Friday, September 13, 2013

Bedtime Stories, Part 1

-By Serge Birault


I have two kids, Arthur (6 years old) and Adam (5 years old). I use to tell them stories since they were born. I have to create a new one every evening. It's a very good exercice of imagination and it seems they like this.

When they were younger, it was quite easy but now it's more and more complicated. They sometimes complain about the nonsenses or they simply want to change the story. They asked me to be part of the adventures too, they wanted to be the heroes. Few years ago, I used puppets or toys, now they want me to be a storyteller.

So, my stories became more and more "interactive". I started to ask them what their characters wanted to do. Being involved in plot is more entertaining and kids reactions are sometimes very strange or funny (or weird ^^).

They're learning to count and read, so I decided to change the rules. They usually have to find  the answers to riddles. Basic mathematic "enigmas", like additions or multiplications for example. They learn faster when they have fun.

I'm a RPG player since more than 25 years, so I have plenty of 20, 10, 8, 6 or 4 faced dices. We started to used some dices in the stories in order to add a little bit of challenge and a bit of randomness.
And finally, we created very simple character sheet, with few characteristics and skills. So now, they have to read if they want to play ... Sons of a nerd ...

I was quite surpised when they created their characters. They didn't want to play kids but warriors with giant swords and full plate armors. Yes, I know it's not SO surprising. My kids don't watch TV, they never had weapon toys (but kids can create weapons with nearly everything) , they are not familiar with violence. I didn't expect they would choose to play warriors.

But when you look at your kids, playing with their action figures, it's very often about violence. They are fighting imginary vilains, making battle noises and speaking (well, shouting) with their characters voices. I'm not sure it's because they are boys, little girls can be very violent too; perhaps in a different way. But it's another topic.

I'm trying to avoid violence in my stories, even if they asking for fights and battles. I think I found a good solution ... They never "kill" living creatures or human beings. The enemies are creatures made of ice, fire, stone, ... Elemental creatures, for example.

After several weeks of test, I can do few observations :

- Don't play for too long : Half an hour is a good timing.
- Don't forget it's bedtime stories : They have to sleep after the story, so try to find a quiet and peaceful end.
- Don't forget they are kids : The sories have to be moral. They are good characters, don't let them do weird things even if they really want and explain to them why they cannot do that. Rewarding the good actions, push them to help each others.
- Have fun : Try to imagine fun stories. Helping Santa Claus for Xmas, fighting the giant creature made of snot, finding a solution for the invasion of the carnivores snails, ... A little bit strange for heroic-fantasy based stories ? Who cares ? They don't ...Don't be too serious, it's only entertainment. You can try scary stories too, some kids really enjoy that.
- Try to make them learn in the same time : Let them do the additions and the subtractions, let them read their character sheets, use complicated words and expalin their meanings, describe the scenes and teach them a little bit of history ("Do you know why Lords had castles ?"). As I said, children learn faster when they have fun.
- Find the good mood : Overact, change your voice for each different characters, make noises, describe the scenes ... Storytelling is not so easy, try to tell an interesting story.
- Kids have different tastes : Space adventures, heroic-fantasy, superheroes, ... Ask them what they want.
- Playing with a single kids could be boring : Ask to your wife, your husband, your friend to play a character too ... We spend only few hours with our kids every day, having fun with all his family is good for a child.
- It's a good exercice for you too : Try to find 10 or 15 mns to think about your story everyday. Even if your work is not very creative or boring, think about what happened to you today and turn all the events into epic ones. Turning your boss into naughty dragon with a ridiculous voice is a good therapy for example ...

And now, here's the point of this article. My sons wanted me to draw their characters. I asked them to did it first. Then I did very simple and cartoon pictures ... But they wanted more ...
It's quite difficult to explain you spend so many time to paint for clients, friends or family and not for them. They didn't want a simple sketch, a fast done doodle; they wanted a real picture. I told them painting is my job, I'm earning money for my paintings; they answered me they had money (about 10 euros; a lot of centimes coins ...). They won (I didn't take their money).

So here's the making of the picture of my second son's character, Adam. It turned into a funny experience. I told them they are now my clients and my art directors. So I had to paint what they want and they had to help me and guide me.

So, my son, what do you want ? A warrior with a big armor and a biiiiiiig sword, ok ... But I need more details. In wich style ? What kind of armor ? A basic sword or a magic one ? Of course, he dunno. It seems an 5 years old art director act like real ones.

I had to help him a little bit for the beginning. We created a background for his character. He's a knight, he came from a very cold country, he fights with a magical sword, he likes ice creams (^o^).
Then, all became very easy. A grey or blue armor with crytal or ice spikes, a magic sword made of ice, an horned helmet (like vikings) and skulls ... A lot of skulls. I dunno why, he just wanted skulls ... probably because it's more "badass".

I asked him to draw him first, just to have a reference. Unfortunately, we lost this picture. I will show you the one my other son did for his character in the second part of this article.

We changed the helmet and the horns several times. It finally looks like the helmet of Zorg, from Toy Story. Kids have their own references, you have to deal with it. I didn't expected him to be so ... picky.
He asked me for cartoon proportions, something like a character from the animated serie of Batman. I told him it was a good idea, it would make more sense with the very big sword.

Once again, I did a lot of changes. I wasn't convinced by the first versions of the sword. We tried several shapes, sizes and renderings. Finally, I had to add skulls. He really wanted skulls on the armor.

I was very surpised by his reactions during the process. He sometimes had opinions about the colors or the lights for example. It's very strange to hear your 5 years old son telling you : "yes, it's better like that".

I didn't expect he enjoyed this picture more than the doodles I use to draw for him. I was wrong ...
For the first time in my life, my son looked at one of my pictures and said "Wow! I love it !". I know it could sounds a little bit ridiculous but I think it's probably the best career achievement ever.

I didn't do a lot of screenshots. I used my "concept art" style so I didn't spend a lot of time on it, about 5 or 6 hours. It looks less clean than my usual stuff. A lot of textured brushes, standard ones and some Ditlev brushes. I did a lot of colors and contrast adjutments, perhaps too much.

In the next part, I will speak about the character creation of my other son, Arthur.

52 comments:

  1. LOVE IT! My guy is only 2 and a half, so I have a while before we get to this sort of stage, but I am looking forward to the first time he actually asks for a real picture out of me.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very young kids always want doodles, with simple shapes and funny stuffs. I was very surpised when my son asked me for a "real" picture :)

      Delete
  2. Serge, I love the family focus, and using your talents to raise your kids. Very uplifting and practical, and a great illustration (that you "didn't spend a lot of time on? Sheesh! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow this was the cutest thing I've read on this blog.
    Simply brilliant...
    Congratulations! Hope I can use this one day if I ever have kids

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome, i have two nephews. I'm gonna try something like that. Great job Serge, and o hope meet you in Recife in october

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for all your tips and comments. It is very instructive to know the reactions of children to these questions. Equally surprising, considering the amount of hours you need to your illustrations, you also to get time to invent these stories, developing and sharing with your children. I also have a son (he has got 6 years old in September 10th) But I just read to him stories already written ... I will take note of your idea and maybe encourage me to improvise. Next week his mother and me are taking him to Troia with us. I hope that there will also have the opportunity to enjoy art and dive into the imagination world of many artists like you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Vraiment génial cet article ! Ça donnerai presque envie de devenir papa quant on voit comme ça a l'air enrichissant aussi bien pour toi que pour tes enfants ^^
    (comparaison entre ton fils et un art director épique)

    Quant à l'illustration je suis vraiment fan de son côté "dark cartoon" et y'a un je ne sais quoi qui me fait penser aux Chroniques époque Ledroit.

    En un mot Bravo !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. C'est vrai que c'est pas faux, y'a un petit côté Ledroit :)

      Delete
  7. Tried posting from my phone and didn't work.

    I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. I have a month and half old named Arthur as well. Whenever he is up for a little bit I sit with him in front of my lap top and scroll through random images on CGHub hoping to stimulate his mind with all the colours, shapes and art. But what you're doing is absolutely inspiring. My wife read this and we both agree to geek out with our son in a similar manner as you have done. When he's old enough to know, I'll let him know who gave me the idea. For now, I'll just have to show him your work and hope it overwhelms his little mind. Thank you sir.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Merci pour ce superbe article Serge!
    Ma petite Zelda n'a que 2 mois, et il me tarde déjà de pouvoir à mon tour lui raconter de magnifiques histoires le soir. Je ne sais pas si je saurais faire preuve d'assez d'imagination, surtout pour les univers de "petites filles", mais ça donne vraiment envie d'essayer, il y a plus désagréable comme exercice!
    Tes enfants doivent vraiment se régaler en tous cas.
    Bonne continuation
    Rémy (De Toulouse également n_n )

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awesome post! I love the character, the ice sword, and that your AD was a 5 year old ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great story Serge. Regarding the artwork, I am shocked. Shocked I tell ya. A Serge Birault painting without a hot lady for the subject! Maybe your son is having a positive impact on your subject matter. But I suppose it is possible there is a girl under all that armor.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very fun. I've had a similar bedtime routine with my littles. I've got a daughter who's 6, a son that's 4, and a daughter that's 2 (and we're expecting another boy in November). It sure is a hoot to tell them stories (feels great inside to do so). I often let them pick the character they want in the stories (so sometimes I've had Sonic the Hedgehog team up with American Girl Kit Kitteredge and the Scooby Doo gang to fight Kit's grumpy Uncle). I don't work in such a complex style as you, but I've had a whole lot of fun making my kiddos custom animated GIFs, like a candy cane-eating robot. Thanks for sharing this side of you -- nice to see the family at the heart. Great art as always.

    ReplyDelete
  12. That's a truly interesting article, Serge. Awesome tips for being creative and to encourage kids to be imaginative (and get inspired by them). Great work! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. This article is the best i've ever red: funny, interesting, smart and so sweet!
    You are luky to have sons like them, and they are very lucky to have a father like you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gé-niale la partie sur les contes pour enfants transformés en jeux de rôles! C'est excellent, surtout votre explication des étapes qui ont mené à une telle "révolution" pédagogique!
    Et comme beaucoup l'ont déjà dit, cet article est très réussi dans son ensemble, et en effet, ce dessin méritait vraiment un tel éclairage! Si avec une telle nourriture pour leur imagination, Arthur et Adam ne suivent pas la voie artistique paternelle, c'est qu'il y a des choses que je ne comprends pas!

    Ca donne presque envie d'avoir des enfants, votre histoire, M. Birault!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Greetings Serge,

    through sheer luck and continued reading of blog articles I came upon yours. And although it has been just a few days since you wrote about these excellent and entertaining experiences, I cannot decline the feeling that I desperately want to read how your other son reacted to this. Please let us know asap how the story continues, I bet I'm not the only one who wants to know how the story ends! ;)

    Cheers,
    me

    ReplyDelete
  16. Upcoming Latest cars and vehicles, Latest Mazda Models, Racing Cars, International Sport Cars, Concept Cars, PS-Pod, Strange Vehicles, Nissan, Royce Corniche, Ford Concept Cars, Strange Vehicles, Mercedes and More Sport Cars and Vehicles with Pictures and Info
    WorldLatestVehicles.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. World Most popular Upcoming Latest cars and vehicles, Latest Mazda Models, Racing Cars, International Sport Cars, Concept Cars, PS-Pod, Strange Vehicles, Nissan, Royce Corniche, Ford Concept Cars, Strange Vehicles, Mercedes and More Sport Cars and Vehicles with Pictures and Info
    WorldLatestVehicles.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much to share this important information with us.
    birthday return gifts online.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Bonne expérience que voilà. Bravo

    ReplyDelete
  20. Upcoming Latest cars and vehicles, Latest Mazda Models, Racing Cars, International Sport Cars, Concept Cars, PS-Pod, Strange Vehicles, Nissan, Royce Corniche, Ford Concept Cars, Strange Vehicles, Mercedes and More Sport Cars and Vehicles with Pictures and Info
    WorldLatestVehicles.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Trading is the Best Business Ever in the World.. All News updates about Forex Business, Latest Currency news updates, latest forex trading business updates, trading updates, forex trading latest news, forex brokers directory, forex brokers list, Dollars news affairs, Stock Markets, stock market news, stock market analysis, technology news, international forex markets, international forex business news and all updates about Forex Trading
    ForexAffairs.Com

    ReplyDelete
  22. All News updates about Forex Business, Latest Currency news updates, latest forex trading business updates, trading updates, forex trading latest news, forex brokers directory, forex brokers list, Dollars news affairs, Stock Markets, stock market news, stock market analysis, technology news, international forex markets, international forex business news and all updates about Forex Trading
    ForexAffairs.Com

    ReplyDelete
  23. All Latest and Current Affairs, News updates about Forex Business. Latest Currency news updates, latest forex trading business updates, trading updates, forex trading latest news, forex brokers directory, forex brokers list, Dollars news affairs, Stock Markets, stock market news, stock market analysis, technology news, international forex markets, international forex business news and all updates about Forex Trading
    ForexAffairs.Com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Top Ten Classified Website List, Pakistani Classified Sites, USA Classifieds, Indian Classifieds, Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Bollywood, Hollywood and Lollywood Pictures and Videos, Entertainment Latest updates, Hot Entertainment News and Pictures Funny Entertainment Pictures, lol Pictures, Funny Pictures and every thing you want...
    www.hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Top Ten Classified Website List, Pakistani Classified Sites, USA Classifieds, Indian Classifieds, Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Bollywood, Hollywood and Lollywood Pictures and Videos, Entertainment Latest updates, Hot Entertainment News and Pictures Funny Entertainment Pictures, lol Pictures, Funny Pictures and every thing you want...
    www.hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. All Latest and Current Affairs, News updates about Forex Business. Latest Currency news updates, latest forex trading business updates, trading updates, forex trading latest news, forex brokers directory, forex brokers list, Dollars news affairs, Stock Markets, stock market news, stock market analysis, technology news, international forex markets, international forex business news and all updates about Forex Trading
    ForexAffairs.Com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Top Ten Classified Website List, Pakistani Classified Sites, USA Classifieds, Indian Classifieds, Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Bollywood, Hollywood and Lollywood Pictures and Videos, Entertainment Latest updates, Hot Entertainment News and Pictures Funny Entertainment Pictures, lol Pictures, Funny Pictures and every thing you want...
    www.hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. All News updates about Forex Business, Latest Currency news updates, latest forex trading business updates, trading updates, forex trading latest news, forex brokers directory, forex brokers list, Dollars news affairs, Stock Markets, stock market news, stock market analysis, technology news, international forex markets, international forex business news and all updates about Forex Trading
    ForexAffairs.Com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Lol is the Laugh out of Laugh where you can Fun Unlimited and Laughing Unlimited. The Best Lol n Troll Network with the Name of Lols Gag... Troll Images, Prank Peoples, Funny Peoples, funny planet, funny facts, funny cartoons, funny movies pics, iphone funny, funny jokes, Prank Images, Fail Pictures, Epic Pictures, Lols and Gags, Lol Pictures, Funny Pictures.
    LoLsGag.Com

    ReplyDelete
  30. The Best Lol n Troll Network with the Name of Lols Gag... Troll Images, Prank Peoples, Funny Peoples, funny planet, funny facts, funny cartoons, funny movies pics, iphone funny, funny jokes, Prank Images, Fail Pictures, Epic Pictures, Lols and Gags, Lol Pictures, Funny Pictures, Lol is the Laugh out of Laugh where you can Fun Unlimited and Laughing Unlimited.
    LolsGag.Com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Make Money Online is very easy now, In Internet system we have now best earning system without any work, Just Invest some Money into your Business and Make Perfect Life time Earnings with this Business.
    Join Now for Make Perfect Business and Earn Money online from home.
    www.hotfxearnings.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Best Business Plan without any work from Home
    Daily Earning 40 Dollars and Monthly earning 1200 Dollars Guaranteed with Payment Proofs
    Plan 1, You can Invest as low as 1 Dollar to 100 Dollars and Get Daily profit of 2.50% for 90 Days.
    www.hotfxearnings.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. Make Money Online is very easy now, In Internet system we have now best earning system without any work, Just Invest some Money into your Business and Make Perfect Life time Earnings with this Business.
    Join Now for Make Perfect Business and Earn Money online from home.
    www.hotfxearnings.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Make Money Online is very easy now, In Internet system we have now best earning system without any work, Just Invest some Money into your Business and Make Perfect Life time Earnings with this Business.
    Join Now for Make Perfect Business and Earn Money online from home.
    www.hotfxearnings.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Funny Entertainment or Lol Pictures with full of Fun... Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Bollywood, Hollywood and Lollywood Pictures and Videos, Entertainment Latest updates, Hot Entertainment News and Pictures Funny Entertainment Pictures, lol Pictures, Funny Pictures and Much More Fun Only on 1 Current Affairs Network
    hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Top Ten Classified Website List, Pakistani Classified Sites, USA Classifieds, Indian Classifieds, Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Bollywood, Hollywood and Lollywood Pictures and Videos, Entertainment Latest updates, Hot Entertainment News and Pictures Funny Entertainment Pictures, lol Pictures, Funny Pictures and every thing you want...
    www.hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. All Latest Hot Current Affairs, All Entertainment News updates, Entertainment Articles, Entertainment News, Entertainment Pictures, Entertainment Videos, Funny Pictures, Fail Pictures, Troll Comics, Troll Images, lol Pictures, Mp3 Tunes and every thing you want...
    www.hotcurrentaffairs.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. Troll Images, Prank Peoples, Funny Peoples, funny planet, funny facts, funny cartoons, funny movies pics, iphone funny, funny jokes, Prank Images, Fail Pictures, Epic Pictures, Lols and Gags, Lol Pictures, Funny Pictures, Lol is the Laugh out of Laugh where you can Fun Unlimited and Laughing Unlimited.
    LolsGag.Blogspot.Com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Genuines Works of Data Entry, Copy Pasting, Facebook Posting, Add Posting, Link Posting, Clicking, Web Surfing, Website Visiting, Article Sharing, Data Sharing, Google Business Plan and Much More Business Plans.
    www.onlinecornerz.ocm

    ReplyDelete
  40. Genuines Works of Data Entry, Copy Pasting, Facebook Posting, Add Posting, Link Posting, Clicking, Web Surfing, Website Visiting, Article Sharing, Data Sharing, Google Business Plan and Much More Business Plans.
    www.onlinecornerz.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Get Hourly Profit with best business plans ever, Join Now
    AllTimeProfit.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. Get Part Time Data Entry, Copy Pasting, Clicking, Facebook and Article Sharing Jobs from Home
    Fb.com/JobzCornerz
    JobzCorner.com

    ReplyDelete