Whimsical Project: Process and Thoughts

  • Forgot my main illustration at office, so came up with another simple scene. Good way to continue practicing with pastels and sepia!


  • Finished the main piece. Decided to do some post-processing with a phone app called Photor. Got interesting results. Feedback is welcome!

    Pastels (cheap set from Daiso) and ink. Main characters were coloured with cheap colour pencils.


  • Hi @diego_biosteam! It's a great project. I think for me the yellow background is too saturated and a little overwhelming. I'd recommend looking at Brian Froud as it sounds like the type of art you're going for. Also he was the concept artist on Dark Crystal and the Labyrinth. I'd also suggest making your characters a little more expressive. They're sentient characters with thoughts and feelings. Show us what they're thinking and feeling. I like your creatures! Very imaginative. I see lots of good things going on and look forward to seeing more!

  • Hi @IanS
    Glad you are liking this project!
    I agree that the yellow is too saturated. Looking at photographs of my own art and Post-processing just in my phone makes a difference (I usually reduce the brightness of the phone screen and forget to adjust it for these things). I will also not deny that I was struggling a lot with the pastels. Many of the results were accidental, some turned out to be good accidents, others not. Thanks for pointing it! Gonna try to change it.

    Thanks for suggesting Brian Froud! I am starting to be quite inspired by the art in Dark Crystal and similar, but only started scratching the surface. Gonna go deep on some studies of the artists.

    As for expressions, yeah, I am still trying to improve on it. I think my focus is being a lot on character and creature concepts, and starting a bit on environments, so I am neglecting a bit on the character emotions, although I think that is very important because I want the stories to focus on their emotions and expressions, but I don't want to exaggerate them. In this sense, I am being inspired by the narrative style of Ghibli Studios.

  • Two more creatures to populate this whimsical fantasy world. These are just sketchy concepts...

    Used a smudge pencil to smudge the pastels and got interesting colouring results.


  • Hi @diego_biosteam. I like your latest creatures. I mentioned Brian Froud before but I also think you should look at Arthur Rackham & John Bauer.

    Arthur Rackham


    John Bauer


  • Hi @IanS

    Thank you again. I am compiling references of artists that I like and included some works by Brian Froud. Searching for similar artists also, so thanks for the other suggestions. I am also including others with different styles that I like (the art of "Machinarium" and "Professor Layton" for example). If you see my other works, they are quite different from this project. This is new to me! I think its coming to a point that I think I can have a hybridization among styles and individualize them for each project. Not saying that I want to be a jack of all trades and do any style, but be able to do 2 or 3 styles that I like and try to mix them may work.

  • @IanS also forgot to mention the work of Stephanie Pui Mun Law

  • Learning from the master. Copying the sketches by Brian Froud. Ended up creating a sketch of a knight goblin. May not include it in the Whimsical Project, but may just elaborate another piece for him



  • Worked a bit on the "Goblin Knight" that I created while studying Brian Fround art. From the previous sketch to this illustrated version.

    The paper for this sketchbook is not good and cannot take water based media (watercolour or gouache). It also doesn't react very well with dry media, but I still gave it a try with colour pencils. I liked the result, but I don't really like working with colour pencils, mainly for a practical reason as they require too much effort to fill small areas on the paper (it's tiring and time consuming).

    I did some digital post processing on the final illustration (just selected a filter and did some colour correction).

    0_1513929364219_Knight Goblin - Final.png

    0_1513920832376_Knight Goblin - WIP.png

  • One more creature for the whimsical world.

    Not a plant, nor an animal. Fantasy worlds allow for more than the conventional kingdoms of life.

    This was based on a small water splash on the floor. Took me some time to get the right anatomy for this one!



  • Created another character, this time based on a Dandelion. Not so sure about the direction this is going yet, but I am just letting things happen for now - it helps me develop a series of characters and environments as I put the ideas on the paper, and the story starts unfolding as this whimsical world comes to life. Some creations will be used, some will be discarded. I liked this one a lot and decided to make a full illustration with it - but it is still in progress. Still have some details to add and colouring!

    0_1514861622367_Catching a Falling Seed - Small.png

    0_1514861601714_Dandelion - Small.png

  • @diego_biosteam
    Have you watched Lee's class on finding creative style? It's an excellent class! I think the information & the exercise / assignment he gives would be helpful to you in researching styles and finding elements you want to emulate.

  • @Miriam

    Yes! I watched it. I did the selection of main artists that are influencing my work! And that is being reflected in this project!

  • Done with the Dandelion illustration. There are about 4 to 5 layers of watercolour and 3 "layers" of inking. Took me about 6 hours to complete it. Then I did some basic digital post processing, including the light rays.

    0_1515255708055_Dandelion 01 - Edited.jpeg

  • @diego_biosteam
    The funnel-shaped plants are competing with your main character--especially the one in the middle with the tiny worm/caterpillar next to it. That is where my eye is drawn first. The dandelion character's feet/roots are getting lost at the bottom & the seed floating at the top is very blended with the mushroom behind it as well. It looks like you could use some value and color to separate things and draw the attention to the dandelion and the seed. I'm a beginner, so I don't know much about that yet! But maybe you could add some contrast by making the background darker and the more important object lighter or vice versa.

    Also, some of the line work looks faded out while other parts look darker. I think that is a lot of why the one funnel stands out so much. If all of the lines on the dandelion and the seed were darker than the other plants, I think they would stand out more.

    I really like all the shades of green. It looks very lush.

    It's fun to find all the little creatures hiding in the picture.

  • @miriam
    Thanks for the feedback! The dandelion feet blending with the ground were more intentional than the other issues you mentioned. Will be more careful with the next piece!

  • @diego_biosteam
    If it follows the storyline, go with it. :)

  • No critique, just wanted to say that I love the colors on this one!!

  • @eli Thank you! I wanted it to have a bit of a dark fantasy look.

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