Making “Dances of India”, Part 1

Greetings, readers!pencil

This is Alyssa, the Illustrator¬†of “Dances of India”, writing to you all as we begin some new and exciting transitions.

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How It Was Made

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My first blog topic is the production of the book itself. When Malini and Kyra first contacted me, they had a few scripts to work from. Once we decided on the topic of dance, I sat down with the original 2Lokas to get a feeling for the direction they saw for the characters and the book. I looked at several photos of different animals native to India and sketched as many as I could to get a feel of. When I design a new character, I try to experiment with as many shapes and outfits as possible until one character jumps off the page for me. After a few different iterations, we got closer and closer to the two sisters as elephants. With some additional finessing, we found Maya and Leela.

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We have our main characters, now what? Well, I don’t like to paint or design blindly so I created several versions of page prototypes to give Malini and Kyra an idea of how individual pages might look. From here you can really start to see the general style of the book and series take form. I wanted to use as many techniques as possible to achieve distinct looks in each sample. This helps bring personality to the page as well as the characters.


Balancing a page of an illustrated book is pretty different from balancing a composition for a regular painting or illustration. Words and pictures must work together and there was a real learning curve when it came to properly laying out these pages so that the text and illustrations would not battle each other.

Stay tuned for further explanation of our process and even more. Until next time.

Posted on: November 13, 2014, by : littleloka