Music WIP - Pied Piper

  • Hi!
    Here's my WIP for the music prompt, the concept is the moment in The Pied Piper story where the Piper plays his pipe to lure the rats away. I'm looking for feedback on whether you feel this sketch portrays this concept, if u think the overall composition is working and any other thoughts you may have please.
    Thanks 🙂
    Ps his pipe is meant to be a flute the perspective of which I need to sort out.

  • Hello!
    This opinion comes from an amateur so please take this with a grain of salt. It's just my thought as I saw this piece and knowing this story.
    if my grammar is atrocius sorry for that too
    I like the background of these buildings. Refined they will give the illustration a playful fairyrale atmosphere that suits the story.
    One thing I think you can consider is make a worm's eye view composition for the piper and the rats. I like how they're looking at him all mesmerized and captivated and I think the piper having a more dominating stance over them would enhance that. Nothing too extreme of course.
    Or if you wanna have them on the foreground like I'm guessing is what you're trying to do make it more prominent. Maybe have them on the pavement and then we see their eyes that have just found the piper (who's in the middleground) that plays and follow him eagerly. Now there's no point of reference for their size and it can be confusing.

    I hope this helped! Or I just wrote one big pile of nonsense, I don't know :p

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @rachy haha I have the same idea but a little different spin on the Pied Piper. I think you can fix the flute by turning his head to the right. Right now his mouth wouldn't even be on the mouth piece with the flute coming toward the viewer like that and his head turning left. Looking forward to seeing this one come along.

  • @rachy lols I thought of something similar. This story wasn't the first thing that came to mind. But it certainly helped me with my idea. Right now it looks like the piper is drawing them to him but not drawing them away from town. Perhaps have the town buildings farther off to the sides so it looks like they are leaving town.


  • Pro SVS OG

    Oh my gosh, I love it!

  • @lmrush thank you 🙂

  • Thanks for your comments all 🙂 loads to think about! Sorry I haven't been able to reply until now I've been out of signal all weekend!
    I just read Lee's post about showing the whole workflow so thought it might be helpful to post my thumbnails too..

    I've been playing with the placement of the head & the pipers instrument here's what I've done so far...
    0_1534794466915_IMG_4597.JPG 0_1534794500819_IMG_4601.JPG
    Once I've sorted what I'm doing with the Piper I'll then work on the placement of the rats, theres a really dodgy trouser + rat tangent that keeps happening!!? 🤣

    I still can't make up my mind whether the village is necessary. I was thinking if the image was in the context of a picture book the reader would have already been introduced to the village and would probably see it in the distance on the next page.

    I'm also wondering if instrument needs to be pointed more towards the rats making the alluring the rats thing more obvious. I guess when your listening to someone playing the flute you are normally in front of them than to the side but I keep wondering if a clarinet would be better!


  • @rachy this one is one of my favorite layouts. It has a lot of movement. I also like how it shows the hole figure of the piper.

  • I agree with Naters... there is more flow in that one.

  • @naters-calderone I nearly picked that one but I didn't go for it as I thought it was too obvious... hmm now you've got me questioning myself whether I should have a play with that one instead!

  • I think that other thumbnail would be at least worth trying out!

    As for the background buildings. Here is another option: Just playing with the perspective a bit, as you've already played with perspective and the size relationship between the rats and the piper.


    Hopefully you can see past my terrible paintover, to see what I'm trying to indicate. This variation has more of an implication that they are going somewhere. The path leads out of the scene. To sell the point even further, you could have the buildings stop and show the path leading down to a patch of country side in that top right corner. I think this is what @Heather-Boyd was suggesting?

    Just a thought. I think that a blank background could potentially work well as well as the buildings you currently have. Just throwing in another option.

    Great job so far! Loving those rats. They are super cute.

  • @tessaw
    Thank you so much for the paint over! Aah I really like that perspective of the road and some countryside at the end of it is such a good idea too! Somehow it's given me an idea of how to polish up the piper a bit too! Guess what I'm gonna be working on this evening!
    Thanks again!

  • Thanks so much for the help & feedback all! Here's how its looking after this evenings drawing time...

  • @rachy I like the feeling of the rats concentrating on the piper. You're successfully communicating the mesmeric quality of the piper's music.

    I'm not really getting consistent size cues from the rats. For example, the rat on the right sticking its head out of a window is behind the piper yet seems to be the size of a dog. The rat across the road seems as big as a person. The background rats make the foreground rats look like huge rats close to the piper rather than regular size rats close to the camera.

    As the rats are such an important part of the image, I'd suggest some more character development sketches of the rats starting with some studies of reference photos. This would help to flesh them out a bit, make them pop.

    Nice job!

  • Thank you @Simon-Prime ! I'll do some rat studies this evening and see what I can do. I do want the rats to look larger than life, as i thought it would be fun if the town was over-run with giant rats. I did mean to do dog size rather than human tho!

  • Wow this is so good getting feedback! Bit worried I'm not going to get this painted in time for the contest tho!

  • @rachy "perfection is the enemy of progress"

  • Very nice! This has improved so much since the last time I saw it 🙂

    As for finishing on time, do what you can. Finished, not perfect, right?

  • @naters-calderone Perfectly imperfect

  • @art-of-b

    Thank you 🙂 it's coming along. Yes yes yes finished not perfect!

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