Is this TOO dramatic?



  • So I painted this image here for my kid lit portfolio.
    Witch Bunny Soup FINISHED.png

    Then a friend of mine, did this rough edit as a suggestion for the lighting.
    dark witch bunny soup.png
    While it looks really cool, it made me think. For kid lit portfolios, can you get TOO dramatic, or TOO cinematic?

    I feel like kids books usually fall flat when it comes to drama and cinematics.
    Or maybe it's just that very very dark lighting doesn't feel like kids illustration? I'm curious what everyone's thoughts are!



  • It feels very dark to me. I can't really tell what is going on in the second picture. It does feel more dramatic, but maybe too much for kidlit.



  • @Frost-Drive while I understand your logic about dramatics, remember that kid lit is for kids, so even dark themes have to be handled VERY delicately. It’s also important to remember that parents will be looking at books as well, and if a book gets too dark it will not be well received. The style of your drawing feels more akin to young adult fiction or graphic novels, not kid lit.


  • SVS OG

    I don't think that being overly dramatic is an issue for picture books. (See Creepy Carrots, by Peter Brown.) But if you're going to add in a film noir look, you'll have to handle the darks with care. Your piece looks great, but I can see what your friend is trying to convey. I wouldn't go to that extreme, but maybe try deepening your shadows even more, particularly in the right-side for the room only, and the ceiling particularly?



  • I like both pictures for different reasons. The first picture would in my opinion work for an (older) kid lit book. So, which age bracket are you thinking about? The lighting of the second one I like very much, however I feel this makes the picture a lot darker in storytelling and more a kin to an image you would find in an adult focused graphic novel with anthropomorphic characters.


  • Pro

    @Frost-Drive While your friend's edit is certainly more atmospheric, it's also so dark it's hard to tell what's even going on. I'd take his advice in consideration but balance it out better to keep a clear illustration.


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