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Evolution of the Bear

This year I had been working on sketches, color studies and final art for my upcoming Spring 2012 book, The Bear Went Over the Mountain.  Please have a look at my evolving bear:

This was an early sketch. I envisioned the bear as a cub, cuddly as a plush toy:

Another sketch of the cub:

Here is a sketch from the storyboard:

Here it is in color. Bear is now more bearlike. I like this one:

Another storyboard sketch:

And here it is in color:

Playing around with a new look-  a more cartoony bear, painted on a hot-pressed water color paper (as opposed to the cold-pressed I usually use.)

Trying out collage. I don’t like it. A lot of work. Messy and sticky. I’m not good at it:

Going for a simpler collage. Too simple. No light, no depth. Not my thing:

Still working out the bear- this time with more textured fur:

Not so sure I like him…

Let’s see how he looks in a setting. I used a rougher surfaced watercolor paper. Too much texture I think.

I’m still not happy with how the bear looks. I browse lots of  books with photos of black bears, I watch youTubes and I google images. I want my bear to look more real, not so much like a stuffed animal. I also decide to make him a little older- like a yearling going off on his own. After all, a cub would not wander off over the mountain all by himself. Mama would surely be nearby. Here are some sketches of an older bear:

I like him. He’s still cuddly but has some personality. Now I’m getting somewhere. And so is he. This is a final painting of page 27:

Please look for my book in Spring 2012!

You might also like Book Art in Progress

Do you like the way my bear evolved? Does this look like a book you’d like to read to your little one(s)? I’d love to hear your thoughts!













About the author

Iza Trapani I am a children's book author and illustrator, fan of Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss, lover of big dogs, aspiring yodeler. When not in my studio, I spend time outdoors and have climbed over many a mountain to see what I could see.

8 Responses to Evolution of the Bear

  1. ania says:

    I love him! So much so that I can barely take it! The colore are wonderful and so are the sketches…Seems like you are getting down to bear tactics with each evoulution. I can bearly contain myself with glee!

  2. Susanna says:

    This is fascinating, Iza. It’s so interesting to see the evolution of art. As a writer only, I do think visually, but in terms of the big picture, not necessarily the minutiae, like the quality of fur or the texture of paper. I think in terms of what possibilities exist for the illustrator, and sometimes there are elements that must appear to support the story, but that is not the same as agonizing over exact color. Thanks for sharing.

    And yes! I would certainly want to share this with my little ones 🙂

  3. Iza Trapani says:

    Thank you, Susanna. it is a lot of work. But, as you well know, the writing is equally hard, and goes through many evolutions. Paring it down, moving the plot forward from page to page, choosing the perfect words, considering the imagery… Someone said that children’s books are the Mt. Everest of writing (or something like that) It’s true! And you certainly do write with the pictures in mind. Your words inspire such beautiful imagery- as evidenced in your stunning books!

  4. Stasha says:

    This is going to be another all time favorite! He is adorable. Love how you share your process! Off to show it to your biggest fan 🙂

  5. Venus says:

    What a cool insight into how this process works! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m definitely interested in your book. 🙂

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