Saturday, March 15, 2008

Considering the Target Audience - The Issue of Character and Style

Recently, I dusted off an old idea that I thought would be a good “assignment” for myself. It’s one thing to invent a character and move on, and another to actually carry them through an entire picture book. My target audience for this project is kids 4-9 years old who are moving into homeschooling – kind of a “get ready for school” book from the homeschooler’s perspective (the issues are completely different).

Anyway, I found myself struggling to determine the style I wanted to work in. I’m drawn toward wanting to do unusual characters (lots of that in my sketchbook). However, they can sometimes come across as a little dark or unsettling. This book is meant to be positive and encouraging, and to represent real-life experiences that kids could easily associate with.

Since I want it to appeal to a range of ages, I figured it should be fun and colorful without being TOO cartoony and babyish. On the other hand, I don’t want anything too serious, “textbookish,” and dull. (Maybe I could have picked an easier first project)

Well, I came up with some characters (done in ink with watercolor washes) that I kind of like. They’re fun and colorful, but I’m not sure if they’re borderline too cartoony. I think I’ll try to do some studies placing the characters within a setting – perhaps then I could see it as more of a whole, and that will help me decide if I should push them toward the “real” a little more.

In this post, I’m showing 2 of the 3 characters – the older brother (aprox. 12 years old) and the youngest sister (aprox. 5 years old). The main character I’ll address in a future post.

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