Basis for a Boy

Hey, I’ve just had an epiphany! Since this blog purports to be about art, maybe I should post some!

Okay, I’ve been doodling children lately… err… wait… that doesn’t sound right. Let me start again…

Well, as you may know, I’ve been working on concepts for a children’s book, so lately I’ve been drawing children, especially boys, since a little boy will be the protagonist of my first book. There are so many different ways to draw a child, and it’s taken a lot of experimentation to find a character I feel happy with. A few weeks ago I was at work, when I rather absentmindedly drew him:

I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I love this drawing! Of the hundreds of little doodles I’ve made, this one stands apart. I find this boy visually striking (yet simple) and filled with personality.

“Personality?” you ask.

“Yes, personality,” I say.

“But he’s just standing there with a blank look,” you say.

“IDIOT!!” I scream!

It’s easy to draw an over-the-top character with some big, dumb smile; it’s an art to portray more nuanced emotions like indifference, world-weariness, or silent wonder. And this expression fits my character – it is my character – because he is the observer in a strange and wonderful world. The quiet witness of a bizarre cast of characters. He may look rather unassuming, but to me he’s alive.

The above drawing is my basis for a boy. He may change and evolve over time, but don’t we all? Just yesterday I got another favorable image of him (didn’t have paper handy, so he’s on the back of a greeting card), and already he’s changed. The main difference here is his nose. It’s more rounded and less crooked. I think I like it a little bit crooked. I’ll be working on this aspect.

The biggest challenge for me right now is learning to draw him consistently. Just because you draw a character once doesn’t mean you can replicate it with it’s original spirit. It becomes especially difficult when the character is in action poses or viewed from alternative angles.

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