January snow wip. Feedback



  • @burvantill @Coley @idid @Laurel-Aylesworth thank you all so much for having a look. I’ll push on with it then.



  • So cute. Can not wait to see the finished version of this.
    I am wondering maybe you could push the gestures of the characters a bit more, making them bend over to get a close look at the footprints for example. Right now the characters are standing more or less straight.


  • SVS OG

    I love the concept of flowers poking out of the snow. I love the bear's big head, and the addition of little characters. It makes for good variety of size and added whimsy. I find the composition a little hard to read without value, but I'm sure that once you add it it will help to focus everything.

    The only thing I'm wondering is whether the snowman distracts a little from the story, because it makes me go around looking for explanations. At first I was looking at this on the phone and wasn't sure what the snowballs were. Then I realized it was a snowman. Were they rolling a snowball to make a man and found flowers underneath? No, because they are individual footprints. Is there a classic third ball for a snowman that I should be looking for somewhere? At any rate, it's all secondary to the main point, the footprints with flowers, so it shouldn't draw my attention away too much.

    Some of this might be resolved with value, naturally. But if the snowman were in the background, already mostly assembled, and if some of the characters were posed around it and turning their heads instead of standing in a line, it might make more sense of the story that they were out building a snowman and some of them saw these footprints. In this way I agree with @xin-li that there could be a bit more gesture in the characters.

    We still don't know exactly what made the footprints, but it doesn't matter! The point is that spring is coming 😊. I also don't know why I have ideas for other people's drawings and can't resolve my own. But like you said, fresh eyes help!



  • @xin-li that’s a really good point Xin Li thank you



  • @LauraA thank you so much Laura so great to hear your feedback. I’m hoping the value will correct the emphasis and show the little character hiding behind the tree, (who made the flower filled prints).
    I’m also guilty of trying to work a little something personal into the illustration. I just really like images that have little side stories and characters going on.


  • SVS OG

    Ah! I didn't see the little character! I knew the prints were leading to the tree, though.

    I don't think it hurts to add a personal reference into an illustration, as long as people who don't get the reference can enjoy the result. I've done the same, and I always wonder whether those pieces are as good as the others. Yet one more reason for getting objective feedback!

    Look forward to seeing the next stage!



  • @LauraA I think it would also help if I worked to refine my line work more. My attitudes always been to draw it out quick so I can get on with painting.
    Thanks again, I’ll try and use all your great advice and carry on.



  • @peteolczyk I also love images that have side stories in them. I was really interested in this approach after starting to read with my daughter (it has been for a couple of years now). She would notice all these little things/side characters from around 1 year old. For example, the classic Barbapapa stories would have all these little mouses in the background.

    I think the challenge for us illustrators is to not let the sidekicks take over the story. I think you have a fine balance in your image composition as it is now. Looking forward to seeing this illustration being developed 🙂



  • @xin-li hi Xin Li, thank you so much again for your input. I’ll have to look into Barbapapa I don’t think it was big over here. I used to like the ladybird classics with the extra characters, my kids love them too.
    That’s a really good point about not letting the sidekicks take over, I’ll have to be careful with that. I can easily get carried away with an idea if I’m not careful.
    8F3C601C-74CC-459A-B468-9AECDD660505.jpeg



  • 276EC84F-D8A3-47F9-AACC-C41333955E62.jpeg
    I thought I’d chuck a load of textures into this and use at as an excuse to experiment. I’ve shifted the poses slightly, and now going to attempt to add tracks under the flowers 😬🙈



  • @peteolczyk hello, I just thought I’d share my progress again. I’ve yet to add flowers or something in the tracks. I’ve flip flopped about with this image again. Sorry it’s not been such a linear progression. As soon as I started adding colour to the previous image, it didn’t look right, the space and characters just all looked to close. Anyway I thought I’d try harder at the sketch stage, and add more gesture and perspective to the characters.
    I also spent more time designing rather than drawing, which has helped me a bit.
    I guess some of this comes down to experience. I try and follow Lee Whites process as much as I can, but it’s still not a smooth process for me yet. Does anyone else still find they have to go back to the drawing board with an idea?
    As usual any crit, feedback or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    AE4867C4-AD72-4213-8668-1A76F5A43B57.jpeg



  • @peteolczyk I love it! This is a big improvement. I am not understanding what the snowman has to do with anything. He looks like a he is a live character being toted around in pieces. How does he tie into your story?



  • @peteolczyk this is really cute ❤



  • @peteolczyk It's not smooth for me. I have the six steps posted on my wall right where I do all this work (purposely in my face, ha), and still mix up steps, particularly 4 and 5. One thing I have not yet resolved is when to do a character study for what is supposed to be a simpler piece. It can be confusing that a sufficient character design can sometimes emerge in the thumbnails that aren't really supposed to be fully drawn! And sometimes it doesn't happen. If I hit a point where I can't answer important questions about a character it's sometimes that I need to start over, because I think character design is step 1, research and development.

    So basically i go back to the drawing board a lot. I know that it's in direct conflict with this urgent feeling of wanting to get things done.



  • @peteolczyk There is a lot in this image I love. It is very interesting to look at. The composition is interesting, the snow scene is beautiful. The forest reminds me Lord of the rings. But there is something not cohesive in this image. I am not quite sure what is the image really about: it is about friends out for an adventure (friendship, helping each other), or it is about the creature Spring left a mysterious trail (if it is the creature Spring's track, wouldn't the forest folks have seen it every year? why would it be a surprise for them?).

    I think maybe it would help to write down a one-sentence pitch for the story, and 1-2 keywords for what the mood of the image should be, and use these to guide your decisions on composition, character design, and color choices. I found it very useful to use this approach when designing the image, especially in the thumbnail stage, but also when deciding the details.

    I found color study step is one of the most difficult steps in the process. What I found it easier for me is do color comp as early as possible during the process. I would do color comps over a very rough sketch( just slightly more detailed than a less badly-drawned thumbnail). In this way, I can iterate quicker, if something is not working, I can scrap it before I invest time in drawing details.



  • @carolinedrawing thanks Caroline, when you say about answering important questions about a character, do you involve any writing in your research and development too?



  • @xin-li thank you for this valuable feedback. Maybe that’s a key part of what I’m missing in my development phase. I’m writing little or nothing down to explain or summarise an image. I’m also not asking any questions.
    I really need to work harder this year, on ideas, concept and story and quit seeing myself as just someone who draws stuff.

    When you started doing this yourself, did you find that the process flowed better and the development of your images fell into place more easily?



  • @chrisaakins thanks for the feedback Chris 👍



  • @Jenna-Jenks thank you Jenna 👍



  • @peteolczyk I find keywords are very helpful. With the book I did just now, I wrote down some keywords for each poem. I wrote down a list of nouns (people, animals, objects that appears in the poem, or things I thought of when reading the poem). Then I wrote down some adjectives for each poem, and the adjectives are the mood. I went back to them all the time, especially the adjectives.

    The early color comp really helped me. My process is roughly like this right now:

    1. Research and thumbnails
    2. Rough sketch
    3. Color comp
    4. Detailed line drawing (I do not do very detailed line drawing anymore since a lot fo my finals are not with visible lines. But I typically draw the image once more after the color comp, to define a bit more the shapes).
    5. Painting and details.

    For this project, roughly 1-3 steps takes up 40% of the time, and 4-5 steps take 60%. For my personal piece, I do not keep track the time so much, so it is hard to say. But this year, I think I want to spend more time in the 1-3 steps, as much as time allows.

    Another thing I realize during the last couple of months is that an illustration is very often so much better if you do not try to do it in one go. The time in between/the time you are not working on the piece, but doing something completely different is what makes the illustration better. I think this is probably one of the reasons why your personal piece is always better than the client works, due to the schedule.


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