Carlos Basabe
Illustrator in Washington, DC
Lionbackers.png

The Sporty Turtle

The Sporty Turtle was a self-published children's book about a turtle pursuing his dream of becoming an athlete.

 

THE SPORTY TURTLE

The Sporty Turtle (La Kawama Deportiva) was a nickname given to me as a kid when I took karate classes. I was a decidedly un-athletic kid with lanky features and a disproportionally large head, so the nickname was on par with some of the other ones I earned over the years. When I looked for a story idea to write and illustrate as my first children's book, I drew from the experience and the nickname to tell the tale of a turtle's quest to fit in and be as good at sports as his peers in the animal kingdom all seemed to be. In the end, the turtle learned as I did: success comes from focusing on and nurturing the best parts of ourselves; not from striving to be someone we're not. 

The book was a self-published effort and a companion piece to my talk at the Creative South conference, also centered around leaning into what makes us unique as artists. The response to the story and the art has been one of the highlights of my creative career. 

 Interior Spread

Interior Spread

 

DEVELOPMENT

 
 Early design for Turtle Character. 

Early design for Turtle Character. 

There once was a turtle with a wonderful dream...

After living with the story for a few years, the task of finding the look of the protagonist became very intimidating. Turtles are ubiquitous in pop culture, and finding a style that did not rely too heavily on some of the famous turtle character designs was a challenge.

The turtle was meant to seem pathetic and hopeless in his quest, but the design needed to have enough range to also make his ultimate triumph believable.  

 

 

CHARACTER DESIGN

The turtle was meant to seem pathetic and hopeless in his quest, but the design needed to have enough range to also make his ultimate triumph believable.  

 

STORYBOARDING

 

COVER

 
 
 Final Cover

Final Cover

 Interior Spread

Interior Spread