WIP Feedback - Pirates and Mermaids



  • Hey everyone! I am working on a new piece for my portfolio, and I was hoping for some feedback before I start rendering! I am wondering:

    • What story do you think this image is trying to convey?
    • Is this image too busy?
    • Does this look like a children's illustration?

    Here's the sketch:

    Pirates and Mermaids - WIP3.jpg

    Value Thumbnail:

    Pirates and Mermaids - WIP1.jpg

    Thank you so much!



  • Hi Bailey! I think your composition on this piece is nice, I really enjoy the way the characters are framed by the nature elements around them. I think one thing that jumps out to me is that the characters have so much small detail to them, which make them feel a little out of place when compared to the environment. This is very common, and is usually a result of zooming in a lot when doing digital pieces.

    My advice is to simplify the characters a little bit and include larger shapes to fit the environment. I think if you do the opposite and make the background more detailed to match them then the piece will become too busy. Really focus in on making interesting shapes! The cloud in the background is so fun and cheerful, and I’d like to see the characters match that.

    Overall I love the story here! The pirates and mermaids getting along really suggests to me that two different worlds can find similarities and form friendships. It’s interesting because they’re often in stories together, but usually as enemies of some sort. Usually mermaids are seen as very feminine and pirates as very masculine, so I like to see that they can be combined and encourage the idea that they can get along.



  • @Kali Thanks for your thorough feedback! Your diagnosis of zooming in a lot digitally is TOTALLY applicable here! I will simplify a bit, and try not to zoom in so far this time. Thanks so much!



  • Hey what a fun piece! It looks like the pirates and mermaids are hanging out and having fun. It also looks like there might be some romance going on.

    My critique would be that you lost some of the lovely gesture you had going on in your sketch. The way the trees hung down, and the indications of curling tails- those elements really gave the piece a nice flow, and you final has stiffened up quite a bit. One other thing is that I'd make the pirate who's laying down with the parrot just a little smaller. He seems quite big for where he's placed in the scene.

    Great job! I hope you share the final.



  • @Kali @TessaW Thank you both, again, for your feedback! Here's where I'm at now:

    Pirates and Mermaids - WIP4.jpg

    I think it maybe could have benefited from even more simplification, and I will keep that mind earlier in the sketch process of my next piece! 🙂


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