Serious critique requested--Narnia characters

  • SVS OG

    Hi everyone! I am planning a Narnia sequence from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for my portfolio, so I'm starting with character design. Before moving on to color and doing scene thumbnails, could some of you be so kind as to critique my work? In case you haven't read the books, here's what you need to know about the four Pevensie children, who are sent to live in the English countryside during WWII and end up traveling through a wardrobe into a magical, medieval-inspired world:

    From L to R:

    Lucy (8): By nature open, trusting and joyful. Probably the main character, thought all are important. Here (for character) she is talking to a European robin, who appears in the books but doesn't actually light on her finger. She is described as "golden-haired."

    Edmund (10): Currently has the sulks (which is an important part of the plot), though he gets better. Intelligent. He isn't really given a physical description, but a later book describes him in a group of young, mostly fair-haired, young men. Since he has dark hair in the movies, I took this as an opportunity to differentiate him.

    Susan (12): Maternal, practical. It's her idea to take the coats from the wardrobe and put them on when they first enter Narnia. She is described as having long, black hair and being "the pretty one," and the later books hint at her having become a bit vain. I am trying to show her on the cusp of adolescence.

    Peter (13): Protective, courageous, but on the flip side can lord it over the others at times. He really takes to the responsibilities of being the leader, so I've drawn him with a medieval sword. He isn't give a physical description in the books, but again, I have tried to differentiate him from Peter in the movies.

    I have tried to use historically accurate clothing that is appropriate to the age of each child. Since it's snowing in Narnia, I at least dressed them in sweaters, though Edmund as a younger boy would have worn short pants.


    Do the characters read as described?
    Do you see things that are off drawing-wise?
    Anything else?

    Thank you!

    Narnia character design 2 values.jpg

  • I've read the Narnia books many times and watched the old BBC miniseries ... who knows how many times. I feel like you've really nailed the character designs based on their personalities. I like Edmund's sour expression.

    Here's one suggestion about the clothes: maybe Susan's skirt should go just below her knees instead of above? I haven't done a real deep dive into women's period fashion, but it seems like she would look a little more grown up with a slightly longer skirt since that was the style of most women's clothes vs. girls clothes.

  • SVS OG

    @LauraA I think you nailed them Laura

  • @LauraA I love these. You've nailed the characters. Drawing-wise, I see a couple things with Peter. He needs some more definition and value in his face and pants to better match the rendering on his siblings, and his right shoe is too boxy at the toe; it needs to come to move of a point like. But overall, again I think these are great. I'm a big fan of the books, and I would definitely be able to tell that these were the Pevensies without any support text.

  • SVS OG

    Thank you all so much! I'm glad they gave you all a Narnia feeling. I had to go against my mental images because as a child, I got the idea in my head that Lucys should have dark bobbed hair (maybe partly from Peanuts 😆 ). Pauline Baynes's illustrations just reinforced my image of a Lucy with dark hair.

    @ajillustrates I had just added some shadows to Peter's pants and changed his shoe before reading this, so your observations were spot on--thank you! I am actually trying to render a bit less, and so I took some of Susan's face shadows out, but will look over them all to make sure they are consistent.

    @akpcreates Even after going down a major '40s fashion rabbit hole, I'm admittedly a bit confused about the skirt lengths of 12-year-old British girls. High school girls were definitely knee length, but I was basing the skirt length on some photos of girl evacuees who looked to be about 10-12. Also, I had gotten a critique earlier that Susan looked a bit old, so I was purposefully trying to make her look like she was still on the child side of adolescence. That way she can look older in subsequent books. In the first film, her skirt is just above the knee. Maybe I'll lengthen it just a tad. Hmm, maybe I should shorten Lucy's.

    @Nyrryl-Cadiz Thank you!

    Again, thank you all! Better to work out these things now than later!

  • SVS OG

    Here are some further revisions to skirt lengths, shadows, and Edmund's perspective and how he's holding his hands in his pockets.

    Narnia character design 2 further revisions.jpg

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