I began thinking of writing a comic strip a couple of years ago when I heard some people in a queue for the post office talking about the funny things children say. My first go at a strip on this subject was the simple one-panel strip above.
However, as I thought about it I wondered if it would be better to develop a set of characters in school and work from there. I could make each character a bit larger than life and really push their characteristics. At first I thought I might call the strip “The Little Plump Teacher.” so I began to design a little teacher around the title…
However, this direction didn’t work out. Firstly, the children were going to be the stars of the strip, not the teacher and secondly, I wanted each child to be very different from every other – with different personalities and different looks. I had been doing some reading on character design and one of the things the pros do when creating a set of characters is to make each individual have a very obvious and individual sillhouette. This gave me the idea to make my school a school for animals!
First I just played around with my ideas on a page of my sketchbook with some thumbnails of possible characters.
Then I made some quick character sketches.
At this point I decided I didn’t like the snail character “Smole”. This was partly because his personality overlapped a bit with my duck character “Duke” and partly because I didn’t like the shape.
So I created a different sixth character, “KittyKat”, a cat.
By this time I was happy with my little class, so I made some more formal character designs digitally. Here they are, ready to delight and amuse. I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures they might have!
An important side-note: Although the children I’ve taught have told me some of the most funny and heart-warming things over the years (enough to fill several books) I’m not going draw on any of that in order to protect their privacy and maintain my GDPR obligations. These characters are not based on any children I have ever worked with and the stories in the strip won’t include anything that has ever happened in a school I’ve taught at.