Friday, January 25, 2008

Being Age Appropriate

One thing I've learned as a children's illustrator is being sensitive to your work being age appropriate to the project you are working on. A cute bear you draw might be fitting for a kindergarten book but it might look too young for a 2nd grade book, and vice versa. And of course, you'll need to be able to draw children at different age levels.

For example, here is an initial sketch I did for a math book:
Comment received: too young looking. To make it for a slightly older audience, I've stylized the animals even more, making them less round, the eyes a bit bigger:
The color palette is important to the age appropriate-ness too. For this, I stayed away from my usual color choices and use a more "sophisticated" palette than I am use to:
I hope this is helpful to you as I always love to see someone's behind the scene process. This is something I've picked up along the way as a children's illustrator and was amazed (and surprised) with the intricacies that come along with doing art for children. And I love it!

23 comments:

iSew said...

I'm wondering if your artwork would be age appropriate for my bedroom. hmmm, maybe not. Good thing you aren't selling a lot of art prints on Etsy!

This is a great little glimpse of your process.

Chickengirl said...

Isew: ahh I would like to think my work is also for adults (who are young at heart!) :-)

John Coulter said...

Great post. I always love seeing sketches, revisions and finals.

Rachelle Anne Miller said...

Thanks for this post! Very interesting!

Diana Evans said...

great read Jannie....neat how you show the progression ...

hope you have a wonderful weekend..

I enjoy my visits to your blog...

Cheers,
Diana

Debbie Meyer said...

As always, great information you've passed along. Thanks so much for sharing. Just by giving us a little nugget of wisdom from your journey, you are helping so many and will be rewarded in return. Good for you! (Hey, I just finished watching "The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success" by Depak Chopra on DVD.)

myra said...

That's so cool! Thanks for sharing the process, it's so interesting to get a peek behind the scenes.

Oiyi said...

Very informational even though I am not in your field. Love the new business card design!

nina seven said...

thanks for sharing..it's amazing how a few small changes can make such a big difference. Thanks also for your nice comment on my red riding hood illos.

Digital Scott's illustrationblog said...

Great illustration!

Gis said...

First of all really cool mini article... I do not dedicate myself to illustration but every once and then I am required to do some illustration for my designs, and then this things come handy, specially since what i mostly do i for children :D
In the other hand, id love your work in my bedroom, being 25 and all i think is more than age appropriate! *g*

crystal driedger said...

Isn't all that true though (about age appropriate tweaks making all the difference?). I tend to make my younger children have larger heads (in proportion to their bodies), move their eyes, nose and mouth farther down their head (yup, bigger forehead). Great to see examples with the post.

Oh, and by the way, I'd totally hang your work in my kitchen or bedroom (although I have thoughts that the kitchen might be in more need of you work than my bedroom) ;)

Kathy Weller said...

Excellent post Jannie! Thanks!!

zime said...

Great step-by-step Jan!!! Je adore!!
(^v^)

Natura said...

Very useful information. Thank you for sharing. Had to do the some weeks ago... grow up my illustrations :)

Yours is a perfect example how to do so and beautifully done as always.

Mim said...

Wow - I would have never known the difference, but when you point it out it's very obvious. good luck!

mrs. b. said...

faboo post, Jannie! I get the same comments sometimes, it's such a delicate balance with the younger ages, one or two years makes a huge difference!!

ellencrimitrent said...

I know this story all to often! I get it all the time when I design for products, " can you make it not soo Juvenile?" and of course I have too! Cute illo.

My favorite is that I get someone who loves stuff I did for another client but want a more mature look , but want it to sell as well as the other did. What!! so how is that supposed to work! I am convinced that many art directors have no vision and cannot see the whole picture as an illustrator can. That is not to say there are not very talented ones out there but I run into some beauties!!

Ellen

Anja said...

This has been very helpful. Thanks for sharing it.

sketched out said...

Ah, the tweaking, always the tweaking. I guess it exists in all areas of design and illustration.

Love seeing your solutions. Very helpful and informative. Thanks!

Oh, and both versions...adorable!

Dee said...

Wonderful post Jannie! This is just one of the many things I'm learning as I go along with creating my portfolio. Thanks for the mini-lesson!

platitudinal said...

Great point. I think "older" children are sensitive with anything that make them look baby-ish. There's a set of excellent beginner piano series, and the tweens don't like them because the illustrations are very juvenile.

bonsaifoi said...

That was really insightful, thanks chicken girl! As a fellow children's illustrator I am always drawing by instinct but never really take the time to dissect why I do the things I do.