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Juana Martinez-Neal

Middle Grade Character Studies

I was recently working on some character studies geared towards middle grade. The characters were *almost* 12 years old.

I’ve mostly worked on younger Picture Book age characters before, so there was some testing to do. In the image below, you will see my three rounds of sketches for the main character. The sketch on the right was the first one. She looks a little too old – about 16. The sketch on the left was my second attempt. She looks a little too young – about 7 years old. The one on the middle was my third attempt. She is just right – *almost* 12.

Middle Grade Character Studies

Main Character at age 7, 12 and 16

Middle Grade Character Studies

Main Character, age 7

Middle Grade Character Studies

Main Character, age 12

I went through a very similar process with the other character studies. On my first attempt, they were a bit too young – about 7. On the second attempt, they were the right age – *almost* 12.

Middle Grade Character Studies

Supporting Characters, age 7

Middle Grade Character Studies

Supporting Characters, age 12

Once the characters were done, I moved on to color samples. Once the characters were done, I moved on to color samples. Again, I was trying a new thing for this age group, so I tried flat colors with no texture. I played with Photoshop, and then with Acrylics. I like how soft the colors look on my Photoshop test. What do you think?

Middle Grade Character Studies

Main Character colored with Photoshop

Middle GradeCharacter Studies

Main Character colored with Acrylics

Next step, testing different colors for the clothing and skin tones: I think I still like the green dress with the teal sweater version the best. Which one is your favorite?

Middle Grade Character Studies

Main Character studies of color on clothing and skin tones

And that, my friends, was my week long Middle Grade investigation. Hope you enjoyed it! :)

 

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Children's book author and illustrator, mami of three, wife, sun aficionado, amateur singer and Margarita lover born in Lima, Peru and living in sunny AZ.

Comments

  • May 2, 2014
    reply

    Alia

    Beautiful! Like watching them grow.

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