While I wait to hear from my art director about the thumbnails, I can begin to think about the main character of the book, brother Hugo. What will he look like? How old is he? Is he tall or short, thin or fat? While working up some of the sketches for the samples, I try a few different looks. In one he is a tall, slightly heavy man in his 4o’s. In another he is a young man with a boyish face. None of them seemed quite right.
My wife and I were invited to a fourth of July picnic and there I “met” Hugo. He was the son of our hosts, visiting with his wife and little girl. I had met him before , but hadn’t seen him in years. He is tall and quite thin with very angular facial features. The minute I saw him I thought, “This guy looks like a monk- he could be Hugo”. With him as a model, I began filling in a back story ( Hugo was new to the monastery. He was intelligent. He was maybe a bit of a dreamer or looked that way because he never got enough sleep with all the religious services to attend and chores to perform. The meals perhaps were a bit low in calories and nutrients). Any way, when I got back home after the picnic I sketched a headshot of him on my magic slate. A magic slate is a product I have used for years, going back to my childhood. It is a cardboard pad with a waxy, dark upper surface. On top of that is attached a thin pale gray sheet of acetate. On top of that is attached a thicker sheet of clear acetate. Using a plastic stylus, one can draw pictures and then erase them by lifting the sheets.