I've just started taking a class on illustrating children's books. The first assignment was to copy 4 characters that we like from other people's books, as well as 1 character that we don't like. Here are my offerings: Copying the baby from Binky turned out to be the hardest. I thought it would be the easiest. Getting just the right take on each black line was very difficult, and the subtleties of his body placement/gestures were very hard to capture.
I thought the Forest Princess would be the hardest. She was actually one of the easier characters to render, but the medium, pure pen and ink, was brutal. I had no way to cover up my mistakes.
Sendrak the sorcerer was the most fun character. His whimsical hat and shoes and the little stars on his coat really appealed to me.
Stamp-collecting trollusk makes me laugh just looking at him. Working on this drawing, I felt Mercer Mayer is probably the best illustrator of all that I picked because his line-work is so precise. My version is much sloppier than his because I don't have the practice/patience to make mine line up just so.
This is the character I don't like--Critter from Mercer Mayer's Little Critter series. After drawing him, I decided he's really not so bad, but I really don't like the overall art in the books. Maybe it's too cartoonish, too bland, to representational.
What I learned: In every single case, the quality/style of the black outlines was the number one most important element. For the Stamp Collecting Trollusk, I had to try three different black pens to get it right. You can see where I started with too thick of a pen on the trollusk's ear. Yet that same thick pen was perfect for Mayer's Critter.
I also learned that I'm a better renderer than I thought. The more I did, the faster it went and the more confident I became. This was a valuable exercise.