Monday, January 11, 2016

Making of the Characters for "O Gato e O Macaco" (The Cat and The Monkey)

Last year I illustrated the picture book "O Gato e O Macaco"  (The Cat and The Monkey) written by João Manuel Ribeiro and published by Trinta Por Uma Linha in Portugal.

The picture book is in Portuguese and I was given an English translation by the publishers to illustrate.  One day I hope to learn Portuguese!!
I will share the long step-by-step process of the Characters, Storyboarding and Final Artwork in the next three blog posts.
First, I was given the manuscript by João Manuel Ribeiro.  The story was simple with two main characters taking place inside a house.  The text was mostly dialog between the Cat and the Monkey, conveying the relationship between the two personalities, the gullible Cat and the sly and smart Monkey.
I thought about comedic pairs, such as Ren and Stimpy:

Laurel and Hardy:

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I thought about size relationship and decided the Monkey will be skinny and the Cat will be fat. Silhouette was also very important.

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I painted loose sketches with watercolor and drew with my five year old nephew.

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I studied my friend's house cat (Rafi).  I also studied some lemurs at the Bronx Zoo:

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I looked at illustrations, engravings, and photos of monkeys and cats on the internet. The key was to understand the way they move their bodies and their animal mannerisms.

In addition to pictures, I watched a great documentary from PBS Nature about monkeys in Japan called, "Snow Monkeys".  These monkeys survive in the cold weather by bathing in natural hot springs during the winter months. They spend a lot of time grooming each other and the little ones ride on the older monkey's backs.

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Also, inspiration came from photos of family friends:

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