Designing a witch!
When I first started thinking about Willisa, the witch in my picture book, I knew I didn’t want her to look like a typical witch. You know; long black hair, green skin, big pointy nose, black clothes, striped witch-tights, pointy witch hat, a cat companion, etc. The only traditional witch paraphernalia that I wanted in Willisa was a flying broom.
But I didn’t have much success in designing a new kind of witch. No matter how much I tried, it just didn’t work. I ended up with a witch that has pretty much the same characteristics as your traditional witch.
I kept the long black unruly witch hair. I didn’t make her skin green but I gave her a pointy witch-nose and a pointy witch hat! She may not have a cat companion, but she does wear an outfit that has cat paws all over it. A subtle (?) reference that she does love her cats maybe?
In terms of her personality, I imagine Willisa young and very outgoing, full of energy and with a positive outlook in life. Willisa is not an evil witch, she can be mischievous, as most people with a young mind tend to be, but I did write her as naïve. And it is her naivety and her inabilities to foresee the consequences of her actions that lands poor little Pete in huge trouble and drives the plot of my story.
If you observe children on a monkey bar or playing on a balance bar, you will note that more often than not they’re fearless, blissfully unaware of any danger. Gymnasts have a fierce attitude and look amazingly confident when performing. I wanted to combine these two qualities in Willisa; the child and the professional. So to convey her youthfulness, confidence and child-like energy, I decided that, whenever Willisa appears in my book she will be riding her flying broom posed in a way only a professional gymnast would be able to pose, but with the facial expression of an excited child.