Friday, June 8, 2012

Brent Vernon - Author, Illustrator, Singer, Songwriter and Ventriloquist - Part II

Guest Post by BRENT VERNON author, illustrator, singer, songwriter and ventriloquist based in South Florida.

High Hopes – Part 2 Cont. from yesterday, “High Hopes”….

During my Christmas vacation in 2009, I got serious about writing and illustrating a good story. I began to collect ideas and add them to my proverbial peg board. Proverbial? Imaginary? Whatever… The neat thing about retaining a list of ideas (even if it’s only in your head) is that they tend to get better with time. Some ideas need to stay in the cooker for a while.

In February or March, I came up with a scenario that worked for me. It went like this: A married couple, both world-famous opera singers, discover that they are expecting a child. Their dreams for the baby are off the charts. They imagine their child to be the most amazing singer ever. Finally, their daughter is born and grows up to be a nice little girl. But, to her parents horror, the child is not only tone-deaf, she has the voice of a foghorn.

What would life be like for that little girl? How would she deal with that kind of expectation and disappointment?

Obviously, the idea of a neckless giraffe wasn’t far behind. Soon, I got to know Audrey, her parents, and her friends Nelson (an accident-prone aardvark) and Doodle (an oversized hyrax).

Much like it is when I compose music, writing this book was like having creative constipation (pardon the comparison). On my family vacation in June, I forced myself to write a couple of pages every day. In the meantime, I started coming up with character designs for Audrey and her friends.

©Brent Vernon
Once the book was written and the copy finalized, 
I used my Wacom tablet and Corel Painter to generate really rough sketches like this.

           ©Brent Vernon

I then opened the sketch in Adobe Illustrator. Using it as my guide, I created near perfect vector lines for each main character element in the scene. This is a painstaking process, certainly the most time consuming step… It probably took me about five hours just to create the Illustrator lines in this scene. Those anchor points nearly killed me!

©Brent Vernon

When the lines were completed, I copied them into an Adobe Photoshop file for coloring and shading. I think this was my favorite step in the process!

@Brent Vernon
With the main characters colored and shaded, I dumped the file back over into Corel Painter where, using the original sketch, I finished the scenic/background elements. Then I opened them one last time in Photoshop for final color editing.
@Brent Vernon
Then, with some final color corrections for print, we put it all together!

@Brent Vernon
So this was my first stab at writing and illustrating a book. I have so much to learn about the process, but – so far – the response to “Neckless” has been enthusiastic. God willing, Book #2 will be here before you know it!!

Cont.  Tomorrow!  Post/Review of  NECKLESS THE Audrey Amaka STORY

Thanks Brent for Part I and II of High Hopes!!!
Patricia aka Mamaw


  1. The illustrations are adorable! I think you have a gift for this kind of work. Totally want to read it! Just sayin'! :D

    1. Thanks Liesel!! I guess you can tell I am excited about this author. I will be doing reviews/post on both of his books.


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