Feedback Please- My Sketch for March Third Thursday

  • This is my sketch for March Third Thursday about Haven and Show and Tell. This drawing is based on something that really happened when I was teaching elementary school. One of the kindergarten teachers told me about it and although I did not personally witness it, the shock and humorous aspects of it were relayed to me. It is the first thing I thought of when I heard of the prompt for this month. The child had asked permission to bring her dad for show and tell and begged the teacher. The teacher was under the impression that the dad was alive and would share info about his career or a hobby. Instead the child showed up with a cremation urn and with much expression wanted to share with the other children. The teacher was very shocked and perplexed on how to handle the situation and afraid that it would frighten and scare the other classmates.

    My questions are:

    1. How is my composition, is it working?
    2. Do I correctly understand the term spot illustration or should it not have the blackboard in the background?
    3. Although I realize schools now use whiteboards instead of blackboards, is it OK to have it black for the composition?
    4. Is the Dad ghost pushing the boundaries too much or would most people accept the humor in the situation?

    Thank you for any feedback and your time to view this.

  • SVS OG

    @Jan-Clifton-Watford Hey Jan - i though i would share my reaction to the piece since that is what you are looking for right? Now this is just one opinion remember and everyone else may get the humor aspect - for me this image really just makes me sad ...... We still use blackboard where i teach - i love chalkboards - nothing like real chalk on a real chalkboard! ...anyways - chalkboards are more of a greenish blue gray color where i am - that would still get the chalkboard idea across without the need for black - i think if you go with this image that the expression on Haven's face will be critical to how folks react to it - look forward to seeing where you go with this.

  • SVS OG

    Same here I thought it's just too sad for a children's book image. As far as the image itself it seems a little stiff. Everything spaces out really even across the image. May try a few more thumbnails to get a more dynamic image. As far as the theme of the image, the death of dad thing kills it for me.

  • The urn/death of dad is yes, indeed very sad...

    However there are children's books written especially to help children in dealing with loss, that do acknowledge death, grief and acceptance/healing for children ("Tear Soup" comes to mind, among others)...the fact that Haven is able to find comfort in knowing her fathers ashes are with her (as well as his spirit), and that she is able to share the urn means Haven has started to heal. I find your concept original.

  • here's another example of a children's book "Cry, Heart, But Never Break" - dealing with death. Wonderful illustrations by Charlotte Pardi.

  • I think you could make it work, movies like "Paranorman" use this kind of humor effectively.

  • Thank you for all of your comments. I know this would be difficult to pull off for a children's book but it just is an idea that I had to create for this prompt because it stands in my memory and I have always thought that the fact that the little girl was so comfortable and proud to share with her class had to mean that she had accepted the death of her father and was proud of the good memories she had of them. I think the idea of death is very upsetting to some people, probably most people, but somebody had probably done a good job of teaching acceptance to this child and I am hoping the illustration will show this. I am aiming also for a shock and panic reaction with the teacher.

    I think it is stiff and I will work on that. I sketched it very quickly and I think I am more worried about the shock value of it than anything, but I think I will learn a lot of creating it so that is what is important.

    I want to go with the blackboard because of the contrast with the characters and especially the dad ghost.I thought it would bring it all together as a composition since it is a spot illustration, but I could be working so I appreciate any feedback.

    I wrote this last week and it vanished before I could post it. I thought it was lost but came back just now and it was still here. I must have posted a wrong button. Since I wrote the first part of this, I happened to have a thought about the Mexican culture and how respect for the dead and especially their relatives is presented to young children. I have decided to incorporate this into this illustration and illustrating Haven the little girl with the cremation urn as Mexican/Hispanic and the teacher as Caucasian. The Mexican culture teaches young children differently in how to respect death. I will post an update soon.

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