Finding Samanthasaurus Rex-The Power of Iteration

Added on by suzanne kaufman.
I thought it would be fun to show you a little sneak peak into the character design process of Samanthasaurus Rex.  Below is the first revision.  I wanted to push that she was all brain and keep my original cartoon style.

After the first pass I was given notes.

Design needed to be less generic dinosaur and more like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Change proportions to be less human and more like a real Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Kids are so smart and will instantly notice that Samanthasaurus Rex is visual wrong.  If they feel it is wrong they will not engage in the story.  

What didn't I do.  Yep I didn't do enough research.  Sometimes I get so excited I jump into a project and forget to plan.  Also at the time I was set to do two Dinosaurs books.  Yes two!  I already had been drawing my style of dinosaurs for years and wanted to keep the design for both books the same. Samanthasaurus Rex was for another author and the other is my own book CONFISCATED.  

My lovely Art Director Martha Rago and Editor Donna Bray agreed we could save my original design style for my own book CONFISCATED and create a new design based on research.

Above is a little sneak peak at the character designs for my next book CONFISCATED coming spring 2017.

Research, Drawings, More Research, More Drawings
After a lot of research and drawings Martha and Donna picked Samanthasaurus Rex
out pages of drawings.  As soon as they picked it,  I new she was the one. 

Time to Accessorize.   
After reading this post by Zachariah Ohora on Tara Lazar amazing PIBOIDMO site I added accessorizing to my design pass.   I have really loved doing Picture Book Ideas Month every November.  Hats off to Tara for making such a great thing.

Character Proportions and Action Poses
I like to test my design and proportion against the most extreme action poses in the book.

 Expression Sheets
Expression Sheets from key emotional moments in the book.  

After finalizing Samanthasaurus Rex's design I refine the family to work with her.

Final Art Character Polish
Samanthasaurus Rex wasn't popping against the colorful backgrounds so we added line work to make her pop. I would never have thought of adding line but my Art Director Dana Fritts and Editor saw new line work from my blog and thought it would add the finishing touches.  I love the power of caliboration.

Then I did  all the characters first in the book and check them in a master file for consistency.  After characters were complete I painted all the backgrounds.  My sweet pal Kevan Atteberry was very kind to share this process with me.  

Finally here is a final image of the whole family hugging T-Rex style.  Love the little arms.