I decided to write a children's book for my little nephew Austin a few months ago. I have two reasons for doing this: 1. My brother was complaining about not liking the books he was reading to Austin, and 2. because I've always wanted write a book of some sort. This is Austin's first year in 6 pictures. (For more on Austin visit my sister-in-law's excellent blog: http://asliceofpye.weebly.com/)
Austin started walking this month. So it won't be long before he is enjoying listening to books rather than trying to tear them apart. I've decided to make a book about the childhood experiences of my brother and I with sheep. Our family started with a flock of less than ten sheep when I was 6. That flock grew quite quickly to standing population of about 70 sheep which were sold when I was 16. Sheep weren't as profitable as my father had hoped, but it was a great way for my brother and I to learn about responsibility, and even our own nature (since people are rightly compared to sheep). Its no secret; sheep are stupid. I was going to use that as my title, but Austin is allowed to hear the word "stupid". I hadn't thought about it before, but its probably not a good word for a little kid to be learning or using. So, my new working title is "Silly Sheep". I've got most of the story planned out, but I won't spoil it here. Instead I'll be sharing my progress on the illustrations, which I'll be mainly making in the 3D computer program Blender. Blender is a powerful freeware program that I've already used in several commercial projects, in school, and at work. If you're interested, check it out at www.blender.org, but be warned, it has a very steep learning curve.
I was hoping to make illustrations of a Pixar-esque quality in blender, so I looked for illustrations of cartoon sheep. Most were pretty boring or weird. I got some inspiration for my first drawing from the llama in Disney's, The Emperor's New Groove. I think I'm going to call my cartoon sheep Dandelion. Here's my first drawing of Dandelion:
Still a little bit llama-like... Next I cleaned up the design in Adobe Illustrator and generated a front and side view for creating the 3D model.
That's probably enough for the first post. In the next post I'll show some of my experiments with creating wool for the sheep, texture painting the eyes, and cleaning up the hooves. Anything you'd like to see? Any suggestions?