Friday, April 20, 2007

Can a children's book character be two different colors?

I have always loved the cartoon, 'Gerald McBoing Boing' (if you haven't seen it, do so at... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNsyQDmEopw ). In the cartoon, the colors of the scene AND THE CHARACTERS are dictated more by mood than by realism. An element of clothing, hair, or accessory stays consistent in color scheme throughout to provide some continuity and familiarity. I have always loved this look.

As an experiment for a children's book dummy I am writing/illustrating, I wanted to see if this color approach would work in illustration. WOULD KIDS UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NOT A NEW CHARACTER? WOULD PUBLISHERS BE SHY ABOUT THIS BOOK SELLING FOR THAT REASON (even if kids didn't have a problem with it)?

YOU DECIDE!







Here are three examples. Two are interior scenes, both in the kitchen. The other is in the backyard. (Don't try to follow along with the storyline too much - these illustrations jump around - basically it's about a 5 year-old boy who is reluctant to stop sucking his thumb).

7 comments:

Serapio Calm said...

Wow! Your paintings rock. I'm glad I'm not the only one who cherished D&D rulebooks.

aintshakespeare said...

The color of the boy in the last picture is easily understandable as environmental. He's green, the grass is green. In the first two pictures his color change is barely noticable.

Without seeing any other pictures I'd say this will work fairly well, if you pull it off as you did in the green picture. The other traits, such as his eyes and hair, and of course the backpack and shoes, will provide the continuity, as you suggested.

william wray said...

I never make characters the same color as the background-- They blend in to much. think complementary colors.

Alina Chau said...

I love the style, so much fun. Now I am curious about the whole story.

Elisa said...

I love Gerald McBoing Boing too. I think the change of colors works very well and that it looks great. To me the the strong character design would make it obvious that it is the same character. Good luck! It's neat to see the process posts too.

Gina Perry said...

I still think this is a great concept and seems clear even from a few finishes. I wonder if there are other examples of characters (besides McBB) that change color like this....

talesfromanopenbook said...

Illustration in picture books is more than just having a character move around a page in different scenarios. The pictures should say something about the story that isn't being said in the text to help move the story along or to give the reader just a bit more information about a character.

Changing the color of a character throughout will work if it makes sense to the story.....if he is somehow affected by his environment. But for pure amusement, to change a character's color just for fun, would only really make sense if the book was funny or trying to make some other big point. Why else would you do it?