King and Queen - my characters for children's book. Please give feedback or crits!

  • Hello everyone!
    This is my first submition in the forum 🙂 . I'm a member of SVS for more than a year now, but I was mostly watching the lessons, obzerving and learning from Will and Jake and all of you.....And now I want to show how I implement what I'm learning :))))
    I'm working on creating illustrations for my own story, which I plan to publish next year. I'm also starting a publishing house for children's books 🙂 - I want to present to the market in my country ( Bulgaria) the incredible children's books and authors and illustrators from around the world, the amazing new stories .....that for some reason are not translated in my country! The old and big publishing houses here just go for the well known, classics and nothing new and modern. This is something that I want to change and to give the chance to bulgarian children to dive in this world of incredible new stories! And also to give the chance to the bulgarian authors and illustrators to publish their work...
    So .... I'm presentig you the King and Queen -they are the main characters in my story - they are a family that have everything, but can't have children......So they go on a big jusrney and face scary adventures in a qest to find their child somewhere somehow.....Basicly it's a story about adoption.....
    I've watched Jake's lesson about creating a character maybe 50 times :)))) and I hope that I've implemented most of the things, that he talks about. Also I'm still trying to find my stile .....because I come from the ground of graphic design and have been working for 15 years for online gaming companies, movies, advertising .....I had to be like a chamelion and jump into different stiles......but never had the chance to create my own unique stile .....because I was allways too tired to draw something just for me from me, without a task and endless feedback from somebody.....
    But now is my time 🙂 .....and I'm starting a new page 🙂 literally and legally .....with small steps and a bit timidly....
    I wanted to give to my characters more folklore look, but yet to look regal - I hope that I have found the right balanse here.....For the queen - to look jentle, svelte, kind, but with an irreconcilable spirit. And for the king - to look strong, stable, wise, fair....but NOT militant - because the obstacles on their way must be overcome with mind and heart, not with sword.....
    That's it from me for now - the longest first post ever..... 🙂 0_1539812820932_How it all began_25-25sm-PAGE 2 - 3_72dpi.jpg

  • @mariana_0101 LOVE your story idea, and these characters look great, in my opinion. I think you've definitely achieved the keywords you use to describe these characters--they ARE regal, but still sympathetic and approachable and kind-looking.

  • Are you looking for feedback in regards to the character design,the story itself or just this image?

    I really like the style of this piece and I think the king look great, but the queen doesn't seem to fit in as well. She almost feels like she was created in a separate style. I think that this might be because the king has such a strong pose and is slightly turned, whereas she is straight on to the viewer. There is also something about her head that doesn't fit well with her body, it could be slightly too large and not aligned well enough (the long neck could also be something to think about.

    As for the story idea, the idea of a king and queen going on an adventure to adopt a child wouldn't be something I would feel emotionally connected to and although it's a different idea, the thought of a rich and powerful couple in search of a child wouldn't be a story I would tell my children (however I may just be old and cynical). This is just a first impression though and I could be completely wrong about the story.

  • Also please post more and keep us updated!! I'd love to see how this progresses. This is a topic that is close to my heart...

  • @mariana_0101 Wow i really like the style! great work.

  • SVS OG

    @mariana_0101 They look great! I think it's wonderful that you are opening your own publishing house in Bulgaria too!

  • Hi there,
    That is a wonderful idea you have to try and spread more great children's stories around your country and start your own publishing house, I always love looking at different folk tales/fairytales from around the world!
    Really like your style and the finish of your illustration, I love the look of the King, his beard and clothing are just great, but I agree with @Gary-Wilkinson about the Queen, maybe change the colour of her clothing so she comes across as a completely different character because at the moment they both look too similar. Maybe some regal greens and gold? That would compliment the colour of her hair really well. I would also not make her dress look so tight, especially around the bottom - if its a medieval/regal look you're going for the dresses at that time were a bit more loose. Maybe even exaggerate her hair a bit more too and make it a lot longer?

    Really beautiful work, I'm looking forward to seeing where you take it and seeing some more of your lovely work! 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @mariana_0101 Beautiful work! I like the King's friendly eyes and expressive eyebrows. The roundness looks friendly, and the broad shoulders show strength, but he also looks clean cut and capable. The tilt of his head tells a lot about his personality too! I think the hair is really well done on both. The clothing detail on the clothing is fantastic. One thing to think about is It may take a lot of time to redraw tiny details every time, so you may think about simplifying it if you are worried. If you are up to it though, it looks great!

    As for the queen, I'm not sure how her the belt will read from other angles like a side view. I might experiment with wrapping in around her waist. Her roundness in the hair and body works to keep the friendly vibe going. I really like her top and the detail on the clothing. She looks modest, mature and feminine at the same time! Great job! As far as posing, her hips should tilt the opposite way as her shoulders (try this in a mirror) so it will compress on one side and extend on the other. That little tweak might show her personality more and help her look more relaxed in her stance. (It doesn't have to be an extreme tilt.) As long as you are looking in the mirror, notice how tilting the shoulders may also affect the tilt of the head. Right now, she looks a little like she is balancing in a dancers pose or little off balance, her face is earnest and I like that, but her posture doesn't have the same capable air of the King. Even if you are looking for her to be more timid, you may try drawing out her legs to make sure she looks like she is balancing firmly on the ground, and then draw the dress around her.

  • SVS OG

    Hi, i love your characters! Also, your goal of starting a publishing house to broaden the children’s book pool in your country is also aspiring. So, going on to the critique of the chracters, I think the King looks amazing. He looks like a tried and tested, depndable, wise ruler. Great character design. However, going to the queen... she looks too young to be a queen who’s been trying for years to have a child. If she’s been trying for that long, i can only imagine that the King married her at a very young age. Somehow, that doesn’t sit well with me. Her youth makes it hard for me buy the idea that she’s having troubles conceiving. Not that i believe only older women can have such challenges but it’s just that her design does not send that message clearly to me. Perhaps you can make her look older. Perhaps add a few streaks of grey in her hair, a few age lines here and there.... it depends on you. I hope i have been helpful. I wish you the best.

  • Thank you all, so much! ☺
    It's so refreshing to get an opinion from a more experienced eye. It's interesting how you've felt where I've put more effort and thought. I've drawn the queen first, and she just happened for 2-3 hours.....and I was satisfite from the resolt at the moment.....But when I started drawing him.....I went throught so many variations and he just didn't look right beside her....and I couldn't see why is that.....From your comments @Gary-Wilkinson , @hannahmccaffery and @juliepeelart , it seams that it's not from him - it's from her. :smiling_face_with_open_mouth_cold_sweat:
    Now I can see that she looks stiff and I'll try to work on her pose. And my main fear was, that I won't be able to sustain a consistent style - as I mentioned, I'm still looking for my thing , so that's why there realy is a difference somehow between them in my atempts and wonders do I want them to be more clean and stilized or more detailed and realistic... About her shape and clothes - I was going for the shape of typical bulgarian amphora or pitcher and the belt is unique and recognizeble for our folklore costumes - here are some of my refs 0_1539891031446_images.jpg
    1_1539891412903_ff9aeac8b732f2d1699ba0ad54fdcab0.jpg 0_1539891412903_3e1481adca8f2d3295e116e9f2ce3c69.jpg

    And to explane some more about the story - the idea is with this story to help the parents with adopted children to start the conversation from very early age about how they became a family. It's a very delicate theme and must be presented to the child gently and with the right messages. Everything in the story is based on symbolics and I've worked with child psychologist for the text. Now I'm starting work wit the Bulgarian Association for adopted and adoptive parents. And there is another mission behind it - to start an advocacy campaign to support adoption and to break the prejudices and outdated thinking about the issue in our society. So it kind-a became a social project and I must be very careful with it and I want to give my best 🙂

    Thank you again for your support and feedback! It is very helpful! 💗

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