Critique Requested

  • Moderator

    Well, lesson learned: read the submission requirements before diving into a project. ROFL!! I put this 2-page spread together for my very first entry into SCBWI's monthly word prompt contest ("Standoff") and then realized it was too big. <groan> I am so disappointed in myself.

    Still, I learned a LOT, and I'm hoping with your help it won't be a lost opportunity to learn even more... I could use some constructive criticism of this piece if you are so inclined.

    Please note:

    1. The prompt was "Standoff".
    2. I have never done a 2-page spread before, but even I realize I didn't leave enough for bleed around the pages.
    3. In particular, I am wondering what people see when they look at the image. I have a "situational context" in mind, but I'm wondering if it will register and if the eye actually goes to where I want it to go.
    4. I'm new at this and there are some industry logistics I still need to learn, so forgive my ignorance regarding formatting. I will be taking an SVLearn course eventually that will address these shortcomings.

    Thank-you so much for any help you can give me. I think this will go into my collection of learning experiences... Umm, how many pictures does one throw away again? LOL!



  • From my first glance:

    My impression

    • It seems like a parent standing off against their child.
    • A western setting in the bathroom?

    Regarding composition:

    • Girl has shadow, parents legs don't - just something I noticed.
    • I'm not 100% what that grey box behind the doll is, and its texture I find distracting.
    • I would say the value composition can be improved. I'm not 100% sure how, but it lacks a sense of 'flow' (sorry I can't articulate better.)

    All in all well done, particularly for a first time. Great to hear you learned a lot. What were some of your big learnings?

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @Coreyartus I really like the style overall. I am a little confused as far as the setting. I see on the right side it is a bathroom, but the clock on the left seems low. I would almost remove that. But between the the legs of the parent it turns to a western layout. If she is pretending to be a cowgirl, I would still keep it in the bathroom setting but keep her in her outfit, I think it would still read as a standoff.

  • Moderator

    Hm. Yes, good to know all these things- @Nathan and @Chip-Valecek. I had intended it to seem like she was using her imagination to transform her bedroom furniture and toys into a western town. I was trying to suggest a merging of two worlds--the lamp as a watertower, the openings of an upside-down basket as windows in a building, her dresser as another... But it's obviously not reading.

    Reality ends with the arrival of the parent for bath time. That's why the western scene is only between the legs and outside of the legs is the world of reality--the world of the parent who is interrupting her playtime. I probably needed to give more visual cues to indicate the duality of the bedroom location by having items appear both inside and outside of the legs. For example getting rid of the side basket and extending the bed visually into reality to see the shift. Other things like that.

    Hm. Good to know. Thank-you both very very much!!! This is exactly what I needed. I appreciate your help!!

  • Moderator

    I think I get it because I’ve been there. Big brother and little sister fighting over the bathroom. I hear the good the bad and the ugly soundtrack in my head right now. Lol.
    At first I had no idea what was happening, the two different themes were a little confusing but it was strong enough to get me to look closer. Admittedly there are a few technical problems that others have already pointed out but I think it has potential. An idea would be to define the bathroom area so it’s a bit more recognizable, That’s where I had problems.
    I’m curious, how was this too big? Do mean the size of the digital file or the format?

  • Moderator

    @burvantill The requirements are that the image be no larger than 8.5" x 11" (or 11" x 8.5") at 72dpi.

    This image can be resized to be 11" across, but the resolution of 72dpi meant that a LOT of detail went away. I tried it, and the tiny lines in the toys and the girl's forms simply became too blurry to be distinct. It became even more of a hot mess. LOL! 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @Coreyartus This is a cute concept. I got "standoff" immediately from the this point of view. Great job! My first thought was brother v sister because the foreground legs plus tennis shoes looked young to me. Then I was really stumped as to the bottle in the foreground. After reading the comments I went back and put together the clues: soap and a ducky for bath time, and the clock at 6:30 instead of high noon. I think you have a great start!

  • Moderator

    @juliepeelart Thanks so much! I probably need to work on making my clues a bit clearer in the future if I ever use anything close to this concept again--one shouldn't need cliff notes to understand what's happening! LOL! I am definitely going to be working on that! 🙂

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