January W.I.P. - First Timer Here

  • "The tracks in the snow were unlike anything Will had ever seen before."

    With the turn of the year, I figured I would stop being a ghost on the SVS forum and start participating in the community. I'll probably get around to an introduction post after I get my feet wet with this thread. Quite pleased to finally pluck up the courage to join you all.

    Jumping right in I was brain storming ideas and sketched up a few thumbnails. I personally have a affinity for F² and G.


    F² seems like it would have plenty of objects effected by snowfall, setting the scene up for better understanding of the tracks. G however establishes a main focus on the tracks, with Will pushed way into the background.

    I saw that @peteolczyk had a similar idea, with grass/plant life popping up from the tracks. Looking forward to seeing your progress with this idea as well.

    Any feedback, opinions, criticism would be greatly appreciated.

  • I am a first time user as well, and I am also participating in this challenge. So far I can say very good start I actually forgot to try this instead. I should have done the thumb nail process first. So far keep up the good work. your process looks amazing and it's very clear to read!

  • @lamecody looking good. It’s cold where I live and everyone’s looking forward to spring at this time of year. So they’re also a bit like tracks of wishful thinking or hope (or something corny like that.) But I’m not actually sure if I’ll finish on time, I’ve got a few jobs that might get in the way.
    Looking forward to see what you do with it too , you’ve got some great ideas👍🙂

  • @lamecody g is my favourite. I would maybe have the characters that inspiring the for prints a little closer

  • @lamecody nice thumbnails! I too like F2

  • SVS OG

    I like these! Are they all flower footprints?

    Something about F2 appeals to me as well. You can see a lot of things and the distance from the viewer is nice. My only question is why he is going slowly enough to see the prints. One misses a lot of things from the car. But if you can convey that part of it, go for it!

    I kind of like A as well, though there's a lot of blank wall space. I might move Will up a tad and make that a bodega on the corner. But it gives the idea that he might turn the corner and find the cause for the prints walking down the street. Also, the contrast of flowers with city would be nice.

    And G is nice, but totally different. It reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes somehow.

  • @lamecody 8 thumbnails just like that! i wish I had this habbit... It looks really cool and fun. I like F2 🙂

  • Hi all, back with a little update. Thanks @Meg-Clayburn-0 @Jeremy-Ross @LauraA @aska for chiming in right away and providing some feedback.

    I wound up perusing what you see below (option A with a twist), but have hit a few hurdles. With a fair of work still to accomplish in the next two days, I felt like reaching out for feedback on some aspects of this illustration that is bothering me.

    Are my values all over the place?

    Is there to much "dead" space on the left of the illustration (oops! characters in the middle)?

    Is a night setting in a snowy city just the worst lighting idea to casually draw yourself into?

    SVS January Contest - Process .jpg

  • SVS OG

    Wait, he's a giant? The lamppost makes me think he's a giant, but the rest of the size cues are more ambiguous. Also, check your perspective on the footprints, and you will need a different value in the background, as having it the same as the foreground is flattening out the scene.

    Sorry, I know I'm throwing a wrench in things! This is your piece and you need to follow your gut. And I may sound blunt because I don't have much time this morning. But if you're saying you've hit a few hurdles, the best thing I can do is give you my impressions, which (caveat!) may be different from someone else's. What I liked about the thumbnail was that having the guy come across these footprints going around the corner created a sense of mystery. Now he's coming from the other direction, and he should already know what's making them.

    If it were me with two days to finish, I think I would:

    1. Clarify the story, which may mean moving the guy and reworking your size cues. Right now everything else is sort of trumping the footprints. Instead, everything should follow from the story.

    2. Use the values to clarify the story, because it's the simplest means of having the most impact. Especially, use your values to clarify the space. This may be affected by number 3:

    3. Lighting and color: I didn't realize it was supposed to be night. But if you want night, get some good reference and that should help you work faster in the time you have. Usually snow in the city at night has a bit of an orange cast, because of the street lights, but basically it will become a reflection of whatever color there is (signage). You should show the direction of the lighting, use shadows to build mystery. If you have the guy's face in the light, it's going to be uplit. If the light is coming from behind, he will be in silhouette, etc. Do some quick overlays in Photoshop and see what effect you want, but use the lighting as a storytelling tool.

    4. Get some reference for the streetlight as well. Usually outdoor lights have some metal on top to protect them.

    5. As for the wall, when I saw him coming up on it in the thumbnail and thought it was daytime, I thought the wall was too blank and that on a normal street corner there should be a shop. But now, at night, I can also see a case for making it a dark and mysterious alleyway. But only if it doesn't confuse your story. Mainly, that wall needs to add to the atmosphere of the whole.

    Just think of your story and make everything else work towards that. Hope my suggestions were clarifying and didn't create more confusion. But right now I have to go work out some of my own storytelling problems as I have to finish today. Good luck!!!

  • @LauraA Thank you so much for the feedback. I feel like I really lost the prompt after the early sketching stages. The since of mystery in the initial thumbnail vanished, and with it all since of story.

    After reviewing the 10 step digital painted class I see that I really didn’t settle on a solid sketch before getting into the weeds of tone, light, and color.

    Failure is progress and I learned a lot from this one. My largest take away is to trust the thumbnail, and really use it as my guide to lock down a sketch. I have high hopes for my attempt in February, with more time spent in the sketching process earlier in the month.

    I think I will just look at the list you provided from the start next time.

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