Critique/suggestions: too loose? Not loose enough? Just right?



  • I've been told that the more appealing pieces of my work are the ones where I'm more playful. Less 'uptight' I suppose. I also heard that super high key works if you have a more graphic style (Hey, I have a graphic style!)

    So I tried instead of solid and very deliberate linework all around, doing more of a sketch for the environment and doing more detail with the foreground layers. Letting the linework do more work if you get what I mean.

    I have a couple of questions if you guys have the time ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Does the lineart and loose colour in the environment/background work?

    -Does the texture/ brushwork look super digital? As in 'hey that just looks like a texture overlay you lazy person'.

    Thanks in advance. I kinda like it. I'm thinkin' of indulgin' in even more lines (super sketchy!)

    alt text


  • Moderator

    @Braden-Hallett
    Does the lineart and loose colour in the environment/background work?
    OMG! Yes! I really like that.

    -Does the texture/ brushwork look super digital?
    Nope. Didnโ€™t even notice, thatโ€™s good thing. Doesnโ€™t detract from anything. ๐Ÿ‘



  • @Braden-Hallett it really works for me Braden. Your sketchier lines are looking awesome. I also think your colours are consistently great too with your enhanced style.
    I didnโ€™t Actually know you were using a sketchy overlay


  • Pro

    @Braden-Hallett This really works! Honestly the background "sketch" still looks pretty clean, by most people's sketch standards haha! But it's a lovely style and does make your characters stand out more. This is a winner!



  • I think this styling works really well! It's very attractive and a style I would beeline for when choosing books for my own kids.

    In my opinion, pencil textures and brushwork looks too digital when it's either too blurry or too sharp. There's a fine balance you have to hit. I think that overall your texture is working really well, but for my taste the foreground elements are a step away from being a little blurry- so I'd just watch out for that.

    Great job Braden!



  • It looks great to me. I think the background and characters now look more separate, so there's more depth.



  • @Braden-Hallett, looks great to me! Your work is stellar!


  • SVS OG

    I really like it and I would say that it has more of a children's book look to it while your regular style has more of a graphic novel (a la Bones) look to it.



  • I just love this! The only thing that bothers me a little bit is the perspective of the top cupboards. I feel kind of like they're falling forward. Otherwise, the style and color are really nice!


  • SVS OG

    @Braden-Hallett I agree with @demotlj and share @Jeremy-Ross 's sentiment ๐Ÿ™‚


  • SVS OG

    @Braden-Hallett i love it! For me it works perfectly.



  • @Braden-Hallett I love how you treat the background and foreground. I think Miyazaki's movies have a similar approach: more painterly environment and background, only use linework for emphasis - mostly just in the characters.

    I think your texture is working pretty well. It does not look super digital at all. You can always experiment more on this, based on the story you are creating, for example giving the dog fury texture.

    It is a super cool style for children's books.


  • SVS OG

    I don't think it looks too sketchy at all! In fact, I like it even better than your usual work--but that's just a matter of my taste, not your ability. It looks to me like it could either be digital or a controlled kind of watercolor and pencil. I might define (only) the scissors a tiny bit more as they are in the foreground--maybe just an occlusion shadow and a minimum of dimension to the blades.

    You didn't ask this, but the question came to mind: My favorite thing about this piece is the dog (the dragon is a close second but it's made secondary by the high-key value). I love how flat he is against the ground, how totally old, zonked out and indifferent he looks (like he's seen this game a million times), and my eye goes right to him because of his size and value. But the rest of the story seems to be about a child who is building a knight-fighting-dragon scenario out of cardboard boxes. Does the dog play an integral part in this part of the story? If not, as much as I love him, he may be a distraction. And what is the child doing with that cushion? Probably the rest of the story explains it all, but this is just what comes to mind looking at this one image.

    But as for the sketchiness, go for it! It's great! ๐Ÿ˜



  • Thanks everyone for weighing in! This is definitely something I'll play with from here on out ๐Ÿ™‚



  • @peteolczyk said in Critique/suggestions: too loose? Not loose enough? Just right?:

    I didnโ€™t Actually know you were using a sketchy overlay

    It's more the actual paper grain on the overlay than anything else ๐Ÿ™‚

    @NessIllustration said in Critique/suggestions: too loose? Not loose enough? Just right?:

    still looks pretty clean, by most people's sketch standards haha!

    Must... be... Sketchier! lol. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    @TessaW said in Critique/suggestions: too loose? Not loose enough? Just right?:

    I think that overall your texture is working really well, but for my taste the foreground elements are a step away from being a little blurry- so I'd just watch out for that.

    Interesting! I'll keep an eye on that

    @LauraA said in Critique/suggestions: too loose? Not loose enough? Just right?:

    My favorite thing about this piece is the dog

    Drawing Fat old hounds is the reason for art to exist.



  • @Braden-Hallett I like the idea of having the linework soften in the background. It really brings out the focal point of the piece.

    I really "see" the hound because of the solid linework on him. I am wondering about the kid though. The lines are not as strong on him/her and I wonder if that is pushing them back? It almost feels like the dog is closer to the viewer.

    You might want to think about your "rules" for line work to emphasize focal points and portray depth.

    I do love where you are going with this style.



  • @Braden-Hallett I think it is a lovely sharp style. Don't change a thing! โค๏ธ



  • @Braden-Hallett said in Critique/suggestions: too loose? Not loose enough? Just right?:

    -Does the lineart and loose colour in the environment/background work?
    This work is still very much you. If you wanted to be looser I'd like to see you push that more to experiment and if you go to far you use some restrain and find what works for you. I don't understand loose colour (I'd need examples). Like watercolour bleeds and wet on wet is what strikes to mind when you say loose colour. I do like that the background has been lightened (but that's a value thing).

    -Does the texture/ brushwork look super digital? As in 'hey that just looks like a texture overlay you lazy person'.
    First off lazy... you are not, let's make that CLEAR! lols. In my opinion its doesn't look super digital but I do recognise it as a digital piece (take what you will from that). Perhaps if you did / or showed a traditional made version I could better compare, because I recon I have only seen your digital. I know you don't "overlay (you lazy person)" however I do find your textures uniformed sometimes (repeated) (I can see how some would say uptight/ was that the word...).

    Your content is certainly playful! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I hope something of that was helpful,



  • @Braden-Hallett I think it REALLY looks great and creates a huge idea of space and the characters in their setting.



  • @Braden-Hallett I am just dittoing everything everyone else says- but had to pipe in because- this is amazing. I love that you aren't resting on one thing and keep pushing forward. I would 100% pick up a book with this art from the library for my kids. I don't think it looks too digital at all. I can't wait to see what else you do.


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