The main challenge in illustrating Amelia is that she goes from baby to a grown-up woman in about 850 words, less than two A4 pages. In a quick series of illustrations she transforms from baby to toddler to teenager and finally to a grown-up. I want the reader to be able to immediately identify her in the illustrations and I thought that one way of doing this is by giving her an easily recognisable trait; like Pippi Longstocking-inspired plaits. Now I still need to design Amelia as a grown-up, and those plaits might look ridiculous on an adult. If they do I’ll just give her another trait, like big crooked teeth.
Not me, I love them. But I think Mrs Dyer has a pretty good reason for being petrified of rats. My illustration (and animation) is finally starting to take shape.
And speaking of rats, my sister and I had two pet rats many, many years ago. I named mine Amadeus (the black rat on the left in the pic below) but my sister just couldn’t decide on a name for hers, so I started calling it “the cow” (it had the same distinctive colour markings as a Holstein cow) and the name just stuck. Rats are incredible pets. They are very intelligent and loving. My rat was so comfortable around me; it would fall asleep on my shoulder.
I have decided to animate parts of my picture book “Amelia Dyer” for my website and this is a short animation loop. This is the scene where Mrs Dyer is locked in the basement and that square thing behind her is the basement door reference.