Last time I told you about how I came up with my hedgehog characters, but at that early stage I had no idea that they would ever become anything more than some cute little characters in my sketchbook. It was when Steve spotted them that everything changed.
He was used to seeing my daily scribbles, and was always very supportive with his comments, but when he saw Horace and Hattie he must have seen something extra-special.
“What are these?” he asked
“Oh, just a couple of little hedgehogs I’ve designed” I replied nonchalantly, “I’m not sure what to do with them, I thought they might look nice on a series of cards, but they need a title or something”
Without thinking, Steve said, “You should call them the ‘Hedgehugs’.”
A perfect name!
I had the characters, I had the name, I just needed to make some finished images, with colour and background and action.
But what images should I design?
It wasn’t long until February so I decided my best bet was to come up with some valentine card images, full of love and hearts. I sketched a couple of ideas and then I began to work on the finished pictures.
I tried a number of techniques to colour them, I tried watercolours (too ‘wishy washy’) acrylics (too ‘blocky’) coloured pencils (too ‘scribbly’) and the computer techniques I had been using on my other illustrations weren’t working either.
Who knew colouring in could be so hard?!
I needed something special and something ‘different’.
Again, it was simply good timing that solved my problem. My babies were growing fast and I knew that after two tough very poorly pregnancies I wouldn’t have any more. I had a bag of baby clothes that my sentimental side was struggling to part with, but space was tight, Steve loves a good clear-out and I knew I couldn’t keep them forever.
As I sat looking at the bag destined for the charity shop I pulled a little pair of stripy tights out from the top. I remembered both of the girls wearing them, on their first Christmas days and I felt a pang of sadness. I happened to be sitting next to my computer, so I placed them into the scanner and hit scan.
This soon turned into a frenzy of scanning! Polka dots, flowers, stripes, pinks, purples, blues and greens.
Before long I had a whole folder full of fabrics and patterns.
Perhaps I could use them in the ‘Hedgehugs’ images?
I played around for a bit, and created my very first scene, complete with flowers made of sections of hats and dresses. Clouds made from baby grows and cardigans.
This very first image changed by the time it became a book, but the idea was there, I was going to create my ‘Hedgehugs’ world out of scans of baby clothes, that way they would be preserved forever in print.
‘Hedgehugs’ would become a patchwork of our lives.