Input on "Gone Fishing" please! Update 9/27

  • Hey all,

    So here's the deal: I started this piece about 8 months ago, right before my infamous slump hit and before I watched the composition class here. I ended up really disliking it for obvious reasons (the tangent with the helmet & the boat, the oar leading the eye off the page, lack of strong composition, etc. But this week I decided to pick it up and try to salvage it.

    Here's my plan:

    • put reeds on the left side of the picture and on the right side, behind the oar, where I've put white in.

    • add a fish jumping in front of the boat to lead the eye in a circular motion back up to the bear's right hand (I'll be making that hand bigger too, btw).

    • Make the water look less "cartoonish" and simple.

    But I'm wondering two things: first, do I need to make the reeds bigger and are there any other changes that I haven't caught that you can see that would help?

    Thank you for any input!!!


  • Pro SVS OG

    @amberwingart I like the style of this, and the idea is nice. The composition (tangents aside) is not bad at all, you have a nice diagonal - and the plan with the reeds and fish is a good one. The issues I see are more with the anatomy of the bear and the way he is lying in the boat. I am not sure how his bottom legs are attached to his body, and he looks a little "weightless", as if floating in the boat. Should he not be heavily slumped on the bottom (especially since his weight is lifting the boat out of the water)? I would also make the helmet a different shape, so that it does not mirror exactly the shape of the keel.
    I know these are nearly impossible to rework on a traditional piece! Have you considered starting fresh with a blank paper? Not that I say you should, but I do that often when I am not happy with how things are turning out, and it has always been a good decision. Jake has a snapchat about this on his channel.

  • Hey @smceccarelli - thank you for the suggestions! I was trying to make him look like he was sliding to the end of the boat, with his weight lifting the top of the boat out of the water...unfortunately, I don't think I was all that successful, lol. If I liked the idea a lot, I'd restart it, but I'm just kind of trying to salvage this one, since I really haven't loved it from the beginning. I'm just kind of trying to learn as much from it in terms of creating an environment, etc. as I can... Also, I have an art fair coming up and very few pieces finished, so I don't really have the time to start over :(. That helmet tangent will haunt me forever though - it bothers me so much! haha

    Do you think the reeds as I have them blocked in are tall enough, or do you think I should make them bigger?

  • Pro SVS OG

    @amberwingart Are you going to put them in both corners? If you make them bigger, you probably need to balance the other side too, otherwise the composition will be skewed to the left...if you understand what I mean. Maybe an idea would be to put weeds through the bottom section, part of them overlapping the boat. Ideally you would not to extend the crop on all sides (it is a bit too tight on all sides), but I guess time is not enough, and it is not really possible with watercolor.

  • I really like this, Very nice start. Water: water needs to change in value as it gets further away from the viewer, the helmet needs more highlights, the oars need more dimensional work.

    I like the idea of the reeds. more and bigger...

    I think you need a big wave splash to make the boat go up at this angle. check out pinterest for waves and how to draw them...
    This is too nice to let go...

  • @Russ-Van-Dine Hi Russ -- thank you for the input! I'm chugging away at it, trying to fix the mistakes I made by not planning in the beginning 8 months ago. Argh! Lol. I've since learned from SVS the importance of planning beforehand and this experience is just pounding that concept into my brain, lol.

  • Hey everyone, here's an update on what I've gotten done so far tonight. I still have a long way to go and I'm really going to have some trouble with that water, as I've never done it before (truth be told, I've never done anything that's in this piece before), but I'm strangely starting to see a possible fairly good outcome for this piece.

    I made another mistake, though - I made the fish head point to his left hand instead of his right hand, so there's a "loop" on the left hand, oar and fish, so I'm wondering if I should change that to point to the hand with the bottle. Opinions on that and anything else you see would be greatly appreciated!!


  • I agree with you about the fish head, you could more easily lead the viewer's eye through the picture.

  • Here's my latest update to this wip. I'm working on other things too, so it's kind of slow going, but I'm trying to incorporate the things I'm learning from the SVS vids I'm watching, so I'm learning a lot with this one. I still have to do the water, the fishing pole, the fish's tail fin, the rest of the reeds and the rest of the bear, so any input is appreciated! 🙂


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