Show growing turnip under the ground with a calendar...looked up the growing season of turnips...
? make the turnip a character in it's own right
And then... I couldn't sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about the characters and the setting of the story. I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea that I fell in love with !
> Set on the seaside...family lives in a lighthouse (considered setting it in Holland but gave that up)...Old man is a fisherman who finds the seeds washed up on the beach in a pirate treasure type box...married to his wife, a mermaid...granddaughter based on photos of my mother's of her as a 2-3 year old in vintage 1930's bathing suit...use vintage 1930'2 color palette. In the back ground is a secondary story: a whale swimming in the ocean getting progressively closer to the shore...when the turnip does finally pop out of the ground it flies into the open mouth of the whale. That's my idea so far.
Here is my final main character submission for the old man:
I like how the embroidered details look on his coat and beard. I also like the color palette and the crab on the watering can. I want him to be an imposing figure built like a big, hefty turnip! I'm really looking forward to allowing the other characters and story to unfold. Working on trusting my instincts and not allowing my insecurities about certain details derail me but rather push through and just keep sketching and brainstorming gently. In the past I push so hard I think I block some of my best work.