Illustration for critique :D

  • Hi there! I am new to the forums though I've been on SVS for quite a while.
    This piece was done after watching the first video of Will Terry's Mixed Media watercolor and digital class. I took a lot of inspiration from that class ( hah hah bears!) and from Will Terry's style. This is obviously just a practice piece for me while I find my preferred style but I'd love critique specifically on the technique and colors. It feels too dark to me.
    Thanks for looking and for taking the time.
    You all rock!bear-1-s.jpg

  • Hi Shelly! owww, nice! wel done! The illustration is a bit dark though, it maybe nice to warm up the bear a bit. The big firefly in the lefthand corner is a bit distracting. Lovely bear!

  • SVS OG

    @lonelycatpress Welcome 🙂 Lovely image! I loved the Mixed Media class too, very inspiring and informative. Your image is beautiful - I really like the digital/watercolour texture combo you've got going there, I can see the way you've followed the process, it's very appealing.

    I think it would be lovely just to push the lighting a bit more, it's so nice and pretty with those fireflies but just a little more would just bring out the bear from the background. I hope you don't mind me drawing over your work (and please excuse that I did it quickly) but I wondered what it would be like with more - especially on the paw and face which is closest to the firefly.

    I was thinking maybe you could add more orangey warm tones on your multiply undertone layer (assuming you've been doing it like the video) on the light part, just to push the warm/cool sides a bit more - just a little bit though, I like that the bear has different tones showing through. I love the pencil texture on the paws and the belly, so nice, that will show up better with more light on the bear. Anyway they are just thoughts, feel free to disregard 🙂


  • @Leontine
    Thanks for your input. I see what you're saying about the firefuly up in the left. I was hoping to use him to lead your eye into the illustration but he does keep stealing the show. I might just tone him down and see how that goes!

  • @Dulcie
    You are great at critiques! Thanks for the thoughtfulness and kindness in your response 🙂

    I do see what you're saying and it does look better and the bear does pull out of the darkness more. I will try that today!
    Thank you so much! ❤

  • I love it! I'm crazy for watercolor and cute creatures. Did you use black at all? Black can really flatten and dull an image. I think it seems dark because the bear is the same color as the background. In this cat illustration he pops off the page (despite all the glowing fireflies) because he's a warm orange.


  • SVS OG

    I think there must be a nice home for dark images somewhere - i like the darkness of your image - it creates very nice atmosphere - it is very dark and the little bear is looking with wonder at the fireflies - you have warm tones in the foreground and have snuck cool tones into the background creating a very cozy little space for the scene - i hope you do not get rid of the large firefly in the foreground - i read it as being closest to the viewer and not providing lighting to the bear because of the distance - maybe toning it down as you say would do the trick but it seems an important element - you are a better painter than i but the one thing i will throw out there is the line on the snout - possibly paint the line out and see what you think - if you like it you could do the same for the lines on the paws and legs too ...i did a quick sketch of what i mean - basically though i think this is an excellent piece - bear.jpg

  • Hi everyone!
    Thanks for your critiques and encouragement!
    I took @dulcie 's inout about the lighting and @gimmiehummus 's inout about the orange (though a bit subtler than that cat! :D) and @kevin Longueil 's input as well. Here is the revised version, does anyone have any other thoughts?
    Thanks again, this was all so helpful and it turned out way better than before! bear-2-s.jpg

  • Even more lovely now! 😃 That little bit of orange and glowing blue in the background are so pretty.

  • SVS OG

    @lonelycatpress those updates are wonderful. They really add to this piece and add to that magical wonderment the bear has with the fireflies!