My first digital illustration. Critiques invited!

  • I was a little late to get my fall illustration to the contest. But I am submitting it here in hopes that you all will advise me on ways I can improve. Composition? Color? Overall style and execution? This is my first illustration with a background and first illustration done in a digital format.

    Thanks in advance for your valued opinions. The only people who have seen my things are my family and a few friends. As you know, they can’t be trusted to be really honest. But I am ready to improve so bring it! πŸ™‚0_1538524906982_Untitled_Artwork.jpg

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  • @JennyJones This is great for your first foray into digital illustration! Nice work.

    One thing that jumps out to me is the perspective. Now I realize that you're not going for realism exactly, so I wouldn't think you need everything to be exact, but I think if you pay more attention to how elements sit in perspective, it can help tie things together a bit better.

    For example, if you look at how the feet of the table are sitting on the floor vs how the chair of the "orange" cat are sitting, they feel like they are on different planes.

    Again, I know you're not going for realism per se, but I do think that being able to throw in a little of that can help the picture feel more solid.

    I really like the colors, they are really working nicely together and I feel like the background is working nicely, not taking too much attention away from the cats in the foreground.

    Great job!

  • @robgale Thank you for looking and giving me feedback. Those crazy chair legs and table base gave me headaches! Perspective is so hard for me. I'll keep at it.

  • If you squint down on the image parts of the cats get lost into the outside due to the values being very close. The background could be lighter or it could be nighttime and have it dark. Overall the image is very sweet and the cats are great especially the smallest one.

  • @rcartwright Thank you. I wondered about the values being too close. I was worried, too, about the black cat being too close in value to the green chair. I tried to do the "postage stamp" view and was not sure it was reading properly. But then again I could not think of how to fix it. Thanks for your input. And I love the little cat too. She is based off of my 4 year old.

  • @jennyjones I love this! Really nice! It's super cute and really charming. I agree that you could push your values more.

  • @Eli Thank you. I will put that effort into my next one. Starting tonight.

  • I'm trying to look for something that hasn't been mentioned, and the only thing I'm noticing is the window frame has a little section where there's one more layer to it than around the rest of the window--just above the big cat's shoulder. Oh, another minor thing is--I think the layers of gradients at the bottom are a little distracting. The higher contrast of the brown layers is drawing my eye down to the bottom edge.

    Your characters are really cute, and this picture makes a sweet little story. You've created a great atmosphere with the background. It's very warm and inviting. I really like this image and your style!

  • I also agree with the advice given so far. A few more things to add:

    1. It looks like you aren't quite comfortable with showing heads at angles other than straight toward the viewer. You tilt the head, but you don't rotate the head if that makes sense. All of the cat's heads are more or less straight toward the viewer and all of the cat's heads are tilted to the left. It's not super obvious, but I find this pattern to be just a little uneasy. The kitty's head in the center does look like it's turned a bit, but her ears are depicted as straight toward the viewer.

    2. A big part of this piece seems to be about enjoying the process of being together and making food together. I think that showing more of the table top might work well for this concept.

    3. I'd recommend curving the mom's dress downward instead of upward. I feel the current curve is drawing too much attention to a non focal point area.


    That stuff out of the way, man oh man, you did a great job! I am seriously impressed that this is your first digital illustration. While you can still tell it's digital, it's very close to looking traditional. Your traditional work must be very strong. You are going to make some beautiful pieces in digital in the future if you keep up with it.

  • Ok just reread your first post. This is your first illustration with a background? I'm even more impressed. πŸ™€

  • @miriam Thank you for looking and for feedback. This is my first time putting anything "out there" to have anyone say stuff about it. I looked at this piece as I worked on it for many many hours and I never saw the window thing. And there it is!! I agree with your observation about the floor too. It always bugged me but I did not know why. Thank you for the kind word too!

  • @tessaw Yes. Thank you for your feedback and your compliments. You are very encouraging. I can't say my traditional stuff is super strong yet, but I am working. I really put time and effort into illustration and children's book stuff about 20 years ago. But then life happened and I lost my way. Now I am back and really trying again. The whole digital thing really took off while I was "away" and I feel like I am trying to catch up. I have been doing digital painting since around July when I got an ipad for my 43rd birthday. I am telling myself that there is not a limit on when you BEGIN but just get in there and do it. ( The pod cast and SVS has been so encouraging in that way) Digital sure takes a heck of a lot longer!!! For me anyway. And right now until I am more comfortable, I guess.

    Thank you for your critiques. They are helpful. I think I will take everyone's advice and work it up a little more and come back with a refined image.

  • @tessaw Thanks. I have about 5 spots done digitally and then this piece. I am working on a little joke book. So my other illustrations are little and not any real backgrounds except one that's in process. Backgrounds sure do up the difficulty factor! Everyone is so encouraging! I wish I could skip the day job today and do illustration! I have been following the forum for several months now and have seen yours and others stuff. I am equally impressed and happy that I can participate in a community of fellow artists. I look forward to participating more.

  • Lovely picture, I like the mood and composition. Keep going with the digital painting it is a really awesome tool in your belt πŸ™‚

  • @christine-garner Thank you.

  • @jennyjones Perspective IS really painful! If you're doing it all digitally, one thing that can help is setting up a perspective grid to use as a guide. I like to do my sketching first to get the basic layout and composition, then lay down a grid and tweak things around a bit to fix the perspective.

  • @robgale I use Procreate and I know there is an assist option. I just couldn't find it. I need to make use of the tools for sure. Next time...

  • 0_1538700981364_Cats_In_Fall.jpg

    Ok so I took all the advice and added a few things from my own critiques and reworked the illustration. I like it SO much better. Took a while. You will never know how many re-draws of the mom cat and middle cat were done! Whew!!

  • SVS OG

    So cute! It reminds me of a little golden book we had about The Three Little Kittens πŸ™‚ I don't do digital yet so I can't say anymore πŸ™‚

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