When I started doing the initial drawings of all the characters, I was very excited to design Eleanor, because I love to draw birds… they come in so many varieties – many colors, sizes, markings, different beaks, etc. I knew from the start that Eleanor should be a Parakeet. But even just ‘parakeet’ doesn’t narrow it down! have you seen how many different parakeets there are?
…And those are just the Australian types! In the end, I decided to go simple… I imagine Eleanor as a yellowish green parakeet with a orangey-pink cheek mark.
As simple as she was, however, Eleanor was probably the character that gave me the most trouble once I started on her. Everything I drew just looked wrong. It turns out, anthropomorphizing a bird was a little trickier than I imagined. Finally, I decided I needed some inspiration. I tried to think of a cartoon bird that I liked the look of… Where else did I turn, but one of my childhood favorites, Disney’s The Three Caballeros!
Jose Carioca, the green parakeet from Brazil, was just the bird I was looking for! The beak on that guy is amazing! Although it may not look like it, studying the way Jose’s beak was drawn really helped me figure out how to draw Eleanor’s. Her beak ended up a lot daintier than our caballero here, but he definitely helped me get there.