The Fox and The Crow: Children's Book Illustration

I have been working on illustrations for the Fox and the Crow and I'm pleased to have finished the above double page spread.

I began the project by reading and re-reading the fable, picking out and roughly sketching anything that stood out to me and any images that popped into my head. I decided to begin with the part of the story where the fox decides he wants the cheese and puts his plan in motion to get it. I felt this part captured key characteristics of both the fox and crow the most and had a lot to work with.

The Fox - Bright eyes, bushy tail, black paws
The Crow - Arched beak, black glossy feathers

After some brain storming I noted the key physical attributes needed for my fox and for my crow. I then noted the key things I wanted to convey in the images I showed:

The Fox, Mr Reynard
Swarve and charming, he takes a moment to think up a cunning plan to effortlessly get the cheese he wants from the crow.

Mistress Crow
Sat in her tree, her home, she lavishes the flattery and complements. Quick to believe the compliment bestowed upon her! Feminine, vein and perhaps a little gullible.

With the above in mind. I began sketching ideas for the scene and poses and expressions of the characters. Creating variations of the eyes, eyebrows and paw/hand of the fox I experimented with his expressions.

Once I decided up the most suitable parts to pull together from my sketches, created vectors of my characters in Illustrator using my sketches as a guide. I decided to redraw the main elements of the scene in illustrator, working in layers which I could easily move around and edit until I had everything positioned as I wanted it. The lettering was created by hand, scanned and vectorised before importing into Photoshop to position.