Intro and WIP composition input request

  • 0_1510007632072_44E3BED4-7DF5-4C28-8597-10A8AD08BB11.jpeg

    Hey everyone, I’m Kali and am new to SVS.

    I’m having trouble with this composition. I’ve done thumbnails but they’re each so similar to one another that I’m not sure I’m really getting it. I’ve done the exercises Will suggests in his creative composition video and worked along w him and Jake on their thumbnail prompts and felt really comfortable doing those but on this one I’m struggling. I think it has to do with the army of scattered geese involved... like how to treat the image as an overall interesting shape has got me. Also I feel it’s too stuffy. I realize it needs space so I’m trying to accomplish that.

    Illustration backstory: My 82 year old grandma confessed that she takes a Nerf water gun to the Canadian geese overtaking her property, to clear them from the sidewalk when she needs to get to her car. I wannna create this image.

    What I’d like: feedback and ideas on creating a great composition
    I need to show a few things:

    • grandma with the watergun, shooting it or about to shoot it, as long as it conveys she uses the watergun to move ‘dem geese
    • Geese running out of Grandma’s way. I’m attached to the idea of showing somewhat anthropomorphized geese running afraid from grandma. I think it’d make her giggle.
    • that she’s on her property.

    Thanks in advance!!

  • I’m not sure if my image uploaded. Trying to figure it out.

  • It didn’t. The width needs to be under 1200 px.

  • @eric-castleman

    Thank you.

  • Hi @Kali-Williams ! I think what you have here is a good start. It definitely shows the panic of the geese. I think if you have your grandmother at more of an angle to our left (or flip her to face the right) you'll be able to show more of her arms holding the gun outward and the stream of water coming from it.


    Some other thoughts:

    • If you were to elevate or lower your camera's view, you could pull back and show a car close to the camera (as if the camera was looking over top of it or off to the side). This would help show the geese were blocking the way as they're flying up from the walkway.

    • You could do a reverse angle, as if looking out the door, and grandma would be close to the camera as we look down the gun, the water, geese flying away from us revealing the car in the distance.

    On the topic of composition - one of the coolest exercises I learned in art shcool was the teapot and teacup. Take a sheet of paper and layout a grid of duplicate squares. Then use each square to come up with a different composition of the teapot and teacup together in the same scene. Do as many as you can possibly think of, then do some more. We used to do about 50 to 100.
    ref 1 (you can do smaller 1 inch squares; these are meant to be thumbnails):
    ref 2 (example of the exercise):

    Hope that helps!

  • SVS OG

    @lawnz said in Intro and WIP composition input request:


    So fun! Maybe just putting it in a slightly different angle as was mentioned above, so that the geese aren't coming straight at the viewer but at an angle so you can more easily see the geese taking off in a more scattered way. It might look less crowded. Your Grandma will love this 🙂

  • This is a really fun piece! Really lively and funny. I think that overall it's working. @Lawnz makes some really good points.

    If we want to follow the rule of thirds idea, you could move granny over to our right a bit. I'd also suggest having all the geese's heads points toward the outside of the frame. Most of them are doing that already, but the one above the mailbox and the one above and between granny and the dog are pointing back into the piece. Similarly, I'd orientate the mail box so it's leading us out of the frame. I know you probably orientated them so it would lead us in a circular pattern around the piece, but I personally feel for this particular piece, a stronger flow outward is more appropriate.

    Just my opinion. Good luck! You have an excellent start on it.

  • @lawnz

    Hey, Thank you so much for your time and input!!

    The angles that you suggested really helped to put me into a broader frame of mind.

    Re: ref 1(shooting water from one side to the other) - I wasn’t sure if I was going to have grandma actually shooting the gun or just have her standing there with it, Ready to shoot with the threat being enough to scare the geese away. I may end up going with the action shot since there is no text and I don’t have to hold anything back for a reader.

    Re: ref 2(the car in the foreground) I love this idea! Someone else mentioned framing the shot, and with a darker value maybe I can do that with the cars in front of her place. I think this would really elevate it.

    Re: ref 3( reverse angle behind grandma ): good point... of view! My brain decided to stop at grandma’s POV which obviously would have removed her from the image, but a foot or two behind or beside her makes a ton of sense, duh. Thank you!

    I look forward to drafting a bunch of thumbnails using your input, keeping the teapot exercise in mind.

    Thank you!!

  • @marsha-kay-ottum-owen

    Thanks, Marsha! Great idea! Ground space between the geese could make quite an impact on giving the viewers eyes a rest and a better feel overall. I’m going to definitely put this into play.

  • @tessw

    Thanks, Tess! Rule of thirds, of course. Great idea! I’m revisiting Will’s creative composition course and am noting down a checklist of things to take into account. This is very helpful. Thank you.

    I didn’t even think about making them all face outward. That makes a lot of sense. What do you think about any of them facing the viewer? After review I think this might remove the focus from grandma and into the face of the geese looking at the viewer.. think that’s confusing for the viewer? Would love your input thank you!


  • @kali-williams I think you could make it work with the geese facing the viewer. I personally like it that way, because I think it's funny to see their expressions. If you want the granny as the main focal point, I think you can still achieve that through various means. The comp class teaches various ways to do this. You could have the granny more contrasted in value, possibly be more saturated. Keep the area around her fairly simple, since there's a lot going on in the geese. With the geese you could have less contrast in value and color range. There's several different ways you could go.

    Check out this painting by Joy Ang. It's a little different in action, but it reminded me of your piece. Notice how the cats have less contrast in their value range and the are less saturated? Their shapes are very pointy. The kids and the dog are more saturated and more contrasty in value and their shapes are softer. It's a busy image, but I think it works.


  • @tessw

    Hey, thank you Tess. I appreciate your time and input.

  • Your pic is full of action and your grandma sounds super fun!:) welcome to forum:)

  • SVS OG

    Hi, Kali! WOW! I like your sketch. You have a great idea here and cute characters to match. Here's what I think you can work on: I think you can do without that duck ( the one right up front looking at us, screaming). The duck behind him is already a great character if not a great main focus. Also, you can add another duck below that mail box there. That space seems empty. Overall, I like what you did here.

  • @nyrryl-cadiz

    Hey Nyrryl! Thanks for taking the time to comment! You confirmed my thoughts exactly that the middle goose should be the focus here. I️ resketched this at a small scale with a slightly different composition and am posting it below, using your suggestion to make him the main focus. Then you can see grandma as a second read and that main little guy will be bigger and have space and not competing w other geese looking at the viewer so I️ think it works. Please check it out and let me know what you think, I appreciate your feedback!

    My husband thought it would be funnier if she was catapulting yappy dogs at the geese, and grandma was all about it so I️ also made that change.


  • 0_1510603719764_C3DA8524-1D2B-47BF-B435-5E6C8C63AD3D.jpeg

    Ok So I changed the composition to feature more diagonal lines, showing the chaos, made one goose the main focus and grandma a second read, and changed her water gun to a gun that catapaults tiny yappy dogs( this came about when I got input from the family 😜)

    Notes on add’l changes:
    -move the mailbox(right bottom corner?)

    • replace cure t mailbox w Front end of a car
    • incorporate just a little more house on top
      -apply rule of thirds to main goose so maybe crop right side or rework shot/sidewalk
      -change the goose in the top right corner to be flying out to the right.
    • redistribute group of three goose on left so middle one is running off the page
    • show a dog hopping up onto grandma’s gun

    Looking to get feedback on what does and doesn’t work.

    Thank you everyone for your time and input!


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