Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
-- Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

Illustrating My Book - I Finally Start

A number of years ago I wrote a few stories. I was planning to submit them to publishers in the hopes of becoming a "real' author. Recently, I finally began the process of developing images for one of the books.

The story I am working on is called "The Red-headed Roadrunner", a retelling of the classic story of "The Little Red Hen" with a Southwestern Latin spin. My plan is to use "stuffed animal" characters in desert settings to illustrate the pages. I have an old 3D program that I had used once to make an animated video. Unfortunately, it kept crashing when I tried to create a furry, texture-mapped stuffed animal.

I looked around and found a complex but powerful 3D modeling program called Blender. After messing with and reading a lot about how to use it, I finally jumped in with both feet. My first goal was to see if I could make a realistic stuffed animal. Here are my first attempts. You can click on each image for a larger view.

This is the very first one I tried. The toy is pretty furry and just a very basic shape. I used a desert image I found online. I just wanted to make sure I could get close to faking the lighting before spending too much time on the model. It looks close enough that I decided to go further.

For this next one, I actually went out and took my own picture. I used a couple real stuffed toys to see if I could come close to matching them in quality and believability. My hope is that someone looking at this would find it difficult to figure out which one is not real. It definitely needs some tweaking, but I am pretty happy with the result so far! The next step is to finish my "star" model, then move on to the props needed to tell the story. I also need to scout some locations for the background pictures. This is going to be a big project!

(Last modified:04/19/2010)


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