Illustration feedback

  • Hey all. This is my first time posting for feedback. I've been working on a few pieces and I'm glad that Lee White posted a video about making a piece you'd be happy with. Great timing👍

    So I currently have a piece where my story is "TV expands your imagination/worldview". The world that the girl is experiencing is the deepsea and the audience can see the the creatures in the cracked TV screens (the animals are only lines right now).

    I'm in the color study stages right now and realized that it seemed empty. I added more TV's in the top right thumbnail which helps the flow.

    Critiques and opinions are greatly appreciated and welcomed. I would love to create a strong piece with a good narrative.

    Thank you🤓


  • A little confused about the story. It looks like there is a girl floating up while reading a book. She's on a stage with an audience watching her. There are broken tvs scattered in the back. I think the story means that she is reading and she's become a part of the water world that she is reading about. The broken tvs signify that we should turn off our tvs and devices sometimes.

    That's my take on it and maybe things will become more clear once you begin to sketch this out a little more. I think the value structure, dark foreground, bright background looks good and I like the colors from the first one, as it looks magical.

    I'd love to hear what you had in mind for the story, and my critique would be to figure out what you want to say and make it as clear as possible.

  • @DarleneAnico said in Illustration feedback:

    So I currently have a piece where my story is "TV expands your imagination/worldview". The world that the girl is experiencing is the deepsea and the audience can see the the creatures in the cracked TV screens (the animals are only lines right now).

    Colour wise I like the third one. Now I agree with @Zachary-Drenski I am puzzled by your story. My take is that she has broken the tv screen and holds it up. But I feel she is in a box where the tv, baseball bat and ball are resting. I didn't realise the background had characters, I thought it was a magical glow of atmosphere. I did not get sea creatures or under the sea. And though I do agree tv can help expand ones imagination and worldview I read a destruction of the real world (smashing of the tv) a terrible cost to living in an imaginary world. I think your work has the potential to be quite illuminating and beautiful -conceptually and visually -I think we need more understanding of your story and then we can hopefully help you better.


  • Pro

    @DarleneAnico I'm also confused with the story and didn't comment before because I thought maybe I was the only one not getting it!
    I see that the little girl has broken a piece of the TV screen and is seeing some fish in it. I think you meant it to be a little like these "fabulous imaginary world coming out from inside a book" illustration concept, but yours sends mixed signals. Why is the girl floating? Why has she broken a pieces of the TV and holds it up to look at it instead of looking at the TV screen unbroken? The sky is beautiful and magical, wide and open, while the broken piece of screen is small and hard to see. I'm not sure that's communicating well the idea that TV "expands" your horizons. The TV is broken among trash, seeming to reflect negative feelings not positive ones. I think if you wanted to convey the fact that TV is a good thing that expands your horizons, I would do a dark, grey world with color and beauty coming out only from the TV.

  • I have to agree with the others in that the message is not very clear, and it kind of reads counter to what you've stated you want to achieve. On it's own with no back story, I think it's an engaging image. It's mysterious and beautiful, with a slight edge to it. You could possibly continue down this path, and it would be an awesome illustration. If however, you are really trying to nail the theme of "TV expands your imagination/worldview", I think you'd need to go back to the drawing board.

  • @DarleneAnico Hi Darlene, I love the silhouette of the character.
    And well done for having the courage to get feedback. It sounds like a tricky thing to illustrate and it’s really good and positive that you’ve had some honest and direct feedback.
    Have you checked out the @Lee-White you tube videos tutorials. There’s a lot about emphasising the thumbnail and concept stage, which I’m realising is where the real work can be. It’s helped me a lot. There’s also a podcast by svs on great concepts.
    Best of luck with your artwork, can’t wait to see where you go with it.

  • @Zachary-Drenski @NessIllustration @TessaW @peteolczyk @Heather-Boyd

    Thanks for the feedback guys! Story is a hard thing for me to achieve or at least this story. In my head I wanted to add story her character so she's playing baseball and breaks the screen of the tv. She's floating because the fish are lifting her up in a sense. So it's more like she feels whisked away by what she's experiencing.

    Oh and what she’s holding is supposed to be a glass from the tv screen. I haven’t painted in the fish in yet but I want to to be in the TVs. Now I'm wondering if I should just ignore the story and finish the illustration because I do like it visually or try and figure out how to tell the story better. Should I make the foreground more prominent?

    How can I tell the story better?

  • @peteolczyk Yes that video was super helful. I spent about a week on just thumbnailing this concept and I feel like I'm very close to figuring it out. I'm going to go back to my thumbnailing stage and see if I can tell the story more clearly.

  • @DarleneAnico I don’t know Darlene, it seems like a tough concept to illustrate, with a realistic style.
    I’m just wondering if being more abstract or surreal in your interpretation could give you more ideas and options.
    It sounds a bit like a brief for an editorial illustration.
    Could you get ideas from some editorial illustrators?
    If you like the piece anyway, why not keep it and develop it.
    Hope this helps in some way, can’t wait to see your next step.👍

  • I think you could ditch the story if you wanted to. If it's a personal piece, I think it's ok to deviate from your initial idea and just let things unfold in different directions.

    Here would be my quick fixes if you wanted to keep the story line-

    • Tone down the magical lights of the back ground, keep it as blue gradient,. Emphasize the magic coming from the tv. Perhaps make a magical trail of fish going from the tv, swirling around the girl, and connecting to the piece floating in the air.

    • Put the baseball on the same ground plane as the tv, instead of behind the tv like you have it. This will help the viewer with the sequence of events. It's the baseball that smashed the tv.

    • Think about if you want the girl actually holding onto the broken piece of glass. The audience will perhaps cringe at the thought of her hands getting cut and bleeding on the glass. It might take away from the magic of the piece, unless you intentionally want us to make the connection of danger. Maybe she can just be reaching for it, and the magic of the fishes is the force that's making her float.

    Just my 2 cents- take them with a grain of salt!

  • @peteolczyk That's a good idea. I'll look into editorials. Thank you😀

  • @TessaW Hmm yeah I see. I'll take those into consideration as I rework the thumbnails. I really appreciate your feedback thank you😀

  • I'm looking forward to seeing where you take this illustration. It's totally fine to make a painting that looks mysterious or surreal, and there are people out there who love that kind of stuff, like me.

    I guess it comes down to deciding what the illustration is going to be used for. I'm assuming that children's book editors want to see portfolio pieces where the story is more direct.

  • 53803C0C-6BE5-4782-965F-0FD488EA2412.jpeg

    So this is where I'm at with the image. I had to stop from this piece in order to finish some other ones. I've added a big fish And the fish on the TV screens are now more visible which I believe helps with the composition.

    Critiques are welcome as I want to make this a print for an upcoming artshow.

  • @DarleneAnico just doing a quick read on this and using the strategy by @davidhohn of squinting it down, I noticed your values are really mixing. Once you squint the person merges into the background.

    You might want to lighten the background or darken the person? Not 100% sure. But I am losing the person...

  • @theprairiefox hm ok I see what you mean im going to darken the person. Thank you!

  • A19C1AEB-0217-4A8A-B8B7-C630CCD38A97.jpeg

    I’ve finished the illustration. I’m going to step away from it now and look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow.

    Feedback is welcome😄

  • @DarleneAnico it is much improved and the colours are very on point for the mood of a calm and imaginative moment.

  • @Heather-Boyd thank you very much! And sorry for the late reply

  • magical! very well done. hadn't peeked in before now but glad I did!

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