Naturally, The first place to begin when making a book like this is to choose the animals that will go into it! I don’t really do this in any particular order, I just find animals I like from each color and type. It’s a little bit slow working on this and also juggling two jobs, but I’ll try to pick a new animal each week until the pages have all been filled out. Above is the rough layout sketch I used for the creature I just finished.
The first animal I chose was the Black Rain Frog. I chose it because it looks so goofy! The more I learned about this animal the more adorable it seemed! It has a perpetually grumpy looking expression. It can puff itself up into a ball, but when deflated it is still extremely round. It does so for a variety of adorable reasons. It makes burrows in the ground, and seals itself in by inflating. Despite being a frog it cannot swim, so instead it inflates itself and floats if it falls in the water. Most adorable of all, when it feels threatened it will puff itself up into a ball and lets out a war cry that sounds for all the world like a squeaky toy!
Drawing this creature was harder than it seemed it was going to be. The outline and coloring phases were fairly easy; as you can see in the rough sketch it is little more than a circle with legs, and there are no colors other than black on the creature. However the creature is shiny and covered in tiny bumps, so it was more of a challenge to do the shading. I ended up having to create very high contrast between the highlights on the bumps and the shadows. I first shaded a sphere on a shading layer over the body, using pure white for the highlight, and pure black for the shadow. I copied the sphere and shrunk it on the layer above a bunch of times for the bumps. Then I had to make the “white” in the shadows actually a 50% grey, and same for the “black” in the highlighted areas. That took longer than I thought it would. I tested it a few times to make sure that it would print well.
It was fairly easy to write the limerick. I focused on how the frog puffs itself up and squeaks, as well as how it lives in the desert. I tried to convey the emotions I felt when thinking about this adorable creature. Overall I’m proud of this little section of the book!