Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Clever Hare: A Folktale

This entire post originated over at the Soup Blog where I posted as part of our monthly challenge. My fellow "souper" Leeza suggested I expand on my piece and turn it into a dummy for my portfolio. (For those of you who don't know, a dummy book is kind of a draft book many illustrators include in their portfolio to show that they can maintain character consistency as well as pacing of a story.) I decided that because I had so enjoyed creating this piece, I would follow her suggestion. You'll need to click on each picture to read the text, but it's basically an African folktale about a clever hare who tricks a couple of animals into doing his work for him.

I know this looks kind of cramped. I was a little restricted by my paper size, but I would definitely allow for the entire elephant's head to be shown in a full color illo.

Both the elephant and hippo's pages need work, I know. I would include the landscape as part of the scene, and alter the rope position somewhat.

I really enjoyed taking the story from beginning to end. It was a lot of work, but more importantly showed that I could. It's definitely boosted my confidence about my chosen field. Now I'll probably pick one of these scenes to put in full color to add to my portfolio.


  1. I really love your pieces and I think you are on to something with your acrylic technique. It looks very cool and solid.

    I love the elephant head filling the page the way you did it. I think it's a great perspective and emphasizes his hugeness. I wouldn't change it - it's great!!

  2. Actually, you can arrange all of these on one page for your portfolio to show how you can take a story from beginning to end and keep the characters consistent. One page of pencil thumbnails is a good addition to a children's book portfolio.

  3. Anonymous8:58 AM

    What a fun site to visit, congratulations!!

  4. Great job, Dee.
    This is going to be ideal for your portfolio.
    Love the hippo!

  5. Woah! Dee, way to go!!!! You're really into this and it shows. I agree with Frizz, don't touch that elephant head. the tight crops adds to the dimension and visual impact of his size. You leave it alone!!!!

    I also think you're opening sequence has a better POV. This whole lot looks great — and I love the Hippo's outfit!

    I think you should do the Tug of War DPS in color. Pat Cummings told me that when creating color pieces, it's the moment for you to shine through your work. She calls them the payoff scenes.

    To me, that's where the most dynamic action is in the tale... Can't wait to see how much more you progress with this!

    And then you can start submitting to publishers. I love it!!!!

    BTW: I sooo wish I could get my dummies done as fast as this. You have inspired me to get my head down and finish up my Zoo book.

  6. Oh one other thing, just a suggestion: Why not have a little bit of something going on in the background, maybe not to do with the folktale per se. (You know those birdies that sit on the backs of hippos, maybe have a little birdie character action going on. Perhaps he is trying to dig a stubborn worm out of the Hare's field and when the tug of war happens, lots of worms are thrown up in the air (in the background) and birdie has a feast!!!) I dunno, that's just a silly idea, but I know how much kids love all that extra stuff going on. Like the mouse with the banana in Good Night Gorilla.

  7. Love the hare's expressions, or rather lack of them! He's just plain cool! Will be a fun book!
    Thanks for your comments!

  8. I've had so many starts and stops with coming up with my own dummy that this is awesome and wonderful you followed through in telling a story and getting your illustrations in a layout. These will make great portfolio pieces!

  9. Wow! Thanks y'all so much for your comments...I've got a grin from ear to ear!

    Kristi-thanks for the tip about thumbnail pages-I'd never heard that. I will definitely consider it- if not for this dummy, another one I'm in the process of planning. :)

    Frizz & Leeza- don't worry, I'm leaving the perspective of that elephant alone. I was just talking about backing up a *tiny* bit so that more of his ears are shown.

    Leez, I agree with you about the full-color scene choice...even though it's two separate pages. (I also plan on adding more to the background. You must have been reading my mind about the birds!)

    I'm happy I've inspired a couple of you to get motivated with your own dummies. Yeah for you! Now get to work! haha :D

  10. What a great addition to your portfolio and a great story!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  11. I kinda like the elephants head being cropped out of that one image. Makes him/her look real, real big.


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