The book is called (for now) Gilbert's Universe and is written by Andy Briggs. This will be aimed at 3 to 6 year olds. There's been a few delays sorting out the contracts which was annoying as I started the work before Christmas and produced most of the initial concept drawings.
Initially I try not to be too controlled with concept work. After gathering some reference material I work quickly and loosely while trying to get an idea of the look and the colours.
Next I start to refine a little.
For characters I tried different proportions but decided on the more cartoony ones with the bigger heads. From this I tried to rough out the expressions of the characters that can be found through the story.
For the creature I draw out the animal that the author had based it on just so I get an idea of the creatures structure. In this case it's a lizard. It might not end up looking like a real lizard but I have to be comfortable and familiar with the creature I draw. Something else that helps is to make a maquette (model) so I can look at it from different angles.
Developing the space ship was a little tricky. The author had wanted it to be based on a small car and built out of junk with a washing machine in the back some where.
In the initial stages I felt the vehicle was too recognisable as a car. To get round this I started using the back of the car as the front. This way elements of a car is still clearly recognisable, also the kids flying the ship should be more visible.
I started the thumbnails after the concept work and I spend quite a bit of time on this, constantly drawing over and over it before finally going over each one in pen to pick out the details. In fact I spent more time on this than the above concept work. For me it's really important to layout the book before finalising the page. Also I never feel comfortable drawing a page from scratch I continually revise and amend the layout. There will be some in the thumbnails that I'm not entirely happy with, but having something down allows me to look it over and keep thinking about it before I start the finished roughs.
Concepts and thumbnails were sent to the publisher after the contract was finalized and I've since been given the green light to carry on.