Critique request for book spreads.

  • Happy December guys. I am working on the final paintings for a book for this month. I have got all the rough sketches and color studies approval by the client last week. But for some spreads, I want to see if I can push the image a bit further. I hope I can get some inputs/critiques from you guys.

    Here is a spread for the classic children's song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. My keywords for this image are "magical" and "hopeful".

    1. Do the composition and value work well? Anything I can tweak more?
    2. I want to have a quiet winter scene below the sky. But what I can do to make the landscape more magical? any ideas?
    3. Anything that does not work for you?

    I had so much fun painting with watercolor for slowvember piece. I almost want to paint all 14 spreads for this book in watercolor. But I am a bit scared because the schedule is tight, and I have little experience with watercolor. I do not want to mess up the assignment. I am debating with myself while going through the detailed sketching phase.

  • SVS OG

    I like the composition and value very much! I like how the text is on the cloud. And I think it hits the keywords.

    For a touch of magic in the landscape, how about 1) Taking the snowman a little off center and 2) Adding something with some light, but not enough to take away from the stars--maybe a house in the distance? And maybe some small animals?

    I might soften or rumple up the bed just a bit. It's nice and simple, and the flags are a nice touch, but it's almost so boxlike as to look uncomfortable.

    If I think of anything else, I'll let you know! Good luck with the client approval and finished project!

  • Hi @xin-li I think that the composition And values works well! I dont have problem with readability at all 🙂 also the colors are great.

    To the second point: i was thinking that maybe softly adding purple And Orange might help. (Orange for some little lights maybe) And i would add a mist or something that would help readers to kind off imagine their own scenery. I would approach it very lightly (soft transitions etc..) add Just as much details so the readers can imagine the rest. (basicaly i imagined Will Terry Winter scenes)

    Those are my thoughs About it 😃 you can do whatever you want with it 🙂 Hope it helps somehow.

  • @LauraA thank you so much for the feedback. I will definitely do something with the snowman, and the bed.
    Yes. Animals... maybe I will try to add a few deers, as they are common in the Norwegian woods.

  • @Jonas-Zavacky thank you. I will definitely take a look at Will's winter scenes. Orange and purple lights sound fun. I will give a try.

  • I can’t see it in great detail on the screen I have. But my initial thoughts are just to try a few other Quick colour/value roughs digitally. I’ll have another look when I get home and have a better screen.
    Looks really interesting so far.

  • Pro

    @xin-li It's really lovely! I think maybe a gust of wind carrying powdered snow could add extra magic? Maybe some aurora borealis in the sky? (not sure about that one)

    As for the watercolor, although it's a lovely idea and would look breathtaking, I think considering the circumstances and the tight deadline you should play it safe here. You can always make your next book in watercolor when you have more time. It's just rather risky with this tight of a deadline. And you don't want to end up having to rush through the last illustrations because you've already used up all you time!

  • @NessIllustration @xin-li I reeeally like it.
    I agree with Ness. A touch of snowy wisps, faint distant cloud or northern lights (the type you see with your eyes, the milky wispy northern lights, not the photo enhanced, sugar candy lights) might squeeze in a touch more magic.
    It’s really good already though.

  • @NessIllustration thank so much you for the suggestions. I will try with powdered snow and northern lights.
    And thank you for weigh in on the watercolor idea. I think you are right - I might paint one or two from the book after the deadline for my portfolio.
    @peteolczyk thank you for the feedback. yes. I think I will try with a subtle northern lights in the background.

  • I am working on a couple of pieces at the same time, still working on the Twinkle Little Star spread. I am finishing up another spread and would like to have a second opinion before I present it to the client as the final art. The song is about flowers in early spring. The emotional keywords for this image are "optimistic, warm". The book is for baby and toddlers (0-3 years old)

    1. Does the image fit the keywords?
    2. Anything that is not working for you?

  • @xin-li I think maybe it's just the position of the boy's eyebrows but to me he comes off as apprehensive or maybe a bit worried, like a nervous smile. I really like the composition and rendering. The little mice are adorable. I think that maybe it would communicate "warm" better if the overall color of the piece were a bit warmer, the green in the upper right reads as warm to me but at the bottom of the page it starts to get cooler, the yellow is on the cooler side for a yellow and the other flowers are a cool purple, maybe you could just play with adjustment curves a bit or add in some small pink or red flowers to warm it up a hair. I think the combo of them wearing sweaters, the way it looks like the foliage is blowing in the wind, and the cooler green tones make me think of it more of it as a cool or crisp rather than warm - it's really close though.

  • @StudioLooong thank you so much for the input. I always find the color green very challenging. I will tweak a bit for the green color, and the flowers.
    The expression of the boy is not quite right, now that you pointed it out. I will fiddle a bit more on that.

  • Lovely work! I love the movement of the grass and flowers, it definitely makes me think of a spring morning.
    I think, with the girl having such a warm coloured outfit, I might add a few pink flowers as well to balance the image out. I'm not sold on the boy's purple jumper, not sure why but to me it doesn't quite fit (maybe cause there are no other purples?) I would play around with the colour of his jumper.

  • Made some adjustments based on @StudioLooong and @eriberart 's inputs. Thank you.

  • @xin-li this picture did cheer me up. Lovely

  • @peteolczyk thank you. I finally got 2 spreads done, and 12 to go :-).

  • I have no clue how much I can share from the book-in-progress. But I really want to get some feedback from fellow artists here before I send in as final art.
    Here is another almost finished spread. The song is very energetic, and a bit absurd. It goes something like this "Jump, says the goose. Danse, says the fox. So we jump and we dance, and we sit down".

    Any thoughts?

  • @xin-li could you delete the post once you have the feedback you need? Just to cover yourself.
    It looks really good to me. The only thing I can spot is there seems to be a line either side that cuts off some of the clouds. But I don’t know if there’s a reason for this. Is it due to a fold when it was scanned?

  • @peteolczyk thank you so much for letting me know about the line cutting off the cloud. It was a mistake. I rotated the cloud to give the image a bit more dynatic, and I forgot to fix the edge, hehehe. I have been staring this image for too long I guess.

    Removing the post sound like a good solution. I will do as you suggested after I get enough feedback. I will of course share some images once the book is out 🙂

  • @xin-li Love the music notes on the boy's sweater. Nice touch.

Log in to reply