The Last Viking Returns

Creating the character of Knut- part 2

2 Comments

The first version of Josh/Knut had a huge nose. I made a small clay sculpture which seemed to be cute… but when I translated it into drawings his nose was enormous.

sculpture and sketches

big-nose sculpture and sketches

big nose version image 1

You can pick your friends...

 big nose version image 2

...and you can pick your nose...

big nose version image 3

...but you can't pick your friend's nose.

His character was starting to come through here- alternately brave and afraid, with his faithful Viking dog Wolverine by his side. But the nose had to go, it’s far too big for a young boy.

Character design tip-
Did you know that our ears and noses continue to grow for our whole lives? Babies and kids have small ears and noses compared to their head size, but older people have much bigger noses and ears. If you draw a character with big ears and a big nose, it will make them seem older. Unless of course your character is a baby elephant. In this case I’d recommend making their eyes much bigger than usual. The babies of all animals have bigger eyes than the adults, compared to their head size. Except those blind cave fish, they don’t have any eyes. And tadpoles, they’ve got tiny eyes. And… sorry where was I?

Right, yes, I was getting rid of Knut’s big nose.

The next version of Knut is the ‘pointy-chin’ version, you can see his nose is much smaller:

pointy-chin-version-detail

I’ll show you some more of this version next week, including an early watercolour sample.

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Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. His books include 'The Amity Kids Adventures', 'In The Lion', 'The Last Viking'. A couple of these books have won awards. People have also bought copies, and for that he is grateful. His new book 'The Last Viking Returns' is out now. Follow James at www.facebook.com/jamesfoleyillustrations , @James_R_Foley on twitter and instagram or at www.jamesfoley.com.au

2 thoughts on “Creating the character of Knut- part 2

  1. Hi James, just wondering, do you always make a clay model for your characters? Philippa, Bencubbin

    • Hi Philippa,

      I tend to these days, for main characters at least. I haven’t done any models for the parents or grandparents or Gods in the story, only Knut. I will do one of Wolverine though. Really it’s a chance for me to fuss over ‘getting a character right’ and be all perfectionist 🙂

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