illustrated poster



  • Hoping to create an illustration for my portfolio while also having it work as a poster for a friend of mine's kids room. The challenge is to create a race with zoo animals and her 3 boys. I like where my sketch is headed, but wondering what it needs. Should I zoom out a bit and add a background? Do I need to fix the layout? I can't put my finger on the problem, so i'm stuck. Feel free to do a draw over, or point out my flaws. Thanks everyone!


  • administrators

    Hi Christina, this is a lovely start!

    I would say at this point the answer to your questions is "yes". By that I mean that you should do a number of sketches. Try zooming out and adding a bit of background. Try some different vantage points and compostions. Do a bunch of these! Then zero in on your 3 favorites and post them here. There is nothing better than having a few to look at to really put your finger on what might be working or not. Likewise, there is nothing harder to figure out than just having one image to look at and make it work. Sometimes I do up to 80 different sketches just trying stuff out to see what works. I see many artists draw one image and then they struggle with it forever because they missed this crucial step of explortation. Plus, it's fun!!

    I would recommend making the cars "lean" towards the finish too. You see that a lot in animation, but you really want the viewer to feel the speed. Just angle it to go in the direction of the finish like this silly sketch:

    rabbit speed.jpg



  • Lee,

    Thanks for your advice! I did think of the "squash and stretch" motion when drawing, but looks like I got caught up in their construction. I will definitely make more sketches and try out the background in a range of ideas. Really appreciate having an instructors advice! All of the input here is great, but I didn't know you guys took the time to read the forum! Super encouraging. Thanks!


  • administrators

    We love to check out what you guys are doing here on the forums. It's wonderful to see the progress of all the artists. It's also nice because we are trying to build a community of support and education that builds on itself and gets stronger as we go. By encouraging experimentation and professional standards, everyone gets better so much quicker than they would otherwise. I sure wish SVS was around when I was going through school.



  • @Lee-White Well I'm so glad that y'all do! It's such a great help!

    I quickly made some adjustments in PS since I was short on time tonight. I think I got the feel of motion down a bit more.
    I did 11 different placement sketches adding in environments. I ended up liking these three, but still question if my original idea is working best. For me, It's between the rock-arch, the close up, and the rocky scene. I found myself drawing dessert environments most lol.
    What do you think?







  • I decided to go with this. I really like the desert environment i wound up with. I'm going to do one more draw over before I color it. Does anyone see anything I should fix in the sketch before I do? Oh and the round faces are where kids will go, they're just place holders for now.



  • @Lynn-Larson, Hey Lynn! Do you have any suggestions for this? Anything sticking out at you that I should fix?



  • I love seeing the progression of your work. It looks really lively/engaging! The change of the environment is great, as is the addition of the little lizard looking over the rock ledge. Is the giraffe on a motorcycle? For me, the speed limit sign is a bit distracting, but that may be a non-issue once you go to color... currently my eye glances off in that direction - possibly due to the wording and large/knocked out copy of the #50.



  • @Lisa-Middleton-Griffin Thank you! Its so helpful to have fresh eyes of another artist to help with your work. Really grateful for your comment! I was wondering about the sign. The client wants a sign or something indicating that this place is Texas. I'll move it around or get rid of it, and i'll post my updates soon!



  • I love your poster. My only comment goes with Lee's original comment about leaning the cars and characters forward for the illusion of speed. Your cars look like they are leaning backward or standing still, so my impression is that it is a traffic jam not a race. I'm just a beginner, but I hope this helps.



  • I agree with @B-Macia, I think the piece is great, but I would definitely lean the cars foward!

    And also, you moved your original point of view to more of a "top view". I think it can work, but I feel it might be better to lower your camera angle a bit and overlap the cars more. It would add depth to your image I think... I hope this is clear...

    Great illustration though!



  • @B-Macia @NoWayMe Thank you both! I did a messy sketch over and lost the sign. What do you all think now? I know i need to improve the sketch, just seeing if it look right in the skeleton stage? If the idea looks good, i'll start refining it. I really want to move on to color!



  • I like the composition and the viewpoint. I've got to say, the giraffe cracks me up. Did you ever hear the old Bill Cosby routine about the baby buggy races? This reminds me of that. Look it up on YouTube, it is hilarious! Every car had its own theme music, Batman, The Green Hornet, etc.



  • @NoWayMe and @Beatriz-quot-Bett-quot
    Thanks for your advice! Here's my final sketch before I move on to color. Will Terry's "There Once was a Cowpoke" illustrations inspired most of this, the giraffe was my own idea though. Excited to get to coloring! I'm also going to paint it Will Terry's 10 steps. Let's see if I can!



  • Applied cast shadows, occlusion shadows and tone...



  • @Christina-Taylor-Brown The rock will probably cast some shadow too :)



  • Ah! Thanks! Almost forgot that!



  • Color tests: I'm having trouble deciding. Can anyone help me pick?


  • administrators

    These are looking good. Although I might suggest going back to the value stage and working that out a bit more. If you turn off your line layer, you will see that your have mostly middle greys without real darks and lights. Think about local tone a bit more. Some cars will be dark, and some cars will be light. Then the lighting pass gets added on top of those values, but you never lose that value structure.



  • @Lee-White Thank you ! I was wondering about that. When I do values, I'm always scared to go too dark. I really need to work on that!
    Here's what I've got and i'm happy so far. I normally work traditionally, so this is probably my third attempt at a digital piece.


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