BEHIND THE SCENES True Crimes From Rhymes Square Pt. 3 - An epic cast of 30+
The next step after creating our main characters and a sampling for the back cover, which had given us a good template for a character style for the whole book, was to go whole hog. There were over 35 characters in the manuscript, including 9 Jack, five piggies, assorted Kings Horses and Men, and so on.
Spreading visual and cultural diversity was key, as much for the animals as the human characters (each piggie had to be unique). Seven were already figured out, but I had to spend several weeks drawing away in the sketch book figuring out the rest.
Below is a sampling of those sketchbook pages with my wacky sense of humor in my side notes and quotes. Robin Redbreast did not make the final book in words or picture (did make the rough layout sketch options later). The messenger pigeon is a small piece of one bigger image. The Piggie who had None, AKA Penniless Pig and a street hustling bum. Jack Spry imagined as a Scottish Hellion. The King's Men in all of their incompetent finery.
Andy Heidel and Elizabeth Daggar art directed me in this pivotal stage with notes and directions to help shape the characters, but they also let me push some boundaries and throw in a few of my own oddball concepts. The teamwork in this process was quite amazing. We all threw a lot into these characters and it was a great joy spending hours discussing, debating, and finalizing them for this book/pitch. Now that we had our cast, the next phase was mapping out the entire book.