BIG WIP - Feedback please

  • Ok here is the start of my BIG entry. I have a couple Character Designs and thumbnails. I need some feedback on the thumbnails as I think any of them would work but I would like to move forward with the strongest. You can skip to the thumbnails pic below and skip the background or read my ramblings on how I go to the thumbnails.

    Background: I am entering a "Flash Fiction" contest for a local Arts group and have written a short children's story that would fit it's theme "A Surprise Discovery" as well as provide background for my BIG entry. Nothing like merging contests! The story is about a young squirrel Rose whose love of pine nuts leads her to meeting a new friend who happens to be a BEAR! At first she is afraid of the bear. That is where this picture come in.

    Environment: Forest of pines (potentially by a river)
    Characters: Rose a young/small squirrel & Charlotte a large bear
    Objects: Pine trees, pine cones (some broken with the the pine nuts eaten out)
    Feeling: Rose should be frightened as should the reader. This is our introduction to the bear which we have been told is mean and scary. But the bear in the end is nice.
    POV: Should to push the thought home that the bear is BIG, very BIG and the squirrel is small, very small.

    Character Sketches:

    And the thumbnails:

    Please let me know which you think is best 1,2,3 or 4.

  • @theprairiefox 2 looks interesting and is my fave from design perspective.

  • I really like the look of number 2 as well, you can really push how big the bear is in that composition 🙂

  • All, I took 2, updated the thumbnail slightly and did the composition drawing with values. One change is a slight change to the POV it is more of a single point perspective now in the sky. I liked that change. Makes it feel a bit more dynamic.

    0_1547418644554_Attachment-1 (5).jpeg

    Please provide any feedback anything you feel is off. Especially, tangents, balance, eye movement, value issues and focal points.

  • @theprairiefox

    I like 1 and 4 the most. 1 has a lot of movement and I like the height created in number 4. Number 1 us my favourite though.

  • @theprairiefox

    The bear looks a bit too long as its front legs are shorter than the body going off the page. Reminds me of Chinese New Years with people hiding underneath the dragons. Very roomy but I don't think that's the direction you were heading. It was the visual I could help you see what I mean.

  • @heather-boyd Yeah, I think there is something not quite right about the bottom of the bear. It should be getting bigger as it reaches the forest floor because of the perspective. But I can see what you mean about it looking like there is a person under her. I think maybe a little line changes as it goes off the page might help.

  • @Heather-Boyd I changed the outgoing line on the bear. I think it cleaned it up a lot. I have also added a small focal point with 3 tiny birds up in the trees

    Let me know what you think of the change to the bear. I thought the change actually made the bear seem more feminine as well (which is a good thing.)

    0_1547436928109_Attachment-1 (6).jpeg

  • Hi 🙂
    Really nice thumbnail, it's great to see that you've exaggerated the perspective more and I like the addition of the birds in the trees, adds a little something extra!
    I'm a little distracted with the placement of the squirrel because the tree trunk is right behind him, I'd move him more to the left so he's in between those two trunks, the eye should then initially be drawn to him and then up to the bear. I think you could also thin the tree trunks right at the top too so we really get a feel of the perspective 🙂

    Look forward to seeing where you take it next!

  • @theprairiefox

    I agree in part with @hannahmccaffery with the tree sitting at the foot of the squirrel. But I would move the tree and not the squirrel (sits nice on a rule of third). Try moving that tree over to the left (trees don't always grow evenly in a forest anyways). Or have some trees hiding behind others - play with placement.

    The bear is improved and I like her having a more curvy form. I would keep looking at references at that angle/perspective and bear proportions because she looks pregnant (not that I want your bear to look thin lols).

    In your story why is your bear interested in the squirrel? Your squirrel has pine cones? Does your bear want pine cones too? Why? Or is it a friendly walk in the forest?

    🙂 The birds add a nice triangular composition and further create height.

  • @hannahmccaffery Thanks for the feedback. I think I will work on the placement of the tree behind the squirrel. I debated about it as I put it in. I think I could push the perspective on the trees as well.

    @Heather-Boyd The bear is interested in the pinecones. In the story both the squirrel and the bear love pine nuts (found in pinecones). The common interest will drive them together to become friends.

    I will keep playing with the bear. The perspective has distorted the bear's figure and I agree that I don't think I got it reading quite right.

  • SVS OG

    Here's my thought, FWIW. I like what you've got so far, but I'm not seeing the bear as scary at all. If this is the first look at the bear, he looks rather curious and friendly. In comp #1, with the bear's mouth open, he can look much more scary and more easily lead to the confusion about if he's nice or scary. If you prefer the comp you've already got some time invest in (understandable!) maybe give him a scowl?

  • @kat In the end the bear is not scary or bad but is really nice. But this is the squirrel's first encounter with her and the squirrels believes that the bear is mean. So it is a fine line... I would like the bear to be intimidating but not too scary.

  • @theprairiefox As is, the body language of the squirrel looks like they are meeting an old friend. The tail is curved and relaxed, the smiling like expression, the perked casual listening ears, so on. Since you have noted that the squirrel is antagonistic toward the bear, the body language may, for example, be with ears down, tense guarding pose over the pinecones, either hugging some cones or spreading her arms over them, body lowered and sharply bent tail.

    I think the side profile of the squirrel sticks out compared to the rest of the composition. As the bear is facing the squirrel looking down, I think it would make sense for the squirrel to to facing the bear head on as well, looking upward.

    The trees appear to end in rounded off, cylinder like shapes. Perhaps its because this is just the sketch phase, as the trees would probably need to recede into the sky some more and the lines that make the trunk need to converge closer as the perspective goes higher. I think the trees don't have to bend inward toward the middle of the art piece, unless there is a threatening aura given toward the squirrel, like she is "trapped".

    Those my my critical thoughts on the idea so far. Overall I think this is a cute piece with a cute story!

  • Moderator

    Might there be some interesting lighting you could do with the trees being the way they are and the squirrel looking upward toward the light? I think perhaps one way of making the bear seem scary to the squirrel (as well as the viewer) is to catch the bear in a shaft of light from behind, casting her face and front in deep shadow. Then, at first glance to the viewer, it could seem like a big scary silhouette, but upon closer inspection of the shadow the facial features might read as less scary. I wonder if it might make for an interesting rim light effect, too, depending on how strongly the sunbeams are coming through the trees? Just a thought. 🙂

  • All, thanks for the feedback. I have submitted my final here.

    BIG Submission

    I was unable to finish as a linocut but I am planning on finishing the lino and I will post so you can see the difference...

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