The Moment Before My Mom Left WIP

  • Hey ArtSmiths!
    I've played around with some ideas on what I could do for the prompt for this month, but nothing seem to strike a spark with me.

    I started thinking about what was the biggest "Moment Before" in my life. I thought of some funny events with my siblings. But then I thought about my mom and the moment she left.

    Typically, I focus on light-hearted work. But I'm changing it up this time to something more serious and close to my heart. This is something that happened to me when I was fifteen, my mom passed away from brain cancer.

    It has been the main subject focus on all my 3D and sculpture work (Check them out here:, and I think its time to bring it into my illustrations too.

    So the subject is the moment right before my mom passed. In real life I wasn't by her side, but i want to capture the moment as if I was.

    Its been over ten years since she flew off, but that moment in time has effected and changed my life forever.

    My nickname is Squirrel, so I have us characterized as squirrels.

    Here are the thumbnails. To me, 3, 4 and 6 seem to jump out to me.

    Which thumbnails you all vote for?

    Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 11.30.38 AM.png

  • Moderator

    I like 4. This is going to be sad. Is this a personal experience? If so, I am sorry for your loss. 🙁💔

  • SVS OG

    I'm sooo sorry about losing your mother. She must have been a wonderful person to inspire this concept and moving thumbnails. You've got lots of good options here.

    • #5, the way you've posed the characters, is packed with gut-wrenching emotion, but it feels like possibly the moment after.

    • #2 attracts me because I can see the faces better, but the composition isn't as interesting as some of the others.

    • #3: the one thing you might do to make it more solid composition-wise is to have something hanging from the ceiling or in the background to offset the strong upward vertical of that bedpost just to the left of little squirrel. It might be that there's a window there and curtains hanging, but angled towards Mama squirrel, maybe from a breeze. #3 also feels a bit like the moment after, so make sure to have Mama's eyes just a little open, and perhaps the two can be gazing at each other, so you might turn little squirrel's head to look at Mama squirrel.

    • #6 also has potential, but is weighted too much on the left creating an imbalance. However, I like the view from above. If you angled the foot of the bed to the left so everything wasn't straight up and down, it would help move the eye around the picture more. Or you can shift everything to the right and show a bit of wall or window or something on the left to balance the overall composition.

    Hope some of these notes spark some good ideas for you. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

  • This is so beautiful and tender and heart-breaking. The expressions in 5 and 8 are so emotion-filled, but the compositions of 3 and 6 feel very emotion-filled to me too. I like the imbalance of 6. Moments like those feel off-kilter, like nothing makes sense. "Why is that grocery clerk smiling at me? Why is the sun shining? Don't they know that my mom is dying?" I like the idea that there is sunshine slipping through the curtains on one side but they are in a darkened corner, isolated and hurting together. I think it's just a matter of artfully breaking with the rules of design to capture an emotion. #6 is very moving and powerful to me. Any of them would be beautiful though. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

  • @burvantill Thanks, yeah, this happened to me a little over ten years ago.

    @Johanna-Kim Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. Its gonna be hard to pick which one to use. I'll definitely be able to use your tips either way. I didn't notice that some of them looked like it was the moment after. Yeah, maybe I should have her eyes open a bit to fix that. I like your suggestions for eye movement, that is a lot of help because sometimes I have the hardest time with that.

    @beckporter Thanks, I might have cried a little while sketches these, but I think its good for my heart.
    That is a great point about using an off-kilter composition to express emotion. I like that. And the contrast form the shinning window and dark corner. I didn't really think about that much until you mentioned it. That is gonna be cool to play with while doing the shading and adding values.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @Squirrelsize so sorry about your loss. No matter how much time passes, it never really gets easier. I lost my sister when I was younger and my father a few years ago. They stay with us with the memories we made with them.

    I really like #4.

  • @Chip-Valecek Thanks man, so true. I heard a quote once from a father who lost his daughter fifteen years ago. It really vibes with me. He said, " The pain never leaves because we don't stop grieving, and we don't stop grieving because we never stop loving."

  • Oh man @Squirrelsize big hugs to you because that's literally you're heart all over the page there. I lost my Mom to pancreatic cancer last July and these were hard to look at. I hope I can get to a place where I can do a project like this someday. What a tribute and you are so brave. The thing I keep thinking, the only thing that helps sometimes is that phrase that grief is love unspent. If we didn't love them still so much it would be easier but who would want that?

    Anway! Ugh I'm crying. I like 6 too like an above angle is so lovely. But I love the sunbeam shafts in 4 too. It's like that scene in The Rough Patch by Brian Lies where Evan the fox is turned away from the sun so you see him shadowed but the sun is still there like with it's hand on his back, I just think that's so perfectly grief

  • #2 #5 #8 #9 are my favourites -very close -more focus and good angle for the outpouring of your emotions. So sorry ❤ It will be a beautiful piece.

  • 5 and 8 are my favorites

  • SVS OG

    This is so heart-breaking. I sincerely hope that your family is going strong. This piece is so powerful. My dad died when I was four due to kidney failure but I was too young to understand the gravity of it all or to even miss him as cold as that sound. I barely knew him enough because of how young I was. I can, however, relate to to passing of my grandma who died when I was 14. She had 2 strokes and was bed-ridden. I was the one in charged of taking care of her because we couldn’t afford to hire extra help. When I was in school one day, my grandma died. I was taking an exam when my mom came and told me my Lola had passed. Until this day, I still feel a guilty for not being by her side that day. I feel really bad thinking she died all alone.

  • Moderator

    I think you'll do a beautiful job capturing the essence of those special moments. It's clear you can communicate it, and by doing so you'll help others feel it too! I'm a big fan of #8. Well done!!

  • #4 is my favorite, however, the piece will be beautiful no matter what you choose.

    Thank you for sharing your story - I'm so sorry for your loss.

  • I'm so sorry for your loss, you're so brave to illustrate that moment and your piece is going to beautiful no matter what. I think I like #4 the best because even though the moment is so sad, there is an element of peace to it ❤

  • @Heather-Bouteneff Thanks for the hugs, sending some your way. I love that phrase: Grief is love unspent. Sometimes I feel like my heart is so full of unspent love.

    Thanks for your tips and I love the idea of using the sunbeams shafts. I think I'll probably do some sort of combination of the thumbnails and I think I will be stealing #4's sunbeams. The Rough Patch has some beautiful illustrations. I love the lighting used in it 🙂

    @Heather-Boyd Thanks girl, yeah, good idea about focus and angle. I feel like that is going to be a big key to really hitting home on expressing the moment.

    Thanks @MichaelaH

    Wow @nyrrylcadiz , my heart goes out to you. My grandmas are very close to me and I can't imagine how hard it will be to let them go. Thats hard.

    Yeah, my family has had a time of it, but I feel like we have all grown closer together.

    Hahaha, yeah @Coreyartus, #8 is getting ranked up. Thanks 🙂

    Hey @djly, yeah, thanks, #4 is one of my faves too

    @hannahmccaffery Hahaha, You may not think I'm brave when you see me slobbering all over the sketches lol. Anyway, Thanks, Yeah, #4 does have some peace to it. I'll have to be to keep that element when drafting more sketches.

  • So I've done three thumbnails, each with a combination of several of the top voted.

    Let the voting commence.

    Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 8.15.16 AM.png

  • I am vote for 1.

  • Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this "Moment before" with us. I like #3 best because you are not in bed with her. I like the intimacy of being in the bed hugging, however, it could read as just the moment before an everyday nap as opposed to the more profound moment that this is. I think having you at the bedside hunched over really sells what is happening in this image. very touching, I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

  • @andersoncarman Thanks man, yeah, that is a good point. I think hunched over by the bedside would make more sense. I will keep that in mind when doing the next draft.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    I am liking 3 the best.

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