Behind the Illustration Process of My Dad is a Bear with Annie White

September 2nd, 2021
See the inside process of how illustrations develop for a children's book, My Dad is a Bear, with the wonderful Annie White!

Charlie’s Dad is tall, round and soft. Sometimes he growls.

Could he be a bear?

When I first read this story, I was drawn into its gentleness and simplicity.

Charlie, (or Little Bear in the Board Book edition) has great fun describing his Dad who, he insists, is a bear. 

‘He is soft and furry like a bear. He climbs like a bear. He even has big paws like a bear!’

But is Charlie’s Dad really a bear?

To keep us guessing the answer to this question, it was important that Charlie did not appear in person in the illustrations until the end of the book. In all the images leading up to the last pages, Charlie’s Dad is portrayed as a bear because that’s how Charlie is describing him, but Charlie’s appearance needed to remain a mystery.

This presented a problem.

Charlie’s Dad could not really illustrate the text by himself. Although he would be quite capable of demonstrating his climbing, growling and sleeping in the drawings, there was a good chance it would all look a bit repetitive. 

Enter – Rabbit and Bird! 

Although they are not mentioned in the story, Rabbit and Bird were introduced into the illustrations to measure Bear’s tallness and roundness, to nestle in his softness and furriness and to run away when he growled. 

By interacting with Bear and acting out Charlie’s narrative, Rabbit and Bird help the illustrations to move and show feeling.

So, Charlie’s Dad really does turn out to be a bear -  a much loved character who gives the best bear hugs ever!

Big thanks to Annie for showing us behind the scenes!You can find Annie on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.

Pick up a copy of the new board book edition of My Dad is a Bear today!

My Dad is a Bear

Charlie's dad is tall, round and soft. Sometimes he growls. Could he be a bear? Luckily for Charlie there's one thing bears do best.

Purchase Here
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Tags: Father's Day, illustrator

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