Update on Basil the Special Dog

I worked some more on my storybook this week.   Here are a couple of sketches. 


I’m learing a lot of things as I go.   For one thing, the colors on the first picture are noticeably clearer, because the drawing was done on high-quality board paper.  

The 2nd picture is a bit more smudgy, because it was done on cheaper paper.  (Well, that’s okay..these are still drafts).    Plus, the scanner isn’t the best quality, so the colors in the actual pictures looks better.

This time I tried to color in the sky completely (as opposed to my other cartoons).   The sky color might be a bit too vibrant, I find.   Perhaps  I might have to try a more subtle shade.    (Maybe do the sky with Photoshop, instead of with the pens).   

As for the story…I wasn’t sure whether to work on the words first, and then add the pictures after.    But what seems to be working  (right now, at least)  is to keep drawings the pictures first, and the story seems to follow quite nicely.  

I have a game plan, and I’m starting to develop the characters.  The older kid (holding the leash) is Michael Mobeel, and he’s about about 8.   His younger brother following in the trike is about four and will be called Finster. 

The story will be told from the eyes of Michael Mobeel.   Basil is really HIS dog.

The basic plot is:

 Some dogs do “X”.   Basil is special, he does “Y”   And when he does “Y”,  “Z” happens. 

 And usually, “Z” will involve something getting destroyed or messed up, at someone else’s expense.   Except fpr Michael Mobeel, who is conveniently unaffected by Basil’s shenanigans.

Basil is a big PAIN in the butt, he drives everyone nuts.   But you can’t really blame him…he’s just a rambunctious stupid special yellow lab.  And he redeems himself in the end.   You’ll have to wait and see how.

So anyway, that’s where I am right now with the story.  

That’s all for this week, kids.    Till next time.

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32 Comments on “Update on Basil the Special Dog”

  1. Steph Says:

    All this looks promising! Can’t wait to see more. Developing characters is a great idea, of course. Even though it’s a picturebook, the words are just as important (well, perhaps more important. I think I mentioned before that many children’s book publishers don’t want you to send in illustrations because they like to match up the books with well-known illustrators. So the story is quite important. Still, I’d say you’re a bona fide artist, so you could likely submit!). 🙂
    Sometimes I read this blog, which might help you: http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/

  2. Friar Says:


    Thanks for the link! 😉 . This will really be helpful (I need to start researching the publishing aspects more, not just work on the drawings).

    Yeah, you’re not the first person who told me that book publishers are very reluctant to have the author also to be the illustrator.

    I’m really not interested in just writing the words, and having someone else illustrate MY story. (Witt MY Basil! 😉 I think it’s my cartoons that make my story my own.

    If that’s the case, then I might have to self-publish, or something.

    In the mean, I’ll just keep pluggin away at ‘er.

  3. Steph Says:

    I agree. It’s not the same without YOUR Basil. And it’s really not impossible that a publisher will accept your drawings as well! The other thing is, you can comment on blogs, and ask questions as well of children’s book agents and editors. When you query, just see what each publisher or agent stipulates. They’re not by any means all the same.

    i was thinking that this process goes beyond just Basil, too. In learning all you are and in honing your skill, you are also preparing yourself as an illustrator. I’m sure that could come in handy some day! My sister illustrates and does get commissions.

  4. Friar Says:


    Hey, thanks for your feedback. I actually made a list of “things to do”, and researching the editing/publishing industry is up there on the list. It’s great that I have friends like you with some experience, who can at least point me in the right direction (who to ask, or where to start looking).

    Notice the crickets chirping here today? It’s pretty quiet. Mabye it’s because it’s Sunday.

    Or maybe this post just isn’t that “Cool”. 🙂

  5. Sheesh Friar, I would comment but Goldfinger is on BBC.

    These are looking good you silly goose. Ooh, there’s the theme music… gotta go….

  6. Friar Says:


    My favorite lines from that movie:

    “I’m Pussy Galore”

    “Of course you are” 🙂

  7. LOl….of course it is. HAH!

    Babes are dropping fast, the guy with the hat just decked one. I don’t think Pussy has shown up yet.

  8. Basil’s looking good, Friar! Personally, I like the vibrant color of the sky, and I bet most kids who’ll be reading this will too. Your plot of X, Y, Z is easy to follow and nice and repetitious for the kiddos. Can’t wait to read how Basil saves the day at the end!

  9. The basil of your second drawing is the exact color of our Murphy, our Golden Lab, who also looks and ACTS just like the dog on the Movie Marley and Me. Except that I am happy to report that we like to think of ourselve as better disiplinarians and so unfortunetly for him, he doesn’t get away with hardly any of that stuff, although he would love to! ( and trie to all the time!

    I think you are really coming along and I am really glad you are persuing this. I do think that someday we are all going to be saying “We knew him when…”

  10. Hey Friar- Bond and Basil save the day…hah…

    I like seeing how you are working through this. It makes sense that you are picture first, story next. The pictures develop a rhythm and pacing of their own. Which will translate into story words well enough. I am not sure how mixing photoshop and the markers will work. I love the hand done by Friar thing personally, bUt you are more at ease e-technically than I am.

    Don’t forget, there will have to be a soft Basil to go in the package with the book for wee ones to cuddle and take on trips and photograph… or to point the finger at when something goes awry at their house.;-)

  11. Kelly Says:


    Ooh, that first drawing is looking suspiciously close to a final draft. Very nice progress.

    I like how you’re coming along with the story, too. When you’ve got compelling characters and a plot that sings, I can see that the illustrator side of Friar will be up to the challenge!



  12. Friar Says:


    Hmmm…maybe the sky color isnt’ TOO bad. (Though I could leave it blank like some kids books do). Lookit Dr. Seuss’s cartoons.

    As for the plot. I orginally had “X,Y”. Karen J.L. suggested “X,Y,Z” to me. Which I think really makes sense. Like a 1-2-3 comedy punch.

    I think retrievers are espeically mental dogs, and are in a lovable category all to themselves.

    “We knew him when…”. I HOPE so!!! 🙂

    I can keep most of my original drawing, and choose to add a colored “background” layer on Photoshop. That way, I migth be able to draw a sky with a graded background (light on bottom, dark on top). Nothings’ for sure yet….I got lotsa playing around to do,.

    And you’re right…I think Basil WOULD make a good stuffed toy.

    I’m my own worst critic, I can see mistakes in that first drawing. For example, the horizon is right at the doggie’s feet. I need his paws to be slightly above (or slightly below) the horizon, to impart that sense of motion.

    I also have to be consistent with the aspect ration (height to widgth). I have to figure out how the picutres will be laid out on the actual pages of the book.

    Wow…who KNEW there was so much reasearch and fiddly bits involved?

  13. I think so very much.

  14. Kelly Says:

    Dear Friar,

    Ask Janice—the fiddly bits are the best parts.

    *ducks and runs away*

  15. Fiddly bits?!!! Yep, ya gotta play with the fiddly bits.

    Friars Fiddly Bits.. Is that a breakfast cereal?

  16. Brett Legree Says:

    @Kelly & Janice,

    Easy ladies, the 20-foot gorilla might get excited 😉

    (And believe me, you’ll *know* when he’s excited…)

  17. Kelly Says:

    Janice—ROFL at breakfast cereal.


    I like that, Trying to talk me down. Hmpf.

    Erm, the gorilla… that would be some serious fiddly bits.


    Until later,


  18. You can hear us laughing can’t you?

    delete , no delete that too, no Jan you CANNOT say that eiither….

  19. You guys are all nuts….. still.

    And Friar, your drawings remind me of a vacuum. They suck.

    But I still want first editions just in case I’m wrong.


  20. Friar Says:

    @Kelly and Janice

    Aww…Geez. I’m away for just one day, and already the comments from the Peanut Gallery start rolling in.

    Hmph. Fiddly bits indeed!

    Though if it WAS a breakfast cereal, what kind of ad campaign would be good?

    “Friars’ Fiddly Bits…you know one bowl is NOT enough!”

    Hooray!!!!! My FIRST 20-foot inflatble gorilla reference!


    Oh, yes. I agree, these drawings suck.

    But less so, than the other things in my life that suck.

  21. Let me wipe the tears from my eyes..and stop laughing….

    Hm, that’s a cereal box that would be hilarious to read. Think of the testimonials, the prizes in side, the 25 words or less contests…

    and a 20 foot inflatable gorilla on front.

  22. Kelly Says:

    One. Bowl….

    Ah hahahahaha!

    Oh, my goodness. No way. That’s hysterical.

  23. Friar Says:

    @Janice and Kelly

    …wonder what kind of SHAPE Friar’s Fiddly Bits breakfast cereal should be? 🙂

  24. This is a double dog dare isn’t it? LOL

  25. Friar Says:


    You gotta admit, it’s a GOOD question.

    I mean, should Fiddly Bits be one unique shape, repeated over and over (like Capn’ Crunch?)

    Or should it consists of several shapes (like Lucky Charms?)

  26. Well, I have always been fond of Banana Nut Crunch, but I could not type that with a straight face.

  27. Friar Says:


    INFLATABLE Banana-Nut Crunch….

    …Breakfast of 20-foot Gorillas! 😉

  28. LOL

    (Oh no the guy I take workout advice from, just joined twitter and facebook. Does that mean he can see me NOT working out?)

  29. Hi Friar – This is the second time I’ve come by and found drawings of Basil and the boys. I think you’re onto a good story line. What child wouldn’t love to have a dog they could blame all of the mishaps on?

    Best wishes on the publication of your work. I’ve no doubt you’ll do well.

  30. Friar Says:


    hahah! I haven’t posted Basil in a while…it’s good timing that you popped by and saw him.

    I’m getting lots of great feedback from everyone. (Let’s hope the publishers feel the same way!)


    Admit NOTHING to your workout mentor. 😉

  31. Evelyn Lim Says:

    The colors on the first picture definitely look brighter. I love what you are doing! Are you self taught or do you have to attend classes for this? One of my daughters love to draw comics too but I’m not sure how to help her develop her talent.

  32. Friar Says:


    I’ve taken LOTS of classes for my watercolor paintings. And a few basic drawing courses. But in terms of cartoons like this, it’s all self-taught. (Not to mention constantly doodling in class while the teachers gave their lessons…from elementary school to post-graduate studies!)

    I’d highly recommend signing up your daughter in art classes, exposing her to as much art instruction as possible. Because you can’t go wrong, in learning the basics. It helps develop the cartooning.

    That’s what my Mom did with me…there are often classes for kids or teens being given at local community centers or the local schools in the evenings.

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