Ânia Marcos
Ânia Marcos

Bring Your Characters To Life :: Creating a Picture Book From Scratch (Part 4)

This is Part 4 of a series where I share the struggles, failures, and victories that I’ve encountered since I started working on my currently ongoing Picture Book project.

In part 1 of this series, I talk about how I found my theme. In part 2 I share how failure brought me closer to success when developing my story. In part 3 I explore my character design process and today, in part 4, I reveal a method I developed that made my characters come to life…

I understood my characters: Emma and her sister. I knew how they’d react to things, what made them sad or happy, but something was still missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it…

I started to think about my relationship with my elder sister so I could compare it. As I was remembering some experiences we had as children, something hit me:

What memories do my sisters share with each other? What was their past like?

I had no idea! No wonder something was amiss…

As humans, not only we have our own past, but we also share memories with friends and family. Those experiences shape the relationships we have with each other and inform how we interact with the world.

After that realization, I looked at pictures of siblings doing activities together for reference, but that didn’t help. Those images didn’t resonate with me, so I couldn’t use them to get a better grasp on the feelings.

…but how could I get a reference for feelings?

That’s when I picked up my phone and called my mom to ask for all the childhood photos where my sister and I were together.

As I was flipping through the album pages, I could understand Emma and her sister better. Even though our past was different from theirs, the emotions were similar.

Using those photos as reference, I started drawing scenes with my characters… and they finally felt alive.

Me and my elder sister on Christmas day <3

Because I had a deeper understanding of my sisters, I started to make changes to my script once again.

…until one day I had no clue how to keep going. I couldn’t write anything!

Next in this series: how I overcame writer’s block by changing gears on my workflow! o⁄

What precious childhood memories do you have?

…and have any of them influenced your art or stories in any way?

I’d love to hear more about it, so please share in the comment section below!

The reference picture for the cover image of this post 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *