Looking for critique--stork illustration

  • SVS OG

    I've been kind of absent from these forums for awhile, but now that the SCBWI conference is over I feel like I have time to dive back in.

    The subject matter of this piece makes it pretty obvious what has been on my mind, haha. We're expecting our first little one in a few months, and we're really excited! (And, well, terrified, but let's not focus on that ;-). I decided to channel this excitement into a piece about the upcoming arrival.


    The concept was that I wanted to have the baby as excited about arriving as we are about having her! A little cheesy, but what do you expect from a cute baby picture? Is it coming across?

    In the background I'm thinking of having hills with some houses and trees and such, but before getting into those little details I wanted to check that the overall concept and composition were working.

  • I think your composition is lovely. Congratulations!

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    I like it a lot!

  • Pro SVS OG

    It is really nice, lovely concept- and i love your line work

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    First of all congratulations!

    The one thing I would suggest, is perhaps trying to make the baby look more like... well... a baby! Right now the face is reading older and she is looking more like a toddler to me

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    Congratulations!! You must be so excited! And cheese is fully acceptable hehe!

    Lovely illustration, I love the concept. Rich is right, the baby looks a little old. Maybe get rid of the hair and the line along the side of the mouth? I think once you start painting it may take care of itself. You could have her feet kicking out the back or her arms outstretched to the sides to show more excitement. She really is cute heh!

  • nice piece

  • Congratulations! I really like your composition and I think the babies excitement is reading well so I don't necessarily think that you need to change it to make it look more like a baby. That being said, I agree that it looks more like a one year old than a newborn, mostly because of the head control and the tight grip. You could flip the baby on his back like he's in a swing with his arm spread wide like newborns do when they are excited. But, I really think it reads well as is. Everyone knows storks carry newborns 🙂

  • congratulation! Sarah. I think it's a lovely idea, and the baby looks very excited.

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    Ok, here is sketch that is a bit more refined, though the background is really just scribbled in for now. I had a big debate over how old exactly I wanted the baby to be, and decided I didn't really want a brand new newborn. A newborn wouldn't be able to hold its head up and have the same expression as I wanted in the picture. So I cleaned up the face, without really going for the newborn look.

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    @Sarah-LuAnn That looks so much better to me!! isn't it amazing how a few lines added or removed can change an age? She still looks excited, and much younger now!! I love the flow on your stork 😃

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    @Sarah-LuAnn I think you found the perfect balance with the face of the baby now. Looks great!

  • @Sarah-LuAnn What a sweet idea and Congrats on your upcoming addition!!

  • Such a sweet piece, congratulations to you both 😃

  • SVS OG

    I got a bit more done on this piece and got most of the colors laid in (still some details in the background I haven't got, like the clouds and houses), but I feel like something is off and I'm not sure what it is. I don't feel motivated to move forward with this piece until I figure out what it is. Thoughts?


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    Lovely colors! I think it may be over textured. try removing it from the white on the stork, definitely all of it on the baby, and blur the trees a bit. Your baby looks so happy!!

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    @Sarah-LuAnn I think it may just be a contrast issue - i did a quick paint over - i darkened parts of the ground - lightened the top of the stork and darkened the bottom of the stork - also thinned out lines that are facing the sky - lightened parts of the skin tone of the baby and shrunk the features a bit too - took the sky to a less gray blue too to try to make the stork's head pop - i think i strayed very from your cool block print style but i was just working on the contrast to see if that might be what is bothering you 🙂 .... oops i just noticed i forgot the edge of his little ear - i think too that i should have lightened or darkened the feathers that dip down below the trees just a tiny bit - right now they are a bit close to being the same value Attachment-1-4 copy.jpeg

  • SVS OG

    @Sarah-LuAnn Lovely work! Agh it's so frustrating when you don't know what's bugging you with a piece. Well I'm going to offer another opinion/idea for you, to make it more difficult 😉

    To me it looks like the background is sort of fighting with the stork's flow through the air, I don't know why but perhaps because it slopes upwards from left to right, feels like an uphill struggle almost..I know that's really abstract but just my reaction.

    So, what I'd try is flipping the flow of the background so it slopes down in a swooshy way that echoes the shape of the stork & baby.. with more of your woodcut style adding detail flowing in that direction...like they are flying really fast! ...but you could still add enough detail to make it interesting. Here's a visual idea of what I mean (excuse the quick job, you'd obviously make it look better!):


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    I think it's a great composition. I understand that you haven't really done details yet. The baby's face does look a little old but I think I especially would like to see some light beaming from those little eyes 🙂 Congratulations. Being excited AND terrified means you're ready 🙂 You want to do a good job as a parent and you will! So exciting to see that little one for the first time :-).

  • SVS OG

    @Sarah-LuAnn Coming along great! I really like the wood-block style you have going on, very cool!

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