Saturday, April 17, 2010

Illustration Friday - Detective

When I saw that the Illustration Friday word for this week was "Detective," I immediately thought of two ideas.  One was to go back to the elephant and dog characters that I created for the "Rescue" and "Dip" entries and have them working as detectives.  But my other idea prevailed.  The idea that I decided to go with was inspired by some of the old movies I used to watch as a kid on television back in the sixties and seventies.  I'm talking about movies like "Home Sweet Homicide" starring Peggy Ann Garner and a very young Dean Stockwell and the original Nancy Drew movies starring Bonita Granville.  These were movies from the late 1930s and 40s that featured children and young adolescents playing as detectives.  Of course in these films, the kids would always end up solving the case that had baffled the adults.  Sometimes there would be a romance featured as part of a subplot.  In the case of "Home Sweet Homicide," the three children who are trying to solve a murder in their neighborhood are also trying to hook their widowed mystery-writer mother up with the detective (Randoph Scott) who is trying to solve the case.  In these movies, there were usually several kids involved, either a brother and sister, several siblings or a group of kids who lived in the same neighborhood and were friends. These films often took place in small town backyards, alleyways, home made club houses and Main street ice cream parlors.

So, in tribute to these films from a more innocent time, I created a scene with 4 children who have discovered a lost bag of money in an alleyway.  But unbeknownst to them, the thug who stole the money and dropped it during his getaway, is watching the children.

I'm also including my original sketch for the idea and a screen shot that shows my progress along the way.  You can see that I made several revisions to the original sketch.  Originally I just showed the three children discovering the money bags.  Then I decided that the image needed a menacing figure in it, so I added the thug who is watching them from around the corner of the fence.  Then I decided to add another little boy as part of the group.  I also had the original little boy lean over, using his magnifying glass to look for clues.  And, for those who might be interested, I'm also posting a couple of photos that I used for reference for some of the children's clothing.  These are images that I found on the internet from the movie, "Home Sweet Homicide," from 1946.  This is a movie I have very fond memories of watching on television as a kid, when I'd be home sick from school.

I dedicate this week's illustration to the memory of Peggy Ann Garner, Bonita Granville, Connie Marshall and Dean Stockwell, the best juvenile detectives from the golden age of cinema.


  1. Wonderful blog entry! And a wonderful illustration!It's nice to see your work in progress!

  2. Very good work! Congratulations!