Post-critique WIP - fresh eyes please


  • SVS OG

    Hey Guys,

    I went ahead and made edits based on @Lee-White 's feedback to my Moment-Before illustration. I definitely think it looks better but I think I've been looking at this piece too long, so I'm not completely sure.

    I'd appreciate any honest notes on how it looks overall now. Is the zebra looking up still pulling too much attention away from the big hippo? How is the big hippo's pose now? Thanks in advance for any thoughts. And apologies for posting this piece yet again.
    moment-before - crit result2.jpg


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Johanna-Kim maybe simpler is a direction i might suggest. heres a quick paint sketch as an example. BCB2DD0C-874D-4ED3-A89E-C6B022230757.jpeg


  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White Thank you! Yes, I see what you mean. Simpler definitely gets the message across much better, and the more vertical format is also a huge improvement. I'll work on clearing the pool. I have a tendency to clutter my images. This is a good (and painful) lesson for me. Haha:)



  • @Johanna-Kim it reminds me of Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson. Your hippo seems to be a carefree spirit. But it also makes me wonder — is the zebra supposed to catch her?



  • Hi Johanna, this is so awesome. Both versions actually resonate with me, but the focal point definitely becomes the hippo with the smaller zebra.

    As for clearing the pool or keeping many characters, I think it depends on what story you're trying to tell. Is part of the humor of the image that all of the many unassuming characters are going to get splashed? Or is the story mostly about the hippo's care-free dive into the pond?

    I really love the details of the many characters, though their spacing could perhaps be adjusted a bit now that the zebra is smaller? I also really like the suggestion to make the image a bit taller to emphasize the jump.

    Fantastic to learn from your process and how you're using Lee's critique. Thank you for sharing! 🙂


  • SVS OG

    @Sara-Hickman Thanks for your notes and question. I intended for the zebra to just be noticing her, but you're right. His hand and arm gesture implies catching. Weird that I hadn't even caught that. I'll probably eliminate or minimize him. Thanks also for mentioning that book. I hadn't heard of it, but just looked it up. It's challenging finding characters that are original these days.


  • SVS OG

    @KathrynAdebayo Thanks for your very helpful questions and comments. Regarding story, I'm trying to show the relaxing and unsuspecting pool loungers about to get a surprise splash. I'll probably opt for a compromise between clearing the pool completely and simplifying the loungers. Lee's drawover is so strong that it's tempting to clear everyone out, leaving just one character, which is actually how my original thumbnail looked. The moment I strayed from my thumbnail is probably where things went sideways for me. Ugh.:)



  • I loved your original version, but making the zebra smaller has definitely improved the piece 🙂 I personally LOVE all your characters and how they're all telling their own individuals sub stories and their faces and clothes are brilliant! Maybe just remove a few (maybe the baby hippos on the right) and change the zebra position so he's just noticing the diving hippo?
    Maybe you can also make it more obvious that the branch the hippo is standing on is wobbling? as it would be if a hippo was standing on it 😛 And also making the whole image taller like @Lee-White suggested 🙂
    I love the colours and the rendering of the piece, I can see this in a children's book for sure!


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    @hannahmccaffery Thank you so much for all your helpful notes and encouraging words! I will definitely explore making all those changes. 🙂



  • applause to you to going back to a piece after completion and critique. Sometimes when I've made the effort to finish a piece it is REALLY hard to re-vist it again. I had a thought after looking at the simplified version the @Lee-White offered you (I am very impressed by the level of investment the teachers at SVS take with the students)--is it possible to easily change the POV so that the piece is more looking up at the hippo... can we see the hippo from the angle of the original zebra?


  • SVS OG

    @Laurasketches Haha, yes. I totally had that thought, although that would mean a complete redraw. I'm all for doing that, however, I'm just wondering if this particular piece can be saved. It may be that the answer is no. Still, I appreciate you posing the question.



  • It's sweet. I think it would add a lot of humor if every animal was looking at the hippo with big eyes. That moment when everything goes silent, and all eyes are on you, in anticipation, awe, or fear of what is to come.



  • The new version is definitely an improvement! I like Lee's version, but it loses the idea that this is a crowded watering hole, and everyone has to respect the rules. There's way more consequence to the hippo diving in when it's busy.


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    @bnewman Thanks, yes, I agree. I kind've got stuck on this piece. Nothing was working out and I tried lots of things, even going back to thumbnail stage. Finally, I decided to put it aside for a while and work on the mermaid prompt for a change. I do plan on revisiting this piece, though and will keep your comments in mind.

    @CLCanadyArts Thanks, you may be right. It currently is a beat before that moment. Wasn't sure how far before the moment to make the piece. Will keep your suggestion in mind.


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