Creating Toby Turtle

Toby Turtle and the Underwater Crew all started with this painting. I did this one day just to paint something I loved, the Ocean. A friend commented on the happy looking turtle so the whole story started to develop around Toby. The hardest decision was, should I do the images digitally or hand paint them. I decided I wanted to be a better artist and I wanted authenticity that I don’t think would come through as much if they where done any other way.

Character Development

This is my initial sketches of the characters which where further developed and some that never made the cut. Jerry Jellyfish was going be called Jayden but I thought that was too difficult for children to remember.

As I characters developed so did their personalities. Sandy Seahorse’s hairstyle changed but this particulary nice style might come back in the next book


I did this as a mock up of the front cover as I had initially seen it and I pinned this up in front of my work desk to inspire me every time I sat down to work. I ended up changing the colour of Oscar so I had a good mix of real and pretend characters.

Every character in the book are sea life I have seen on my scuba diving trips. A turtle in off the coast of Vietnam, a sleeping octopus in the Philippines and Fiji is teeming with inspiration on their coral reefs.