I was recently asked about sketch development for the Chilli and Pickles books, so I’ve posted some original drawings along side their final counterparts, to show how illustrations change from initial concept to final print.
There are numerous reasons why pictures change and I have selected a few different ones.
Alterations due to safety concerns
The examples, from Chilli and Pickles Outfox the Fox, show the two dogs putting an ingenious plan together to scare a devious fox away from the chicken coop. The main problem, from an illustration point of view, came with the tin of tomatoes.
Visually, the tin looked better carried by the lid, however, holding onto a serrated edge in a children’s book clearly didn’t work.
After much discussion, we decided it should be held safely sideways and the lid removed completely.
As a result, the final page layout looked like this
Stylistic Sketch Development
The first change to Chilli and Pickles and the Lost Lamb involved making the lamb younger. It looked too much like the other sheep and needed to be smaller and less fluffy.
As a result, Sarah took on board my comments and came up with this version.
The second issue involving taste and continuity
One of the toys Sarah created for the dogs was a squeaky chicken, but as we had the story about the fox and the chickens coming out, it seemed in bad taste. It didn’t feel right that the dogs protected the chickens in one story and held a chicken in their mouth in another – even if it was only a toy.
Therefore the chicken toy was changed to a more suitable teddy bear.
The final illustration is from Chilli and Pickles Save Christmas. Initially I felt the room was too bright, as the scene was set on Christmas Eve and the burglars required a torch to see where they were going. I therefore asked Sarah to make the scene darker.
She did this digitally, using black gradient surrounds to give the essence of real darkness.
Sketch development is a two way process and early communication is the key to achieving successful results. The earlier changes can be suggested, the easier it is for the illustrator to make them.
More information about Sarah Leigh Wills can be found at https://www.happydesigner.co.uk/