Apr 30, 2011


Ok, the text looks ok for now, so I work on the colours.
After all, I dont want to start working on paper without exactly knowing what I want to do.
Here's a first try.

I tried to get at least a little yellow or yellow-ish colour in each composition to create a red line throughout the book. Still, there are some panels, I dont like. The look under the bed needs other colours I think and the mother-monster too.

I'm also worried about the text. Is bright text on dark background ok?
I'd prefer dark text but it's ticky so many dark values in the pictures.

Apr 28, 2011


Before actually painting the pages, I have to write the text for the story and at least roughly check, if the space I left in each layout, is enough. I'm not going to post the text here though.

Apr 27, 2011


Clothes, less important than the face but still necessary.
Here I assume it's summer or warm fall.

The haircut

Connie would look best with a rather short and wild haircut but again the details are important, so I go through quiet a lot of variations. Victor is really easy in comparison. He will have short dark hair.

Gettin' closer

That's the way. I'm getting closer to what the children will look like.
Connie will be a little wild and confident.
Victor is a bit behind Connie but he definetely can keep up.


The references definetely helped me getting the right way, but after all I dont want to go realistic for a children book. I try to get as much out of my practise as I need to improve the characters.

Using references

If you cannot draw something, use references! Here we go.

Character Design

Now that the layout is done, it's time to go into detail with the characters, namely Connie and Victor. As you can see these first sketches were really rough and not very child-like.

Final Layout

Hi again, like mentioned in earlier posts, I had one last doublepage free and I first thought of something like a scary shadow of an owl sitting in front of a window, being lit by a latern, but altough it was interesting, I found it to be too similar to the final doublepage with the kids beeing their own monsters, using shadows.
So I changed this one to a view into the dark garden, a scary tree mainly. I like it and with that done the layout is finally complete.

Apr 25, 2011

...and even more improvements

I took what I had till now and put it into a first dummy. The Layout for the pages is alright, but we could still squeeze in an additional doublepage if we use the side with the children reading the book for the impressum and the inner title, instead for the actual story. That would mean, I have one more scary page to come up with and I need a place to put it. My first idea would be right after the loft to make the skip to the cat a bit better...but what could I use as the theme? A tree in front of a window which scares everyone who passes by on the way down from the loft? How about, there's something in the garden? Maybe the big clock strikes midnight, really loud?

Still improvements

Although I already changed a lot in the layout, there's still stuff to change.
For example:
I still dont really like the cellar. It doesnt work well with the other pages, in my opinion. Mostly, because I came up with it after beeing influenced by some childrens books I saw in the city. The other reason is the slightly out of place feeling I get from the "smelly drain page". I'll combine the both of them or at least let the smell scene happen in the cellar, right after the cellar stairway scene.

And than there's another problem:
The pages in the hallway and the one with noises in the wall look much too similar. I liked the noise layout really much so I'd like this one to stay as it is now, but that means I have to work on the hallway. I do so by changing the view from a total into a small glimpse of the hallway, seen through a slightly opened door.

The last thing is the cover. I had none until now, so I came up with a few, showed it to my professor and we agreed on using the "monster under the bed" scene for it, since it's one of the strongest pictures without spoiling the story.

The new layout and improvements

After working on the pages in detail, I sum it up on a thumbs storyboard , once again. It looks definetely better than the first version.

Mommy-monster and your own shadow

Now to the final, the boss encounter, beware the super-scary mommy monster and her beauty mask of doom!
I didnt have to think long to find a good solution.

The last doublepage for the story will be the idea, that you can be your own monster by standing in front of a light an throwing a big and deformed shadow. I'm proud of this idea because it really draws a cirlce for the story and provides a good finish.

Loft, Smell and glowing eyes

At the end of the stairway Connie and Victor find the loft. It's dark and really cramped with painting, buckets, boxes, spiders, stuffed animals and other unknown stuff. They only take a peek.

They hurry down again and notice a foul stench in the air. It's coming from the drain. Whatever creature is in there, it stinks terribly. At this point a started to think, maybe it was better to combine this picture with the cellar instead of putting it behind the loft.

The next is a shock, there's definetely something in the dark! The children can see a pair of eyes glowing in the dark...but it's just the cat. This scene will be shown by a shot-backshot sequence.
That means I need two seperate panels.

Wardrobe, Cellar and Stairway

Once in the hallway, Connie and Victor are going to check out the wardrobe with a scary big coat in it. Like the "under the bed" picture, this one came to my mind almost immediately.

And another one was there at once. Noises comign from within the wall. It's only a mouse is it?

The next stop will be the cellar and this one really gave me a hard time. The cellar is dark, silent and a bit stinky. There's stuff lying around, some spider webs and maybe tubes or a rough wall.

I was experimenting with scenes. Maybe the two dont even go into the cellar, but just stand at the top of the stairs and look into the darkness. In that case we could look into the darkness or out of it. In both scenes the stairs would be a very important element. Since the next theme will be the staircase, I decide to take the view out of the darkness, to be able to show more of what is actually down there.

Like I just mentioned, the next doublepage will be the stairway. It's about the big and long free area on the stairs, the height and decent light. This is going to be very interesting with the stairs going crazy.

Kids room and Hallway

To get more pages for the actual story, I plan on using the pages which are normally used for glueing or for the inner title. To get a first impression of the place the first picture will be a birds view of the children's room.
It will appear at the very end again in a similar version, to get a frame for the story.
It is much easier to draw a room, when you know exactly how it looks, this is my first step.
In addition, I look for a composition to show the room on a doublepage, that looks good and leaves place to put in some monsters. (we will only see these at the end)

The next doublepage is going to be a closer look on the children reading a monsterbook together.
This one is rather easy.

The third one was so clear to me even before I began the thumbs, I didnt have to rethink about it. Thats why the scene of the children looking under the bed isnt here.

The fourth will be a dark hallway whith a scary door at its end, that resembles a face.

Layout thumbs

Ideal are 32 pages / 16 double pages for best econimcal production, so that is what my framework will be.
Heres the first complete layout, of course made with thumbs.
If you cannot read it or don't see anything in the thumbs, it doesnt matter, because they are just for me.

Who are they?

The little ones need names, come what may, so we sat down with the other students and brainstormed through a lot of names. Since I live in Germany, most of the names are german as well.
In the end we decided on "Connie" and "Victor".

Gettin' into detail

The next step was getting more specific.

- A boy and a girl (siblings or friends)
- Each one is around 5 years old.
- They have a monsterbook telling them where the monsters should be.
- They check the places but find none
- On each doublepage we see one place and a hidden monster, which the children do not see, so there are monsters everywhere in the house, but they find none.
- The only monsters they find are the cat, the mother with a scary beauty mask and their own shadows.

What places are there to check for the children and what could be scary?

dark hallway, wardrobe, under the bed, cellar, loft, sounds, smell, darkness, something moving, thinking there is something, only seeing the shape of an object, stairway, a tree, clouds, forms, shadows, spiders, unknown places, silence, open places, sounds from the drain, paintings, statues, stuffed animals, curtain, pets, sudden events, loud sounds like a clock...

First Ideas

I need an idea! ...or a plot to be more specific, since I quickly decided to do a childrens book for the 4-5 year olds. I did a lot of brainstorming, thinking, checking bookstores for inspiration, and sketching farious things and ended up with some basic plots.

1) Children looking for monsters
2) Without you...
3) The Cooky King gets bored of sweets and looks for more.
4) A kid experiences that food tastes a lot better when you share it.

After a talk with my professor I decided for no.1

Apr 15, 2011

Diploma incoming

I'm officially working on my Diploma for Illustration right now and to
show the process I'm going through, I created this blog.
About the title: I'm one of the last lucky guys who were allowed to do the Diploma.
After me there's just Bachelor.
Have fun.