The creative process behind the Wonder Ponder, Visual Philosophy for Children, boxes is fascinating and rewarding. A philosopher, an illustrator and an editor working together, feeding off each other's suggestions and feeling the thrill of getting it just right.
Each box starts with a description given by the philosopher to the illustrator of a series of scenes mapping a given philosophical topic. Sometimes it's quite detailed and specific, others it's more of a list of the kind of questions the scene should elicit.
Then there's a lot of sketching, a lot of work on the exact composition of the scene, a lot of character work and to-ing and fro-ing, a lot of added suggestions and nuances, many of them philosophically enriching, by the illustrator.
And then philosopher, illustrator and editor sit down and look at it as critically as possible, before showing it to kids and getting teachers to try them out, and tweaking it based on their reaction and interpretation, to make sure they really spark interest and offer sufficient complexity and variety of perspectives for it to lead to sustained and engaged dialogue.
And then comes the text... but for now we just wanted to share a couple of fun character sketches for the zoo scene in the first box in the series, Cruelty Bites, to be launched at the end of the year.
Here is the finalised version:
Now, you see this centipede-ish alien?
He came second in our choice of alien.
See all these other alien sketches and the early sketch of the scene with the tiger facing the other way?
The how many eyes question was a tricky one and the tiger... we just didn't think it worked as well as those deep, sad eyes in the final version.
And it took quite a few efforts to get the boy in the cage just right, as you can see in the last image.
Nothing's easy, but it's all great fun!
Wonder Ponder will be launching in November. Stay tuned for more tidbits about it all here. Enjoy.
(c) Wonder Ponder. (An imprint of Traje de lobo S.L.).