Illustrating a Children’s Story, Part 2


I’ve put a little more work into my Three Little Pigs project that I posted about earlier. Here’s how it is going so far…

The Wolf

I received a lot of great feedback about my pig character sketches (thank you!), and I think I have a definite direction to go from there. The wolf character is a little harder for me to nail down (because he’s not as cute, I guess?). I’ve done a lot of experimenting and sketching, but I don’t know if I have anything I like yet.

Here’s what I have so far:

wolf01.jpg wolf02.jpg wolf03.jpg wolf04.jpg wolf05.jpg wolf06.jpg wolf07.jpg wolf08.jpg wolf09.jpg wolf10.jpg wolf11.jpg wolf12.jpg wolf13.jpg wolf14.jpg wolf15.jpg wolf16.jpg wolf17.jpg wolf18.jpg wolf19.jpg wolf20.jpg

I’m definitely going to work on this some more. So far, I’m liking the “sly and sleazy” looks as opposed to the “big and tough” looks. And of course, I had to draw a nerd wolf, but he’s probably not very intimidating. :) I think once I start working on actual layouts and story, it will start to come together a little better.


I usually wait to do any research until after I’ve done my first brainstorming. It gives me more freedom in the beginning to really stretch styles and ideas. Now that I’ve done this, I’ve looked up both visual and historical reference for the Three Little Pigs story.

For visuals, I usually start with a simple Google Image Search. I also buy a lot of bargain books about animals and whatnot that I keep on hand. This will help me to further develop the design of the characters and refine some features so they are based a little more on reality.

Here are some images I’ve found for the pigs and wolf:

pigs.jpg wolves.jpg

I’ve also done a little research into the story. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually heard the entire tale, so I found a full manuscript on Project Gutenberg. I knew that in the original version, the wolf ends up eating the first two pigs, but there was also a lot more that I didn’t remember (like the adventures of the third pig after the wolf tries to blow down his house for the first time).

You can read this version at this link:

It’s slightly more gruesome (and hilarious, I think) than the version you normally hear. I’ve also found several other versions around the internet, and an informative article on Wikipedia.

I will most definitely be condensing the story to fit in my little booklet, so I probably won’t be using a lot of this info, but I like all the ideas that this is giving me.

The point of all this research and brainstorming is to give me a place to start. As artists, we are creative people – but you can’t expect your creations to come out of thin air. If I want to draw a character in a certain style, or write the story in a certain way, I want it to be because I decided it was the best way to go, not because I was too ignorant to realize it could be done differently. One of the biggest mistakes that I think amateur artists make (and lazy experienced artists) is not doing enough research.

That’s about it for now. I’m really looking forward to sketching out actual scenes and really putting this together. I’ll keep you updated…

Let me know all your advice and criticism (don’t hold back!). Leave a comment on this post at