Serious Feedback Requested on FEB prompt and probably need to be talked down from the tree....

  • I am getting a little frustrated and deciding that maybe these contests are not a good thing for me. I am trying to learn all I can, but I struggle when I think my art was really successful and is pretty popular with you guys in the forums but I don't even get an honorable mention. This is probably my pride speaking so I am asking for serious help with critique on my Yeti cooked with flair piece. I want to learn. I probably have some serious blind spots. I don't want to be THAT student who thinks they are so great but are just kinda so so. I also don't want to be the guy who craves approval, yet here we are...My gut reaction is: "If the guys just don't like my style I kinda wish they would just say so and I will stop entering."


    That's not what I want to be about so if you have some advice, I would love to hear it.

  • Don't doubt yourself and keep your head up!!! That'll be my advice.

  • @chrisaakins I'm sorry Chris, I could really say exactly the same (except the popularity thing). My problem though is that with the constant hits to my confidence, I feel like I give bad advice and so for now will say thank you for saying all this and I will take some time to think about your image and what they said and see if I can come up with anything else that might help you.

  • I dig your style. Its dope. Keep on drawing. I want to see what you do for this month.

  • @SheerArt haha! Thanks man. I do have one in the works. Maybe I will have more success with it. @carolinebautista I am glad my words resonated with you because I feel like a sore loser. @frankiiij Thanks for your encouragement!

  • @carolinebautista So every month my wife says "that's their opinion." I try to help her see that their opinion holds credibility, all while she is trying to help me see that it really comes down to their preference.

    So I don't think the level of help that this community gives could counter their preference. You guys have given me wonderful advice and the last two months I hear critiques that I can check off yet I am still not in the honorable mentions. Maybe a lack more in style than what your help can give???

    Regardless, I'm leaning more to you just have to hit with what they prefer.

    PS. Caroline not sure how you could give better advice. Your advice is already spectacular. 🙂

  • So, I’m gonna be really honest here, I think it comes down to so many different factors that we all have to fit in to one piece which is no easy task right ? movement ,action , story telling, composition etc and it’s not just about the illustration looking cool or nice which by the way I think your piece is very nice and your style and rendering and the pieces that made the sixteen , a lot were not better drawn then yours for sure. Will and lee talked about pieces that didn’t make the cut because of the yetis not really looking like yetis, and I see your yeti perhaps leaning towards more of a bear? I could be way off here but that was my first thought if I had to critique it. Perhaps have him much larger ? Maybe more centered and bigger and make him the main focus with all the other condiments around him in a way that your eye goes to the yeti first then continues on to the rest of the narrative? It’s funny cause as I’m saying this to you I feel that’s what my piece lacked too . But seriously , I totally get your frustration but keep at it. It’s all valuable learning experience and that you see your own growth and improvement and that you learn from the others critiques even if you don’t get selected . Ánimos muchacho !

  • Just on a quick note , I just saw your other yeti and I think he was very good and more yeti like for sure , perhaps you could stick to your original yeti ?

  • Every artists ends up with these types of feeling and questions, probably several times over their lifetime. Remember that as artists we are not just climbing some stairs, we are also building the staircase. Every illustration is a new step to a level you didn't know you could get to.

    As far as a crit would say there are some issues I can point out but understand that they are minor.

    1. The style does not feel fully cohesive. Specifically the smoke looks flat when compared to the other elements in your illustration.
    2. The lighting has some random things going on. The Yeti looks like he is rim lit while everything else looks like it is top lit and the potatoes in the back feel like they are in a neutral light. This will ad to a mental confusion of styles with in the image.
    3. The composition tends to pull my eye away from the Yeti but doesn't really bring it back. These are all small things that add up over time. The smoke curls away from the focus, it could be simply curved back to the character. The spoon and sauce splatters also move away from the character. There are a lot of ways to address the spoon. Lastly the balance of the image is a little off, like it is rotated to the right. Just rotate it a bit and see if that helps.

    Again these are not super obvious nor are they a totally image killer. But you might want to look back through your passed work and see if it is something that is repeating. This is still a good image and you should definitely not be doubting yourself (Need to say this to myself more often), you have great skill and talent.

  • Don't stop entering @chrisaakins! You've got good skillz!! Whenever I feel that way, I'm really close to a breakthrough, so keep experimenting and I'm sure you'll blow us away 🙂

    I really like this piece. You've got great overlap and grouping going on, as well as interesting negative space. LOVE how the yeti's head is tilted back to smell the aroma! I didn't really see any other yetis doing that, and it's a great gesture for in the kitchen.

    I don't think being passed over on the top 16 has to do with your style. I think your style is good. I'm not even at your level yet, but if I were to guess at what would level it up, I'd say to look at it a little more holistically. It kind of has the vibe that you drew and rendered each piece individually, so there's less cohesion in the whole. For example, color: the blue is only on one half of the image; the pink is only on the other half. Each item is painted its most obvious local color, instead of working together. The floor rendering doesn't quite match the style of the drifting aroma. It's kind of nitpicky things, because your design and technical skills are pretty good. I think you're so close and can render so well, the overall effect of the image matters. I like your work and you inspire me to keep going! So keep going!!

    Not sure practically how to practice this, but my suggestion is maybe to try doing a few pieces traditional instead of digital? When your tools and colors are super limited, everything kind of naturally develops a cohesive quality. Maybe someone else at a higher level than me has a good exercise to try or can recommend a class?

    I hope you really meant it about wanting a serious critique. You've got some kind of conflicting messages in your post, and if you just wanted approval, I will feel really really bad... I hope you take this as encouragement, because I truly mean it that way! I really don't think you're as far off as you feel like!!

    Best of luck! And happy creating!! 😁

  • @MarksByMallory I do appreciate the encouragement. I also thank you for your honest critique! I do work traditionally as well and I know what you mean by color choices and a limited palette. That is definitely something I need to work on. YOu are the second person to point out the lack of cohesion. @Aaron-Cutright Thanks for pointing out the lack of cohesiveness and the lighting issues. I will look dor those issues in the future. @Isabel-Reyes-Feeney They didn't like my other Yeti, either, so I tried to go a little cuter. I thought the point of this illustration was the spot part and not the character development part so that probably didn't help matters. I do think some of the ones they chose weren't really spot illustrations, but what do I know. I'm still a newbie.

    I really appreciate all your eyes! I am going to post my other art soon and I would love the same feedback.

  • I have similar feelings, but I am trying my best to keep moving forward. I have only entered three times, four now, and each time I learn something. I think there are just soooo many styles it’s hard to narrow them down, i think it comes down to a preference thing. Which can be frustrating because so many times I’ve thought what? Mine was way better than that persons but I have to step back and put myself in check obviously it wasn’t better... just not catching their eye. I hope you keep entering I really enjoy your style too.

  • I was little put off as well by the character design judging part of critique today I thought they’d focus more on overall design and the cooking with flair part... but oh well

  • @chrisaakins I think for this type of contest specifically, it's more about understanding what it is so that you can't take it personally. Popularity on the forum (people giving good feedback, liking it, upvoting it, etc) doesn't come all that much into play when they are picked for the top 16. These prompts are a bit weird in the sense that they are community voted, but not community chosen. Think about the process - a prompt is given, you post your work for everyone to see and provide feedback, then you finish it and people on the forum love it. It gets posted and upvoted and confirmed as a great piece. Then someone from the SVS staff or instructors pop in couple days before the arena and chooses the ones they like out of the pool of like 100+ images as quickly as their schedule allows. And that's what gets voted on. So the "favorite" of the submissions doesn't even necessarily even get into the top 16 and can't even be voted on by the community that liked it the most 🙂

    Then, on top of all that, they are pitted against each other on a 1 on 1. So, your piece might be really strong against 15 other pieces in the prompt EXCEPT the one it's specifically pitted against.

    Consider a simple change where the top 16 were simply the top 16 most upvoted pieces by midnight on the last day of the month. That alone would dramatically change how these results play out.

    I think the advice that helped me the most was Lee's call to not look at the critique arena as a win or a loss, it's a challenge to help build your portfolio. Winning it is more of a fun surprise. You didn't do bad and therefore need to fix a bunch of problems in your submission, which would then result in a win having fixing it. Look at some of the pieces that have won over the last 12 months. Yours may be technically much better in many ways than those winners. But through the circumstances of everything that goes into the prompt, the wind just didn't blow the right way.

    Chin up bro. Bottom line - your stuff is great. You just did a pro gig for Paramount, so I think you can rest easy knowing you have chops 🙂 Obviously we can all improve, so things like these prompts provide a platform to do something you aren't all that used to or get out of your comfort zone, or simply just have a goal project to do that month as another way to build your portfolio.

  • @jdubz so true, last month I managed to get into the top somehow and in the very first round they’ve pit me next to the great and powerful gazelle grizzly... 😭😭😭 but it was an honor at the same time.

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  • Chris your entry is already a great portfolio piece which is the ultimate goal. I do completely understand the frustration, I have had several pieces that were not picked which most of the time doesn’t bother me, but the October prompt had so few entries and I felt like I was definitely going to make top 16. Not only did I not make top 16 I wasn’t mentioned in the extra 14 or so honorable mentions so I didn’t even make top 60%. I was so crushed I didn’t participate in the next one.

    But the thing is I keep improving. I can see how much I have actually improved and I can see it in your work too. Winning would be great but your already getting great clients (which is way better than winning an SVS contest. Just keep going. Your already a professional win or not.

  • @Asyas_illos I'm sorry about that... Your concept for yeti house was way cooler than mine !!

  • @chrisaakins I can totally relate on your frustration... Your style is sweet, it makes me wanna smile and share the happiness of that little chef. You're a professionnal artist and that matters a lot. Paramount chose you, not one of the winner! I really love how you render your pieces. I love the way you choose your colors too!

    If I may, though, I wonder if maybe with different proportions, your art would have been in the top 16. I feel like you gave too much space and attention to the text and not enough to the main character... Also, the yeti is about the same size as your smoke and I feel like I wanna see more the yeti and his happy face. I'm pretty sure Will would have say "your yeti is standard size, we wanna see very bug or very small but not an in beetween size". I sure hear Lee too, wanting your yeti to have more rythm (he's so happy, and maybe you may have enhance this happiness with more curves). I'm not sure that I can give more advice, your piece is already beautiful and deserving to go straight to your portfolio!

    I don't know if it's ok (if not, I can suppress my image, let me know), I allow myself to move around your proportions and enhancing your initial gesture... Hope it'll help you with your frustration, that's a horrible feeling...


  • SVS OG

    @chrisaakins Hi Chris! you make great work and you have a great style. I'm sure the guys also see that as well. However, I can see a few issues with this piece.

    1. The yeti looks like he's pouring the secret spice on to himself. Solution: Move out his hand further from his body.

    2. The Yeti is drawn too straight on. Personally, I would draw him in 3/4 view.

    3. Personally, I would also like to exaggerate the Yeti's pose more. I love what you did with his pinky. it's a good rule of thumb to imagine the character as a silhouette. If you can tell what the character is doing just by the silhouette, then the pose is clear.

    4. Lastly, this is purely based on my taste but since this is a Yeti piece, I feel that you missed a great opportunity to experiment with the concept. The current story is good but a bit too common. It would be fun if you added some crazy detail to it. Like what if the "secret" ingredient is made up of crushed up pixies and you had a cage full of pixies in the corner or something just as outlandish. 😂

    I hope this was helpful. Below is a quick sketch I made.

    Don't get discouraged, you make great art and you have made huge improvements too!

    chris akins 2.jpg

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