January snow wip. Feedback



  • @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.



  • @xin-li thank you So much for your advice with this. I’m going to go back to the drawing board and push on with the research and concept stage, and use more keywords.
    I think I probably added too many personal elements without clearly defining them.
    I won’t hit the deadline but I’ll take this to finish before I try any more contests.



  • @peteolczyk I really love your image. The thing that struck me most about this one was that they seemed a little far from the footprints so it's hard to see what they're looking at. I found the first colour image really lovely and intimate but prefer the colour palette in this one. Great job though x



  • @peteolczyk for the most recent image you posted, I love the overall atmosphere and everything about how you've tackled the trees. I agree with some other comments that the footprints seem a little small and far away from the characters that are looking at them. Also from us. I wonder if they could curve around closer to the characters and then come towards the viewer so we have some bigger ones in the space at the bottom of the image. I also think you could maybe make the bear darker - just now you have a white snowman body on top of a white bear on top of a pale background. I think adding the creator of the footprints more prominently in this version was a good move because from the first sketch I thought maybe the things growing were acorns planted by the squirrels in the front right tree.

    More generally, I love your drawing style and really like the initial sketch where there is a lot going on. When looking at the contest entries I tend to think of them as a spread part-way through a picture book so I'm not expecting to have complete information about who all the characters are and their backstory, etc. As long as the central message of the prompt clearly comes across and the other stuff is more of a second read then I think the extra bits make the image more engaging and memorable. Like the super cute little penguins messing about with the snow. I didn't notice them at first because they didn't detract from the main focus but then I saw them and it kept me looking at the image longer, wondering about the relationship between all the characters and what they were doing before they spotted these footprints.



  • @peteolczyk I really hope you do finish this piece for the contest. Would love to see this entry. But I totally understand if time is an issue. Looking forward to see this piece moving forward 🙂



  • @peteolczyk I adore the render on this and its a massive improvement to the one before. Everything from the textures to the expressions and the bright lines is awesome. Good luck with this one!



  • @neschof ooo thank you Nicola you’ve made some really good points there. Thank you so much for your help and point of view.



  • @Rachel-Horne thank you Rachel for your help. I agree about the distance with the flowers too, I can see it now you’ve pointed it out. Also I can see your point about the intimacy of the scene on the first one. I regret not spending a lot more time on alternative sketches now. Thanks again



  • @xin-li thank you for the encouragement I’ll try my best 🙂



  • @Nathalie-Kranich thank you, it’s a bit of an experiment with textures and line so I’m not sure if it’s all tying in. I might be trying to do too much at once.



  • @peteolczyk Well I don't know about you but sometimes when you've really gotten into a piece I find it hard to go back and start from scratch...that's something I struggle with a lot. It's a lovely image.


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