April 3rd Thursday

  • SVS OG

    So, having caught up with the critique video I realise that my piece didn’t quite hit the spot (so to speak!), which makes sense because:

    1. My spot concept was a bit vignette-y (if I understand it all better now)
    2. The school environment didn’t come across so well, which happened because:
    3. I didn’t test my sketch to destruction beforehand.

    I want to do better, so I’m definitely going to take Lee’s advice to audition several ideas instead of just one. So here goes with next month’s ideas - would love your feedback!

    This robotic dragon has a huge gash and a missing paw, presumably he has been in a fight with another robot. Bits of machinery are strewn across the grass.

    Lucy is an engineer working in a space station in the future. She has a new ship to fix; an alien is sobbing uncontrollably at the sight of his pride and joy in such a state.

    Lucy is a time traveller from the future. The local cave people are amazed at her “magic toolbox” filled with gadgets like knives and matches which she uses to help them.

    I did these first three after reading the prompt, which I thought suggested drawing machinery. Then I watched the video with Jake’s comment along the lines of ‘don’t just draw the obvious like a broken machine, I expect you to be more original!’…and thought ‘oh they DON'T just want us to draw machinery!’…so thinking that idea 3 would perhaps be the less obvious choice and maybe the one to expand..

    But then I thought that there’s a problem with idea 3 - because cavemen use things like spears already, so a knife wouldn’t be particularly ‘magic’ to them. But instant fire from a match would seem like magic…so I tried to think of a situation where fire would be really useful, and came up with this:


    So, what do you all think - idea 1,2 3 or 4? (or something else?)

  • I really like all your ideas but #1 is my favorite visually.

  • @Dulcie Great idea to get started early! As far as your sketches #1 reads very clearly, however I like the concept of #2. I like where she can save the day while the alien is just loosing it! With #2 I suggest doing 2-3 more sketches from different perspectives or different ships. Just really try doing a ton of sketches! The more the better! Look forward to seeing some more!

  • SVS OG

    #1 is my favorite. I like the idea but I think it needs to be a little more evident that she's fixing up the robot dragon and that he or she's a robot. I love the design of the little girl. And of course I'm all for any thing that has a ROBOT DRAGON....very cool.

  • Hi Dulcie!

    I think they are all very good idea, but #1 is my favorite as well (it's a little in the same spectrum of my idea for this month too!). I think you should choose the concept you like the most and than like @Katrina-Fowler suggested do a couple of comp sketches of different composition/camera angles for the same idea. Maybe I am wrong about this, but I think what @lee-white (and he can correct me if I am wrong) means by doing 3 sketches is once you have your idea/story you try several composition of the same idea... I don't know if this is clear or not haha! (a lot easier to explain in French in my head haha)

    Anyway, I can't wait to see your progress on this!

  • I like #1 concept as well. Setting, composition are nice.

    EDIT: I deleted this part of my comment, after re-reading your text accompanying each drawing - I see that I was totally off base!

    BUT I still don't know if it's a mistake, but when I look at the rules for this month's contest, I see that it says it has to be a spot illustration. Perhaps that's left-over text from last month?


  • Great work. I find that my eyes go to the third one. Something about different tools in the hands of these different people trying to get the person down seems interesting. Though all of them are good.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks so much for all the feedback everyone! Wow, #1 is really the most popular one.

    @Carrie Thank you! Your thoughts are appreciated 🙂

    @Katrina-Fowler Thanks for your thoughts! It looks like #1 is most people’s favourite but it would be fun to develop #2, if I can manage it …and if so I’ll definitely do tons of sketches to try and find a more dynamic composition/different perspectives.

    @evilrobot Thanks for your feedback! Yes I agree that the dragon definitely needs to look more robot-like…I’ve started watching Jake’s class on drawing robots to help with that, which I need because I haven’t tried drawing a robot before, apart from simple cartoony ones.

    @NoWayMe Thanks very much for your thoughts, it’s appreciated! Oh yes, I agree, I will definitely do multiple sketches of compositions ..though I’m glad to have offered up the choice of concepts too, because I thought #4 would come top, as it’s a more unexpected way to deal with the idea, but everyone prefers robot dragon which I didn’t really expect! I like #1 visually the best too though, and I love drawing dragons so happy to do that one 🙂

    Yeah, I hope @Lee-White will clarify if we’re on the wrong track…my interpretation was that offering a choice of A, B & C of anything is better than saying ‘here’s A, is it any good?’ I remember he suggested doing multiple options before, back when we were doing November 3rd Thursday….let me see if I can find his post….aha, here it is!


    @Nancy-Gormezano Thank you for your thoughts! I actually thought the deleted part of your comment sounded perfectly sensible 🙂

    Hmm, saw that text on the website too, I assume it’s leftover text because they didn’t mention it in the video and they don’t normally ask for a specific thing two months running.

    @Bob-Szesnat Thanks for your feedback! Glad to have at least one vote for the cavemen idea 🙂

  • SVS OG

    Here's my progress on the composition so far! The original value sketch:


    And variations on it:


    magic-box-sketch5a copy.jpg


    I came up against a few issues, for example I liked the shapes and flow in #4 but like my original value sketch it looked flat. Also when I tried putting the camera behind Lucy, I had trouble fitting in both the broken paw, and the box, and it was difficult to see Lucy's face at that angle, and also drawing foreshortened dragons is quite difficult (I've drawn too many foreshortened dragons recently, I'd like to avoid drawing another if possible...)

    Another problem with my original value sketch - the 'magic box' isn't really important, it's behind Lucy, whereas I think it needs to be a proper character in the action to fulfil the text in the prompt. I liked the way that #3 included it better. Also, I think it needs to look definitely 'magic' not ordinary. So I combined sketches #3 and #4 to make this:


    I thought that one way to make the tool box look definitely 'magic' was to have the tool floating up and out - Lucy doesn't actually have to be holding it, it's under her command by magic. So I figured this could provide both the light source and the focal point.

    Any thoughts? Should I explore more sketch options, tweak what I've done, or move onto character design? All feedback welcome!

  • I love the idea of the tool floating to appear magical. Wonderful composition.

    The problem I see currently is that it is unclear what is wrong with the dragon's paw. I would not know that it was hurt/injured/broken if I had not read your text, nor would I know how this tool would be helping to fix the paw. If I remember, tho the dragon is a robot type, and made of metal and metal joints? so perhaps a wrench is appropriate? However If it is now a flesh dragon, then the tool could be something more ethereal - like flowers, hearts, kiss, magic dust, etc?

    Another area to think about is "how to communicate Lucy's confidence" and how it is that she is commanding the tool out of the toolbox - or is the tool behaving independently of her? To make Lucy appear like she is in control: perhaps have her standing in a more dynamic pose pointing deliberately at the tool in a wizard like way.

    The above are just observations, based on rough drawings. I suspect it would be more clear as you refine the drawings. Hope that helps some.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks @Nancy-Gormezano! You make really good observations, yes I agree with all of that and will work on it in my next sketches.

    The dragon is going to be a robot, yes...so my plan is to re-draw that dragon in robot-form in the character sketches..it's going to have a big gash down its side as well as wires sticking out of the paw.

    I think I'll try and make Lucy look more confident with her expression... also I like the idea of the hand commanding the tool upwards, I'll try and draw the hand better to communicate that. Thanks!

  • Cool idea! A broken robot-dragon. I think you could add more focus to the tool and broken arm if you lift the neck and head a bit. It's a dragon, so it could have a longer neck that bends up and then the head comes down, creating a nice nest for the tool and the arm. Does it make sense?

  • Very cool concept! The more clearly broken paw will definitely help with the narrative.
    The dragon's tail and spines look like they could break out of the borders and make a really nice composition.
    It's looking awesome though!

  • SVS OG

    Thank you @Devin-Sailors and @Camila-Barrera-Daza for your comments 🙂 Camila I did think about your suggestion, in the end I moved the tool slightly further away instead so I could keep the curves/flow the same way.

    So I did a few things to prepare the sketch a bit better - I watched large chunks of Jake's Robots and Machinery class, and I also found several pictures on his tumblr feed to get an idea of how he draws the details of animal-based robots, couple of examples here:



    Link to his feed here, well worth a look:

    And this is where I am now with the linework:


    Any comments/suggestions etc would be very welcome! I am wondering how to proceed next..obviously value needs doing, but ultimately I'll have to decide whether to keep the linework..in last month's 3rd Thurs I was pleased with the direction of my 'style' which largely took out the original linework with painting..I'm not sure how easy that will be here with all the robotic detail. But at the same time I want to develop a consistent style for potential book work..tricky!

  • I really like how the dragon turned out, the only thing I notice is that the injured arm looks too different from the other one, it doesn't read well as an arm at first glance. Other than that the image looks great.

  • Hi @Dulcie wow this is so wonderful! LOVE your dragon - and his expression is so darling, I feel bad for him and his injured arm 😞

    I agree with @Damien-Rambacher about the injured arm not reading well. The other thing I noticed is he doesn't have a back 4th leg and I'm wondering how he's balancing like that! I think there should be a hint of that back right leg showing through the underbelly.

    Great work - can't wait to see the final! 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @Damien-Rambacher Thank you for your thoughts! I appreciate it and will work on that injured arm some more.

    @DanetteDraws Thanks very much for your feedback, glad you like it! 🙂 I will work on that arm to make it read better..originally I had a couple of toes on it, so I might try adding them back in again. I will add in the fourth leg too - I was about to do that, then I wondered perhaps it could be missing from the fight...but if it looks like I just forgot it then that's not so good! 🙂 So I'll do that - thank you!

  • i think Lucy is really coming along, she is awesome. The dragon is awesome too, but now it looks like he is battle scarred and totally worn out but missing a couple of toes...
    I think the back story just got more complicated, which is alright if that is what you want. I truly hate this tool. it looks like something you reach into small places with... Not really sure about the end of the tail, is this the original outside dimension of the whole tail and we are seeing the inside shape of the rest of the tail... Your balance is great and these background washes are pretty awesome too! Please post more I am loving seeing yours come together.

  • SVS OG

    @Russ-Van-Dine thanks for your comment! Yeah I will add a couple of toes and see if I can make the arm better.

    I will have a think about how I could change the tool, though I don’t have any ideas of what might be better yet - my criteria was that it works magically, and I was mainly inspired by the sonic screwdriver from Doctor Who (don’t know how popular it is outside the UK, it’s a British TV show, sort of sci-fi for kids) ..one of the many designs on the show looks like this:


    Am open to suggestions on how to make it better…I kinda wanted to get a subtle magical steampunk vibe about Lucy and her toolbox, if that helps give a direction. When I go to colour/lighting there’s going to be light coming from the tool centre, and some of the line will be bleached out so the overall vibe will hopefully be different.

    The tail…I don’t quite understand your comment on that, sorry 😞 But the end bit is sort of hollow and you can see a little bit of the inside, if that’s what you’re referring to.

    Thanks again for your feedback, I will keep posting updates 🙂

  • This is coming along so well! Great progress.

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