I agree with the negative space comment. Maybe you can make some little inky footprints winding past the lens and leading the eye off the canvas where the fairy wings are visible. I would also make the reflection of the fairy in the lens a bit more clear as it takes just a tad too much work to see it right now.
Oh wow! everything you say will make very strong improvements, I am so thankful for all of your detailed comments.
I also really liked the story you came up with.
I really feel excited to maybe redo the illustration later.
I appreciate you taking the time to give me critiques. you are awesome thank you !
@StudioLooong Love the character, and lightling. Beautiful image.
I just saw an image by Kenard Pak, and thought it might be interesting to add into the discussion here. It is mostly a monocolor image, with a touch of color for storytelling. I thought it was doen veyr effectively. Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 09.19.03.png
Another thing I am wondering about is the compostion. Would it make more sense to move him a bit towards left, so there is more room in front of him? Right now the left side of the image felt empty - something is missing.
I made some changes and here is the updated version with desaturated background (and a tree removal), I made some tone adjustments and darkened the foreground. I also rendered the water and made a few changes to the dragonfly.
As I was working on it, I was thinking about how it might appear in a book or magazine. With the detail on the insect, I thought that it would make a fun diagram. I wrote out the body parts in the handwriting they teach my kids at school for an authentic kid look. What do you think... with or without the text?