How Lovable Children’s Book Characters Are Created

Hedgehog expressions and his wifey
Hedgehog expressions and his wifey

Hopefully this will help other artists our there to create children’s book characters kids will love.

Who does not love hedgehogs?  They are just adorable. Reading Grimm’s “The Hedgehog and the Hare”,  I was energized to begin some sketches and see what he might look like. I LOVE creating a children’s book characters  and would like to share my sketch book process with the steps I take to “find” the characters. It is kind of like an investigation or an exploration.

Without time spent researching, characters can begin to look similar and boring. A fresh take on a hedgehog, robot or raindrop is what I am seeking in the sketch work. Once I have a basic sketch, I will look into how a hedgehog moves. Rendering movement well helps to create believable characters.

Ways to sketch interesting characters (animals, children, robots, etc.) :

  • Reference what they look like, from the internet, books and videos
  • Create a picture file
  • Try not to draw from the images directly (this will help keep drawings from appearing stiff), but once carefully studied, draw from your imagination.




Because Mr. Hare is a somewhat a high brow type of fellow, I will need to think about his day wear as a distinguished gentleman….


Adding a coat with tails, some ruffles and a spectacle adds some flare to Mr. Hares clothing….


Hedgehog expressions and his wifey

Get familiar with what “look” you want and soon the characters personality will begin to emerge. Mr. Hedgie, strikes me as calm, level headed but kind, but do not overlook the fact that he has 5000 spines and can be tough when he needs to be!


Bringing in some line work and Color…..

Time for some ink work….waterproof ink with quill pen with watercolors and a touch of Prismacolor pencils.


Seems like this character would be suitable to be illustrated in pen and ink, watercolors and even in pencil. As a result, rendering this character in pen and ink would also work well for chapter books.  Hence, the line work could be great fun, unpredictable and  delightful!

Location, Location, Location….

Finally, I need to create a home the for  hedgies, What would it look like? hedgehogs are known for there clever ways of turning everyday items into homes, clay flower pots, old baskets and wood piles…but I think it suits them better to place them in a homey wooden bird feeder. This sketch shows Hedgies heading to a new home in Mushroom Mill,  somewhere just beyond Spiny Hollow.

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