Thank you everyone for your advice!
This had given me good food for thought, and I will get back to the author with some suggestions.
Thank you very much for your reply!
I don't think I'll get the author to change much of the story, haha. It was a very popular local event, so people who were involved in helping care for the lamb are the (starter) audience.
I understood animals to be a great "buffer" for telling more "heavy" stories, since the same events with human characters would be too much...
Wasn't there a popular children's book that came out recently that showed a duck and a sheep trying to live a new life in the stomach of the wolf that ate them? Found it: I think it's The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett. Could you imagine that premise with humans? Haha
I'm just typing my thoughts, brainstorming about this one.
Thanks again for your advice!
I'm working with an author on a small children's book (so no publisher / art director to guide things). I'm happy with the project, but I have a question I was hoping to run by the great folks of SVS:
Do (published / mainstream) children's books ever show the action of one animal harming another? Or is this usually portrayed as "after action", just showing the result? Or would this kind of action be better left to the text?
Here's what the author just sent me:
...one image with [baby lamb] being kicked or headbutted by [mother lamb].
Since this is a more of a passion project with the author, we can ultimately do what we want. But I want to advise her, and since the story is already about a baby lamb being rejected by his mother, that seems pretty sad as it is. (It's based on true events of a farm where a baby lamb was rejected, hand-raised by the farmers, and then struggled to ultimately regain his place in the herd.)
Of course, I can draw the "after" shot, but there are other images of the rejected lamb sitting alone watching the rest of the animals eat because he's not welcome. It just seems like showing all that gets pretty heavy! Hahaha
Anyway, thank you so much for your advice!
Just wanted to update here that I'm still working on this! And thanks again for feedback!
My goal is to make 5-10 finished small illustrations that look like nursery art + coffee. I was aiming to finish by the end of November, but I think I'll give myself an extension with all that's going on. :)
Here's a sketch of a more "action shot" as recommended:
Color practice for the fox. It looks really bright on my computer (I tried to adjust the scan) but the original is a bit less saturated. I need to change the shape of the scarf, and I will be taking the boots OUT for the final version. :)
And a really quick sketch
Gotta fix that left foot!
Ok, that's the update!
This is a great question! Certainly something I wrestle with myself.
I learned that 99% of days, if I don't do Art Time first, I tend to not do it. It's very easy for me to get sucked into cleaning, paperwork, chores, the stuff of life... those things are endless. I try to do art for at least an hour before I move on to check off a Life Thing or two.
As for what Art Time consists of... well, I'll just tell you what I do, and you can take it or leave it. :)
I usually start with watching some of my current SVS lesson, which is often inspiring and gives me all sorts of good ideas/challenges. (Usually while I have a coffee or eat. Multitasking, lol)
Then, if I haven't already started doodling during the lesson (hehe) I'll start with what I call "drawing drills." I use Pintrest to save art that I like, and then I draw from those for a while. The specific thing I draw varies, but it's very good practice to try to match what you see. I suggest starting with what you like, then adding in things that look challenging. I can't tell you how great it feels to face an image and think "no way I can do that" but then an hour or so later you've been able to copy it. If I start with drawing either from photographic reference, or from my mind, that's when I tend to just do what I usually do, and I don't feel like I'm improving.
Then, I move on to my current project. Sometimes this is a piece I've been asked to do, or other times it's an online challenge/event. Last month it was Inktober, I also like to do Animal Alphabets, and this month I have a small personal project before a bigger project begins in Dec/Jan.
While I work, I like to listen to videos/podcasts like Will Terry or Jake Parker's YouTube videos, since they usually don't need to be watched, just listened to. And music or a book on tape. :)
I've just been able to get back into my art, and this is the routine I have right now.
The main thing, I think, is to continue working, even if you're not sure what you're doing, or you feel "blocked". Don't be afraid to try a new technique, or make mistakes. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I have to tell myself that I'm filling me sketchbook with only terrible drawings (to get them out of my system haha).
I found twitter to be a great motivator, and the SVS forums are also a great place to post art and ask for feedback. When I worked with other artists, I loved having my co-workers around to ask for critiques.
I also suggest watching Jake Parker's video on YouTube called "You Need a Project, Not a Product" (I think I got that right). He explains what a personal project is, gives ideas, and lays out why having a project is an excellent way to improve.
Hope this helps! I'm very interested in what other people have to say, too.
Keep drawing :)
@eli Thank you! Great suggestion for the "action poses" :)
I wanted to keep them reeaally simple, the idea is "grown-up version of nursery art." (You know... those cute images of animals holding balloons or flowers lol) but with coffee. My first shot did include some tables, so I'll try those again.
I'm going to do some more sketches and try out your suggestions!
@rcartwright Thank you!
Yeah, I agree the winter ones are stronger... I'll keep tweaking the designs. Could you point out specific lines that are not confident? I don't want that! While these are just the pencil sketches/concepts, I want to be sure my art is clear. Then when I go to ink it, I'll be sure to keep your feedback in mind!
And NOOOO I am NOT finishing these digitally hahaha! I only have a mouse, that would be a disaster. :) Ink and watercolor finals.
After Inktober, I've decided to do a small personal project with the bonus goal that I would hang these in a local coffee shop. It's less important for me to sell them than it is to simply finish the project.
Anyway, I was hoping for some feedback from fellow artists! I really really like constructive criticism, so please tell me what you think doesn't work / looks bad / I need to fix.
Goal: make 5-10 pieces for Animals Drinking Coffee set by end of the month. Frame originals (about 5"x8" ink and watercolor) and present to local coffee shops, scans can be used for prints/greeting cards.
The idea: Grown-up version of nursery art. The animals are are supposed to have a cute, plush feel to them, but they're engaged in the "grown-up" activity of drinking coffee. (Or tea / hot chocolate / whatever haha)
Currently, I'm fiddling with the design.
Example of a final (quickly colored in photoshop w/ no skill in digital painting, lol)
For instance, lion could have arms up, or down...
I'd like to add winter clothing, since it would allow me to add a bit more color and interest, but I think that might "limit" them to a season, (so no one will want them) any thoughts?
Examples of winter gear vs none: (I know it's hard to see the difference without color)
Some other designs I'm fiddling with...
vvv I'm going to re-do these three for sure, but I'm posing them just for the heck of it, haha
Sorry if the images are really big! I tried to keep them small.
Well, this was a long post (sorry) but any feedback / suggestions are greatly appreciated! I'll post updates here and probably on twitter as I go along.
Ok, I hope I submitted this right!
SVS Third Thursday: Inktober
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