Friday, 4 March 2011

Hamble, Felix, Elsie, Ernie

Well, I was sketching out characters, and these two popped up.

Hamble and Felix Hamshanks.
Hamble dines exclusively on strips of salted beef and lemon juice, her husband Felix, subsists on whisky and dried prunes.
And here they are.
I think if I need a couple of baddies, these two might be it.
They make a dastardly living stealing pet rabbits, making them into slippers, and selling them to rich clients.
The dastardly cads.


Would it be ok to feature them in an illustration aimed at early readers, to go in my portfolio, or are they a bit too creepy, OR, would it be a good thing to vary my portfolio with them even if they are a bit creepy?
Do you think they would they be suitable for children's books as they are, or should I make them a bit more charicatured and fun?
Any thoughts would be welcomed :)

Below are two slightly more friendly looking old characters, this is Elsie Hotterpoppercot, and Ernie Bramble.
Elsie makes the scones, Ernie makes the jam.


  1. I'm afraid I've no advice. I've given up guessing what is and isn't acceptible! I think they're great though, if that's any help at all!

  2. Ahhh...I think they look great! Such great characters, and such brilliant names and quirks! I love it. DEFINITELY use them, I think there's nothing better than a creepy old baddie in children's story...most kids can relate (especially when balls or toys fly into their gardens...) and the evil, evil Mr. Gumm series is doing amazing with children...they're great baddies (although I'm a big fan of sinister, and often get told off for it, hah)

  3. Funny characters! I'm not an art director, nor have I ever had a portfolio review with one, so I don't feel equipped to give specific portfolio advice. But I just gotta say, I think the portfolio you have on your website is outstanding. I love the way you lay out your pages. The shapes are beautifully dynamic, and infused with so much story, character, humor and feeling. The interactions among characters speak volumes, just through gesture and placement. And the expressions are just right. I think any children's book AD or editor with his/her faculties intact should snap you up at the sight of it! But that doesn't exactly help you with your question, now does it? Oh well, sorry. :)

  4. They look wonderfull! Although as bad guys they could maybe look a bit more grumpy or evil.
    Dont worry about kids being scared by them, although if you include their profesion in any story, yeah then you might get some teary eyes and angry mothers ;-)

  5. Hamble's pursed up mouth and scrunched up eyes are great. You can just see the years of salt and sour juice intake are taking their toll. And Felix's (literally) long face and slumped position are good too, very expressive. I don't think it would be a bad thing to put creepy characters in your portfolio, and perhaps they could be even creepier ... rabbit fur slippers are such a wicked invention.

    And Hotterpoppercot - excellent name!

  6. Thanks guys, thanks for the lovely feedback :)
    I think, then, that I will pursue a portfolio picture featuring the Hamshanks.
    And probably try and write a story featuring Elsie Hotterpoppercot, just cos I really like her name.

  7. Hey, Jon! They are soooo coool!!!! :-D
    Tell Ernie that I have signed up to the fan club of his jam! :-DDDDDD
    Incredible! They are so cool that I want to hug all!
    SUPER! These are such cool characters and alive!
    I love Them! Top STUFF!

  8. Ha! These are great, love the beginnings of a story too :)

  9. A great set of a characters. They all have such strong personalities!

  10. Go with it sir! Wonderful characters which, if a tad too extreme for kiddiwinks (who knows, every kid is different) you could always tone down with a comic bow tie or a sidekick dog (bad ideas both... but you get the idea). Go with your gut... the debate makes me think Roald Dahl... and look where it got him!