I make up characters in my head, and then I wait until I meet someone in real life who I think looks like that imaginary character. I will ask that person to pose as the character in my book.
I first saw the boy who would pose for Hugo when he was attending a puppet show I was performing at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. His real name is Garrett and he and his mom came to my house where he got into costume and posed for all the drawings of Hugo.
On the left is a photo of Garrett and on the right is the drawing I did that was based on the photo.
Below on the left is a photo of Hannah, the girl who posed as Isabelle. I met her and her mom at a pizza shop near my home in Brooklyn. On the right is the drawing that I did based on this photograph.
If you want to learn about the person who posed as Georges Méliès, go to About Remy Charlip