Your view on this pic please



  • So, new book commission started. Picture book (under 500 words) for a client.
    All about a small furry animals that talk to one another, built still are animals, so no dresses, driving cars and so forth.
    Going with a pretty realistic look, but do you think it’s too realistic? Wonder what your thoughts are?
    Here’s the first critter - grey squirrel (thiugh a little red otherwise will be a dull book/!)
    I’ve also taken on svs curriculum advice and rendered White into the pupil...but since it is realistic, is that ok?

    It’s early days with the character and form development so any anatomy problems at this stage don’t worry about too much, it’s what your thoughts on realism in kids books and the eye I am most interested in. Thanks everyone!
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  • I'm not an expert, but I really like it! I think it's an excellent balance --pretty realistic but the white of the eye for a little communication. Its not overly anthropomorphic but it's relatable. Really nice!



  • Yeah, I think it's working. Maybe not SO dark with pupil and mouth. At a certain point it could start to look pasted on. Like a sticker. But you're still working on it, so I'm sure it will end up looking just fine.

    Realism in children's books is just fine by me. One of my kid's favorites is The Wolf is Coming! illustrated by Ken Brown. I thought of it immediately looking at your squirrel. Check out his rabbits on the "Look Inside" preview pages. It's a very entertaining book. The animals look real enough behave like animals, but are also very animated and lively.

    https://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Coming-Elizabeth-MacDonald/dp/0525459529/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519794208&sr=1-3&keywords=the+wolf+is+coming



  • The squirrel looks great, very realistic and full of life. I am not sure squirrels have eye white, but if they should be slightly “human” this does the trick. If you want an even more realistic touch, you can add some hint of light transmission through the iris on the other side of the glint - just a tiny bit of color on the lower side of the iris.

    There are instances of realistic picture books, of course, though they are relatively rare. The big question you should probably ask yourself is how are you going to do backgrounds and environments. They´ll need to be very realistic too, and that may cost you a lot of time and work (especially with forest environments). And that´s the second question - how much time will a 32 page book cost (assuming it´s standard length) with a realistic look - that´s for you to judge, of course.

    Some artists you may want to check out:

    • Chris Beatrice does very realistic illustrations (also for children´s books) and often in natural environments;
    • Greg Manchess (one of my big heroes) also paints realistically, but with a more “broken”, impressionistic style which is very nice. He´s a master at that and it´s not easy, but the advantage is that it´s very fast.
    • Kathrin Schafer, a Swiss illustrator for children - you may not see her books much outside of Central Europe, but she is very famous here. All her books feature animal only characters and she has a very unique and interesting style: anatomically correct and almost “realistic” but with twist that makes them very relatable.

    Good luck with the project, sounds very interesting!



  • @smceccarelli said in Your view on this pic please:

    Some artists you may want to check out:

    Chris Beatrice does very realistic illustrations (also for children´s books) and often in natural environments;

    Woah! How have I not seen his work before?



  • @stringfellowart Ah, ah! I say that sentence at least once a week 😉 It´s what happens when you spend half of your waking hours browsing art...there´s just so many great illustrators out there...



  • Hi everyone! Huge thanks for your responses, I’ve been a bit out of it last few days hence not being back in to see views and say thankyou. I’ll certainly check out the realistic posts and great advice about translucent eye and making sure not too dark.

    Time wise, I’ve been a bit creative with my brushes while developing my pencil drawing style for the last book I completed. Result is this squirrel, including the fine feathering, took about an hour to do. So I’d normall have been worried about the back ground too. But should be able to render most of it pretty quickly.

    The hardest pictures are a couple of crowd scenes of animals which may take a week to do. I’m being paid quite a bit for this one so happy to spend a couple of months doing it.

    I’m doing the design for it as well so spent the day happily breaking it down into oage turns and describing in words the scenes. I wasn’t too sure about the story at first, but now it’s got the turns in it I am starting to quite like it.



  • Good reference phtos will help wit the head structure and the eye/mouth color. Nice job!