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Character Design – young Amelia Dyer

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.

Young Amelia Dyer G Olivo

Young Amelia Dyer

Young Amelia Dyer G Olivo

Young Amelia Dyer, with old photo effect

Who is afraid of rats?

rats in the basement G Olivo

A few years later, Mrs Dyer met her cruel and despicable fate
When Amelia locked her in the basement, way back in 1848

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.

pet rats

Amadeus and the cow

……        🙂

Animation test

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.


A few years later, Mrs Dyer met her cruel and despicable fate
When Amelia locked her in the basement, way back in 1848

Mrs Dyer’s Demise

No-one heard her deafening screams as she was attacked by rats and fleas

3. the demise

With no means of escape, Mrs Dyer was eaten by vermin with delight and ease.

The above doodles are part of the story board for my “Amelia Dyer” picture book. At this early stage (I’m still in the process of designing the style and characters) anything can and probably will change but it gives me a good foundation on direction, structure and flow of the book.



This monster likes to eat!

I want more

I want more

Alberta is a bookworm!

reading time

reading time

I got a monster in my wardrobe…

Monster in my wardrobe


Young kids and their wonderful imagination!



More of the old Monster

Below are early concept illustrations of my picture book entitled: ‘My Monster’.  I was trying to attempt that old 1970s Polaroid effect and although I think it works pretty well on a computer screen, once I printed the illustrations on paper, it didn’t really look that great.  Now I have completely abandoned that style!  
However, the action as shown on the concept illustrations remains, more or less, the same.
The monster character has had a total re-design as well. Click here  to see the final look of the monster.
G Olivo My Monster G Olivo My Monster 2 G Olivo My Monster 3

Feed the Monster!

Feed the monster

Feed the monster

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