SCBWI Snow Day WIP - Critiques Welcome

  • I thought I would try the SCBWI Insight challenge for January. The subject is SNOW DAY.

    I could think of nothing better on a snow day than curling up with a good book. And this little one is sharing it with his dragon.

    Out the window we will have snow... but it will hopefully feel warm and cozy inside.

    Keywords: Cozy, Warm inside vs. Cold outside

    Here are 4 of my thumbs that I did a value study on. Please let me know what one gives you the best feeling of warm and cozy on a snow day.


  • Here are some character sketches for the dragon.


  • I love the dragon heads! So well done. I am having trouble picking a thumb I like best. Seems like they all could work. I like the roundness in them , gives that soft cozy feeling. Bottom left the most roundish , I like top left for unexpected viewpoint. I like the other two as well, sorry lol!

  • @Coley thanks for the feedback.

    The dragons were a lot of fun. It is always interesting to push proportions on creatures and see what happens!

  • @theprairiefox dragons are definitely fun to draw!

  • I like #15 but possibly with a larger window could speak to the cold far more. Even a skylight attached to the window then you could maybe have the snow flakes shadow on top of them (dragons below) if you understand what I’m trying to say. And with the cozy size of the large dragon. That and with that size I prefer the dragon head to the top right, like a wise grandfather.


  • @Heather-Boyd yeah that dragon could be fun with 15. His whiskers could squiggle out on the floor!

    Thanks for the input.

  • @Heather-Boyd said in SCBWI Snow Day WIP - Critiques Welcome:

    I like #15 but possibly with a larger window could speak to the cold far more.

    This was going to be my exact comment! I imagine being curled up in the middle of a curled dragon would be a very snug spot indeed. You could enlarge the window behind them but still have it feel cozy with the dragons body effectively shielding the child from the cold scene behind. I like the very physical surrounding, mimicking the total other world you can enter into when you read on a day when you have no other obligations. 😊

  • @Sara-Vecchi thanks for all the input. My wife liked 15 most too, so I think that is the one. I will move forward with that.

    I will test a few different sized and shaped windows. I am thinking something like the window from 18 might give more contrast as well.

  • I have gotten the sketch (5x5) complete and have done a few color studies.

    I am planning on doing a woodcut with multiple plates and rainbow rolls (similar to a gradient). Before that happens I will be rendering it one more time at full size (8x8).

    Here are the color studies on the sketch.

    Let me know which you like best and anything you see in the sketch that is amiss (I know the book is a little off and it will be corrected).

    SnowDay_ColorStudy_001 copy.png SnowDay_ColorStudy_002 copy.png SnowDay_ColorStudy_003 copy.png

  • @theprairiefox I really like the first one with the orange dragon -he really warms the room. Not sure about the clothing colour of the boy though. Everything else I like -the slanted window good way to solve that element.

  • @Heather-Boyd here are a couple of changes with the orange dragon. Orange was my favorite too, but I have been unsure about the clothing for the kid as well.

    SnowDay_ColorStudy_001 copy.png SnowDay_ColorStudy_011.png SnowDay_ColorStudy_012.png SnowDay_ColorStudy_013.png

  • @theprairiefox I like the last two. If you played with the warmth of the purple, right now I feel it's on the cool side. Like a more purple burgundy maybe. The yellow hair in that one is warmer than in the last one but still like the paler but maybe the yellow clothes could be a warmer yellow (with that combo I feel it's more on the cool side).

    The cool/cold is the wall and window/outside portion, so I don't want the cold to bleed into the foreground anymore than the boys pale skin. Also feel cold maybe because the book is white.

    Keep it up. πŸ™‚

  • I would slick 15 because the composition is feeling strongest for that one. However I think you should try to stagger the composition a bit. Right now it’s all very centered, shifting things around to create a flow for the viewers eye will make it much more balanced and relaxed which is especially important for a scene that should feel comfortable like this one. As for the dragon sketches I really both of the ones on the left.

  • @Griff thanks for the advice.

    I was thinking I was not moving the viewer around the composition very well either. As I did my final sketch, I changed the dynamic by moving the eyes of the characters.

    I think it is working better to move the viewer around. The girl looking at the dragon and the dragon facing back at the book which brings you back to the girl. Let me know your thoughts.

    With the dragon falling asleep it adds more story to the image as well. It feels to me that the girl is reading a story and her dragon is falling asleep because of it.


  • @Heather-Boyd , @Griff , @Sara-Vecchi , @Coley Thank you all for the input. I decided to take the plunge and attempt the watercolor over a woodcut print I have been pondering!

    Not perfect, but done! And I learned a lot in the process about my watercoloring!

    SnowDay_FinalScan_001 copy.jpg

  • @theprairiefox just realized that this isn't due until Jan 20th! They don't do a December DRAW THIS!

    So, I will be reprinting and repainting this... so any comments are welcome.

    I plan on doing the following for sure.

    1. Reverse the plate (forgot and that is why it is backwards.)
    2. Print the sepia much darker. The watercolors came out much darker than I expected so the lines should have been darker as well.
    3. Switch which side of the book is darker.
    4. Use a slightly different technic for coloring the dragon.
    5. See if I can develop a better technic for the snowflakes.

    Anything else you guys can see or think might improve it would be welcome.

  • @theprairiefox You did a great job! I think the changes you listed out for yourself are all good ideas. As for the snowflakes, I have seen some people use salt on watercolor for some interesting effects. It may be worth trying the technique and seeing if you like the results.

    alt text

  • @Sara-Vecchi I have seen this too! Thanks for reminding me. I am definitely going to give it a try now that I have some more time to experiment.

  • Well, I did all the things:

    1. Updated sketch to provide a better composition (focal points on 1/3s better eye movement between girl/dragon)
    2. Updated dragon's anatomy to work better
    3. Attempted different technique for snow, did not look how I wanted so I went back to droplets.
    4. Fixed shadows extensively using what I learned in the shadows class by @Lee-White that I have been working through with watercolor
    5. Reversed the plate.
    6. Darker sepia print.
    7. Changed color of dragon slightly.

    I ended up darkening the scan as the colors did not seem rich enough for me.

    I am pretty happy with the overall. But let me know what you think. Any feedback would be welcome. I will be submitting it on Sunday.


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