I’m working on a fun picture book project at the moment that’s letting my mind wander into the middle ages.
Our protagonist is a giant (simply known as “Giant”), but he’s not your typical loud-mouthed, boorish giant. This is a giant of refined taste who knows how to hold his utensils properly, who uses a serviette and who is of a kindly nature. He doesn’t slurp, belch or break wind (at least not in good company), and is respectful of the help.
So, how to illustrate Giant... I really wanted to see him in classic giant clothing of the kind that we saw in books when we were kids, which contrasts nicely with all those qualities I mention in the previous paragraph. Perhaps a bit like Bob Homme's Friendly Giant from days of yore (the 1960s), who had that great chair for two to curl up in. But, our Giant has much more exaggerated features and is a foodie / gourmet to the extreme.
The story’s sidekick is a chef (simply known as “Chef”) who is significantly smaller than Giant. Chef’s a bit of a fusspot, a stickler for detail, a nervous Nellie, and truly wants the best for Giant.
I’m having a great time with the settings for our characters – I’ve been researching medieval kitchens, bedrooms, garderobes (but have left that image out), corridors, décor, tapestries, etc. etc. David Macaulay's "Castle" (1977) has been a wonderful reference source (that's where I learned abour garderobes).
Here’s what I’m thinking of for one of the bedroom scenes…
The book will be published by Your Nickel's Worth, and was penned by Saskatchewan author Heather Gatzke for the 10 year-old and under crowd.
It'll be out in 2010-- when the illustrator gets all the final art done...!