Today, we’re delighted to bring you an exclusive Q&A with Todd Harris, the illustrator for Christopher Healy’s The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. Thanks to Todd for stopping by today!
Tell us a bit about your process illustrating the HERO’S GUIDE books. Do you get pages/passages from Chris, and then start sketching? How does it work?
I get the whole book and I get to read it before everyone else!! (Neiner neiner) I don’t have a lot of time to spend reading, so I’ve worked out a good arrangement with my wife. She reads to me while I draw it. We both love it. When creating new characters, it’s important to understand the character – their background, personality, etc. After this, I’ll usually look around on the internet a little bit to find comparable images. Then I start with really loose, gestural drawings until I feel I’ve “found” the character. Details come in at a later stage.
I try to pay attention to details about clothing, hair, etc. Sometimes my imagination runs wild, though, and I miss some things. Or sometimes my “mistakes” will get approved. The author has even rewritten details a few times to match what I drew.
I usually start with at least 2 or 3 sketches of a character. If I go below that I almost always regret it. Even if the first sketch is the best, it’s always important to challenge yourself and see what else you can come up with. Even if the first one was the best, it’s helpful to see others to get that confirmation.
What’s been the biggest challenge illustrating the HERO’S GUIDE books? What’s been the best part?
Biggest challenge: TIME! I am juggling dozens of jobs (only a small exaggeration), so it’s just hard to find time to squeeze this in. Best part: When my illustrations bring additional life and personality to what the author described. I also love having the partnership of cool people – the author and my wife. 🙂
Which of the Princes has been your favorite to draw, and why? Are there any other characters that you’d say are your favorites to draw?
Easy! Duncan! He’s the most like me! He is just always doing dorky things, which cracks me up. I love the animals, trolls, monsters. I loved illustrating Rapunzel when her hair was long because it was fun to find design in it.
I really adore the illustrations in the HERO’S GUIDE books. Where else can we see your work?
Most of my work is hiding out in various video games around the world. You can see some of my work on my blog.