My BIG prompt - does anyone have any suggestions?



  • Hi all,
    I finished off my piece last night for this months prompt, it's part of a little haunted house story that I did another finished piece for before Christmas.
    I think i've been working on this for too long because there's just something about it that's bugging me...I think it's the monster's eye? Or his fur? Or the shadows on the boy? Maybe he's looking a little flat? I just don't know 😞
    HELP!
    Haunted House_spreads_8_amended.jpg



  • The quality is looking pretty rubbish when i upload on to here...unless it's just my screen at work!


  • SVS OG

    Hi, Hannah! I suggest adding a cool blue back lighting coming from the lower right side in order to lighten and make your piece less flat. I hope this helps.



  • Thank you @nyrrylcadiz , I think I know what you mean? I know it's not clear here but they're in an attic and the light is coming in from the window behind the monster and the rest of the room is dark. But maybe I should lighten it up like you say as it doesn't need to be as dark as I've made it...


  • SVS OG

    @hannahmccaffery i agree it’s really unrealistic. I call these kind of moves as ‘cheats’. Realistically, they’re impossible but as the creator, you can do whatever you want to benefit and improve your illustrations. Don’t think of your illustrations as real world scenarios but rather as movie set pieces where you have artificial lighting and you have control over each element. I hope this helps.


  • Pro

    @nyrrylcadiz " Don’t think of your illustrations as real world scenarios but rather as movie set pieces where you have artificial lighting and you have control over each element. I hope this helps."
    THIS!! It reminds me of something a teacher told me when learning how shadows work in perspective: don't be a slave to your light source even if the shadows it creates look odd - instead place your light source depending on where you WANT your shadows to be! This applies to other things than just lights and shadows as well, you stage it however you want to suit your needs!

    (This is something my boyfriend always bugs me about, he'll pop behind my shoulder and be like "huh excuse me this particular piece of the composition doesn't seem to be following the law of physics that state an object in motion would be propelled directly opposite to blah blah blah blah" and I'll give him him the stink eye until he shuts up about it hahaha.. I be like "bitch I do whatever I need to do!") 😛



  • @nyrrylcadiz @NessIllustration You're both so right, this seems to be one of my problems at the moment. I get so caught up with my illustrations and get anxious, that I overwork them and want them to be 100% realistic, when, like you say, they don't need to be!

    Haha @NessIllustration I have the same problem with my boyfriend too, he doesn't realise that illustration can be whatever the creator wants and comments on how "this doesn't look real" etc, so I blame him! hehe! I'm going to try your approach of getting him to back off!

    I will have a play around tonight with it, thank you both so much 😃


  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration oh no he di-int!!!😂


  • Moderator

    @hannahmccaffery I love this. I’m a big sucker for anything monster or Halloween and I love the boy in this! For me the boy has such great colouring and tone, and fits the scene perfect. The monster on the other hand doesn’t read that way to me, it almost feels like he was plopped in from another scene with totally different lighting. I just feel like his colouring doesn’t blend with the scene.



  • @inkandspatter no you're totally right, I think that's what I just couldn't put my finger on! It's that damn monster haha! Compared to the boy, maybe he's too bright and colourful and I need to add more blues to tone him down a bit?


  • Moderator

    @hannahmccaffery Yes, I think toning down the brightness and using cooler colours would make a huge difference! Try putting your hand over the monster so that you can only see the boy and the background. Then remove your hand and the colours that are not working on the monster should stand out more. That’s how I saw it. It so nice when the problem finally reveals itself 🙂



  • @inkandspatter Good idea, I'll do that thank you!



  • Oh man! I love this piece!



  • @ThisKateCreates thank youuuu! 😃 😃 😃


  • SVS OG

    @hannahmccaffery This is an exciting piece and beautifully rendered with the shapes, poses, expressions, and drama. I suggest desaturating and lighting up some of the colors (which I think some other folks have suggested?) as it's feeling a bit too dark. The light source coming from the monster's mouth is cool and helps with the lighting on the boy. Maybe you can increase the lighting on the boy's face (have the light spread a bit around his face more). You might also have the monster's eyes glow? I guess I'm wishing there was more light on the right side of the illustration. Right now it reads that the light is coming from the mid-bottom-left, but somehow the monster is blocking any light from spreading past his girth:) to the right. Also, and this is a tiny note, the monster's spittle read as feathers to me at first. It would be great if you could make it read more clearly. Looking forward to seeing how this develops. It doesn't need much, though.



  • @Johanna-Kim Thank you so much for your reply Johanna, you're right it is looking too dark and like you and others have suggested, the lighting needs reworking so I think i'm going to move it and add some shadows behind the two characters or something. It's actually not like coming from the monsters mouth haha, but I've had other people think that too so I definitely need to redo that - I'm still not used to working with lighting! Noted about the feathers, I'll look at that again 🙂 thanks you again!


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