Mimi, a long-time reader and supporter of my blogs, provided some very helpful feedback in a comment to my last post. Thank you, Mimi!
My reply to Mimi is below, but the bottom line is that I believe more work needs too be done on both the Grumbly and Wendy characters, and one (and as I type this, perhaps both) will undergo a gender-change.
Thank you, Mimi. You’re comments are always welcome. We tried to capture the essence of many eventually-lovable, initially-detestable bad guys in Grumbly. We went through several iterations of Grumbly on our way to this one. There are actually quite a few substantial differences between the illustrations of Grumbly and the Grinch, but if a reader’s reaction is essentially, “that’s just the Grinch in a different color”, that is certainly a reaction we’re trying to avoid, so your comment is very helpful to me. It means we’ve got more work to do, on the illustration, as we truly want unique characters.
Also, as I typed the names of both characters, I noticed the names Grinch and Grumbly both start with “Gr”. While that is a coincidence–my version is a play off of the words grumble and grumbling–if I was an author who WAS trying to evoke the Grinch in the minds of the reader, having the name of a character start with the same first two letters might be one way to do it. So, since I plan on keeping the name, I believe more work needs to be done on making the character more unique looking.
We also had the challenge that some of the early sketches of Wendy Goodlight evoked images of the little girl-Who that helped the Grinch’s heart grow. A little girl and a tall “bad”-guy probably evokes the Grinch in many. Perhaps “Wendy” is about to become a boy. If so, I may decide to name him Alex, after my third grandson. After all, I was holding one of the twins–who was being quite fussy–when the idea of the grumbly character came to me in the first place.
Clearly more work needs to be done. I don’t want to encroach on the work of the great Dr. Seuss, even inadvertently, both in respect of him and because I want to create my own unique look in my children’s books.
Thank you so much, Mimi, for your very helpful feedback!