Christmas pageant follies thumbnails (WIP)


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    I want to create a Christmas illustration before going away on December 21, so for the past few days I have been furiously drawing thumbnails. They kept getting more finished as I went along! In the end, I had 45 total thumbnails, and chose the best of the early ones to take to the next step, because they will depend a lot on gesture.

    After a week of doing thumbnails, I can't see straight anymore! I don't ask for a critique on any specific thumbnail, but if you could quickly scan the set, would you note any that jump out as good ideas for a single image? Quick impressions are fine. This is about ideas.

    Some things I was thinking about as I drew: Keywords are mischievous, homemade, human (as in, things real children might do). Sometimes I have cats as sheep and dogs as camels, and other times I have dogs as sheep and a person-camel. I intend to make the children of different ethnicities, but I haven't really established which yet. Even the compositions and values are still fluid. Since I don't have much time, I want to keep the final image fairly simple and will mostly rely on drawing, with only a digital watercolor wash (or something like that) for color.

    And if this works, I can use the best ones for future years as well! Thank you!

    Nativity scene larger sketches 13-18.jpg Nativity scene larger sketches 2.jpg Nativity scene larger sketches 1.jpg Nativity scene follies 30-45.jpg



  • I like the baby pov.


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    Thanks @IanS !



  • Stubborn camel 2 & climbing robe were the two I was initially drawn to.



  • I really love the energy of these thumbnails. I like a lot of them. particularly Escaped camel, and Climbing robe.


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    Woohoo! That's two votes for the same one! Thank you for your comments, @neschof and @xin-li.



  • I'm impressed by the creativity. I agree the baby climbing the robe is a real stand-out composition. Very unique and lovely lines. I love the idea of a crawling/climbing baby Jesus

    I'm also intrigued by the person camel scene. I think that could be really funny for kids--seeing human legs on a camel. Like a trick on the eyes.

    Great job


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    Thank you everybody! The robe it is, at least for this year. Today I'm working on studies of baby Jesus and wisemen. There may be some options for poses. I'll post some roughs soon.



  • It must be hard to choose, there's so many great images in there! I love 45,33, 34, 2, 36 and Angel Delivery but I'm not sure that's going to help you much!!


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    Thanks @Rachel-Horne! I'm working on the one where Baby Jesus is playing with the magus's robe, but I'll keep those in mind for future images. I hope to do more of these next year. One thing I've learned so far--start before December, because it's a short month with all the holiday preparations!

    Hope to post roughs in about an hour. I have three choices of those, too!


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    Rough sketches--1, 2, or 3? I forgot the haloes in 2.

    I haven't done the values yet. I am thinking about using a similar spot background, but will try to make it work with the characters. The ones I have now are mostly to see the silhouettes.

    Obviously there's still a lot refine, and I have less than a week left, so your input is appreciated!

    If I do #1, I am going to wrap a blanket around something to get the folds right. There's a spatial problem, a needed twist somewhere. But I rather like the concept of Baby Jesus needing a nap and using the magus's cape as a blankie.

    Thank you!!

    Nativity scene with magi 1.jpg

    Nativity scene with magi 2.jpg

    Nativity scene with magi 3.jpg



  • I personally like 2! It has a really nice flow, and I think it's a really sweet balance of interaction between all 3 characters. #1 reminds me of your rapunzel blanket piece.


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    Thanks @TessaW! I was just sitting down to work this morning and was going to go with number 2. It's nice to have a confirmation! Just had to see them all drawn out to make sure I had explored everything.

    I may take #1 at some point and make it just about a mom and a sleepy child. I really like it better cropped, since there is no eye contact with the magus.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to reply!



  • @LauraA I'm sure whatever you choose will be great, there's so many goodies in there. And yes, definitely need to start before December. I always have so many projects in mind for the festive season and nearly always come at it far too late! 😉



  • @LauraA Yes, number 2 is lovely.


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    Any drawing or other corrections before I start with color? Two days left to work!

    Naativity scene with magus texture.jpg



  • Lovely, but one change I would make is to make sure the baby looks younger and smaller than the two adults. Right now the baby looks too big compared to the size of the woman. So shrink the baby or size up the lady. Can't wait to see the finished piece!


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    @Suji-Park Thank you! That was just the kind of thing I was looking for. Actually, the other two are older children, maybe 10 and 12. The girl has a longer face, as if she is starting to grow. Do they look like adults? If so, I'll take a look at that too.



  • @LauraA Oh I see! Perhaps it's a visual stereotype; when you put a girl next to a baby, you automatically think of a mother. I think the girl's sweet&caring expression made me assume that she is the mother. Now that I look again, they totally look like teenagers!


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    @Suji-Park And this in turn makes me realize I need to include more clues that I am depicting a Christmas pageant, like homemade props, for example. I’ll think through that too. Thank you! Your fresh opinion is valuable because after a while I can’t see things objectively anymore.


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