I actually began the initial sketches for this piece about a month ago. I began work on it in tandem with re-launching the process of tailoring my overall portfolio in a way that (I hope) will broaden my appeal to a wider variety of clients.
It recently was brought to my attention by a couple of well respected fellow creatives that , to date, my portfolio has yet to include anything that would not potentially frighten a small child.
Point taken. ;)
I'll be the first one to admit that a bit of what influences me harkens back to my own favorite viewing experiences with kid-centric entertainment. I definitely spent a lot of my formative years watching countless episodes of "Tiny Toon Adventures", "Darkwing Duck", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" -- among many other kid's cartoon shows. Being a somewhat overgrown child myself, it's hard for those types of influences to not creep into my own work from time to time. ;)
However, I'll also be the first to own up to the fact that despite the fact that much of what kids are exposed to today is tame when compared to some of my work, my target demographic isn't necessarily young children.
This posed an interesting challenge for me when it came down to researching potential internships/jobs that are known for more kid friendly fare. Even though my aesthetic sometimes has more to do with bizzare demented cuteness with a little splash of cynicism , I'm not completely against catering to a slightly more innocent sensibility.
In fact, it's been kind of a fun challenge for me to work on a project that is just cute for cute's sake. I'm sure I'm more than capable of illustrating to a younger clientele while keeping a look and feel that is distinctively my own....right?
Well, is what I am currently trying to figure out. This notion leads us to the above illustration in progress. The above illustration is actually the first in a series of 3 children's book cover mock ups. The other two book cover designs will be for "The Ugly Duckling" and " The Pied Piper".
Like I said before, it's thus far been an interesting challenge to create something that is geared towards smaller kids while still keeping my own design sensibility and without making it somehow disturbing . ;)
"The Princess and the Pea" book cover pictured above is far from done. For one thing, I'm not totally sure that the color pallet depicted above is going to be the same when I get to the final version of this piece. I have a feeling that some of the colors will definitely change along the way.
All that I know for certain in terms of the color pallet is that I want to use a lot of pastels. Overall, I want to keep the color much softer than what I would normally use for a more personal project.
In any case, this hopefully gives you a fair idea of where I am headed with this thing. Although I am keeping the 'children's book' series fairly straight forward concept-wise, I have been working hard to find new ways to compositionally frame the key character(s) in a different way from other book covers that I've researched for the same story.
I'm not sure if I've been completely effective thus far in doing that. However, this is (at the very least) giving my creative problem solving skills a much needed work-out. I can't wait to unveil the finished illustration set when everything is finally done. :)