Octopus as imaginary friend - critique request


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    Hi All,
    I would love some honest feedback on this illo for the February contest theme, Octopus. It's at a late stage, but I'm willing to start over if needed to get something good for my portfolio. Thanks in advance!

    Johanna Kim
    johannakim.com



  • @johanna-kim Awesome work, I wouldn't like to comment on anything that would require an whole redo if this has been done in traditional materials, maybe just some thoughts for another time..... I really do like this piece, but one thing that stands out to me is that my eyes are drawn to the girl in the middle due to her pose and the composition of the painting.

    I love the washed out colors of the background and the props are awesome as is the patterns of the stone. Although I did notice that the tone of the black swimming cap is quite strong against those colors, which pulls my eyes to that side somewhat (this could be fixed in photoshop if you find it to be an issue yourself). You have given the girl in red the most contrast though and the dots on the cap are a great idea to make her the focal point, so I wouldn't say what you have done is wrong tbh.

    Also i'm guess I would need to understand the rest of the book, but is the octopus a ghost/spirit of some kind? I ask due to his transparency/translucency (or maybe you haven't finished painting him yet). In either case some translucency would be cool although the background within it should be distorted if so. Also not super important, but the life ring at the top left of the screen gives more weight to that corner than is needed.

    Anyway great piece, and I'm just trying to find whatever issues I see to be of help, but even if nothing was altered I would still say it looks great šŸ˜ƒ


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    @gary-wilkinson Thanks so much, Gary! (I was actually just looking at your piece (sketch stage) and was trying very hard to think of something to add, but your ideas and composition are amazing so far. I favored #4 as well, but all of your ideas are hilarious and creative. Can't wait to see the little fleeing pirates.) As for your feedback, I really appreciate it. Everything you mentioned confirmed the issues in my mind, as well, so I'm glad that I'm at least on the right track to improving the piece. It's actually started in watercolor and tweaked in Photoshop. I'll see if I can address the issues digitally first, and if not, start over.



  • @johanna-kim I appreciate the comment about my work, hopefully I'll try my best to get it done on time! I don't think there is anything that would cause you to restart this piece if you are able to tweak it a little in photoshop. I'm curious about the octopus though, is it real or an imaginary friend, i'm interested to know šŸ˜›

    1 more little thing I would like to add is that the angle of the green girl's arm looks as though it is pulled directed back, which i think is caused by the perspective of her hand, it's not something I instantly noticed though and others may see it differently.


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    @johanna-kim This is so cute and I love the imaginary blue octopus. It really does look calming. I agree that the middle girl draws attention. It might be that it's her pose but also, it seems the light is on her. Maybe just overlapping her a bt with the octopus would bring attention back to the octopus's friend? Maybe that would be bad composition but since the octopus is transparent you could still see the middle girl too. I love the little shoes.


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    @gary-wilkinson Hi Gary, thanks so much for the feedback on the middle girl in green. I agree, her arm angle is thrown back a bit too unnaturally, but since she seems to be hogging all the limelight, I will have to change her dramatically (i.e., mood, body language, expression, wardrobe).

    Sorry I didn't answer your earlier question:) Frank, the octopus, is meant to be a figment of Ophelia's imagination. So not a ghost, nor a spirit, but a projection of a friend that the little girl needs. I wasn't sure how to handle depicting this, though, and I decided to simply make Frank a bit transparent and unable to cast a shadow. Also, no one seems to notice him but Ophelia. It had occurred to me to distort objects that show through him, but I wasn't sure if that would be confusing. I'll have to think about that as I repaint the middle girl.


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    @marsha-kay-ottum-owen Thanks so much for your feedback. With your help, Iā€™m sure the final illo will be much improved.