Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Progression of Character by Hazel Mitchell

Welcome to April! It's my turn to GLOG this week and I have had an exciting week.

First 'How to Talk to an Autistic Kid' by Daniel Stefanski, illustrated by me and published by Freespirit Publishing, went on sale this week. It's a fun book with a serious message. The author is a 14 year old autistic boy and in the book he shares what it's like to deal with people who are unsure how to talk to someone with Autism. Whether you are in contact with someone who is Autistic, or know someone who is, this is an informative and sometimes humorous book. It would also make a great gift for a school or library!

Learn more about the book on Amazon

It was also really cool as I got to do the lettering for the cover and chapter titles too.

Second - I just got back from the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program (my mentor was illustrator (and National Illustration Co-ordinator for SCBWI) Priscilla Burris. I have been working with her for 6 months. It has been awesome and if your an illustrator or writer I recommend you check out the next program. Also check out my Facebook page/blog for more information.

So! Here are some of the sketches of the progression of the character drawings for Daniel in the book ...

 Here's where we started ...

 Tried it with grayscale tints ....
 Then we tried a more sketchy outline and realistic look.
Hmm. It wasn't working, so Steven Hauge (art director) asked me to make him much more simplified and cartoony. I also made his limbs and neck thinner and his head slightly larger to make him look a little younger. I used a felt tip brush pen. Then scanned in the drawing and tinted in photoshop.
 We were almost there ... but the hair looked too much like a helmet ...

 So I tried some different styles, and bingo, we had a personality! Number 2 was what we went with.

 Here's the finished look. The illustrations throughout were tinted grayscale and teal as a spot colour. Overall it gives the book a retro feel that is easy on the eye.

It was great fun and a pleasure to work with Daniel Stefanski and Free Spirit Publishing.

 OH! One last shout out! PIXEL SHAVINGS artists sent out their first group postcard mailing this week.
If you would like one or would like to be added to our mailing list please contact us.

Hazel Mitchell

Thanks for visiting Pixel Shavings this week.
Find more of my work online at


  1. Nice post Hazel! Nice to see the revision process, especially after meeting the author at the book signing here in Minnesota this last week! Congrats again!

  2. Very interesting to see how your sketches evolved into the final character. Thanks!