I love being surprised when I read picture books.
If a story takes a sharp turn that's great but when it's unexpected or completely ludicrous, all the better!
I love these kinds of stories so much that I want a whole picture book of them. So I am working on rough sketches for a new book called, "Two-Sided Stories", which are basically a string of two-page stories all featuring the same character, Bear.
The first page is a potentially sad or shocking intro.
The second page resolves the issue introduced on page one in a whimsical, happy way.
For example, page one might show Bear holding a school assignment with the letter "F" all big, bold, and red. Page two (on the back side of page one) shows a wider shot, where the "F" stands for "Fantastic!"
Here is an example.
Bear waited outside for his friends to arrive to his birthday party, but they never came.
Because they were already inside waiting to surprise him!
An entire story captured in two pages. Intro and denouement, completely bypassing the middle structures of complication and resolution!
What will this 2-page story structure look like over fourteen stories? I'm not sure. Probably the picture book equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino movie but without the gratuitous language and violence, although the stories are still in draft form so who knows? It might get dark.
I'll post more sketches and stories as I go so you can see things as they progress. I hope you like them!
"I have been working on a couple of designs for my space robot adventure series. These range from the traditional 1950's "saucer" type UFO to a 1950's retro-style rocket ship.
But nothing was coming out the way I wanted. Probably because I was working completely from my imagination and not any kind of reference material.
So I was looking up some old 50's sci-fi posters to see what I could find.
Not only are there a ton of movies with amazing space ships, but a lot of these movies were distributed overseas so there are posters in Spanish, Italian, and dozens of other languages!
I had initially considered using a similar rocket style to the one above, but then I thought it might be a whole lot more interesting to just recreate the entire poster in my own style, but keeping all of the original elements.
And it was interesting. And fun. And super-informative. And not just graphically.
Destination Moon (or "Con destino a la Luna" in Spanish) was a movie from 1950 that was based on a story by Robert Heinlein, the master of mid-century sci fi! He even co-wrote the movie with someone names Rip Van Ronkel, which has nothing to do with this post other than that it is one of the coolest names ever.
The plot of the movie is:
"A team composed of an aerospace scientist (Warner Anderson), an ex-Air Force general (Tom Powers) and an industrialist (John Archer) conceive an ambitious plan to land Americans on the moon. From their base in the Mojave Desert, they construct and successfully launch a spacecraft named "Luna" that contains a cargo of four astronauts. But a critical miscalculation of needed power to escape the moon's gravitational pull may put the astronauts' lives in danger."
And perhaps most amazingly, Destination Moon won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects!
It's the longest I've ever spent on one drawing, and it's not perfect by any means. But that is EXACTLY the charm of the 1950's sci-fi movies. They were far from perfect by today's standards, but it was their imperfections that make them so much fun to watch now.
So I guess, in the end, it came out exactly how I was hoping!
I had no idea what I was sketching when I started working on this, but I think it's a continuation of the idea of a robot after an apocalypse, trying to deal with sentient animals as he navigates a new reality.
I liked the idea of a Circle K convenience store in the background, but making it a Circle A (with the anarchy symbol), possibly suggesting what caused the collapse of society? Not sure.
I also liked the idea that the only animals that would hang out with the robot were ones of similar color. I'm not sure why yet.
I'll let you know when I figure it out.
This sketch isn't about anything in particular.
I've just been working on line weight and shading.
Both of which, obviously, need A LOT of work.
And don't even get me started on my lousy, ambiguous, barely defined backgrounds!
I'm still working on the style of robot to go with my story.
I want something that is both a throwback to the 50's idea of robotics, but with a "softer" sense of edges. Something cute, but also metal.
This is a sketch from when the robot, who previously had been the only robot and/or human consciousness on the planet, finds out there is another just like him.
I have been working on some rough sketches of robots lately, for a story I'm developing.
The idea is that an event has happened that has eradicated all humans from the planet. All that is left is the detritus of their technology and possessions. During this time of decay and rebirth animals have become sentient, and the Earth has developed an idyllic equilibrium.
And then one of the robots that had been left unplugged and without a program wakes up.
The antenna on his head becomes bent in such a way that it allows a human consciousness to attach to it, experiencing the world through the robots senses.
So now a human is back, albeit in a different form. And the animals are not happy about it.
So the robot has to learn to navigate not only the new world, and animal attacks, but it is also forced to confront what it means to be a human, a robot, and a consciousness in an evolved world.
Anyway, maybe it'll be something. Maybe not. But since drawing robot sketches is literally one of my favorite things in the world to do, I figured I'd give it a shot.