Feb contest WIP: Rene the mouse - feedback requested :-)

  • @neschof @Melanie-Ortins thank you for the feedback. The "moon made of cheese" is more of a comment on how the Rene mouse percieve the world. I once heard a story about Edward Munch really believe the size of the moon is like a dinner plate, because that is how he percieved it.

    I want to make the real window be not super obvious, but the 2rd read in this image, like a lot of surrealists paintings have this effet on me. I hope I can pull off this somehow ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will take the advice I read in another WIP thread: @carlianne mentioned about choose to improve what you are worst. I guess character design is my biggest challenge at this moment. I will focus on experiment with the Rene mouse character fo this piece.

  • @xin-li I'm sure you'll do great! This is already really a fun piece. When you said surrealist pieces I thought off Dali's melting clock, so melting cheese could be funny. You could also do other iconic paintings, like Andy Warhols soup cans or other pop art pieces. Or a piece of cheese on a lily pad? LOL

  • @xin-li I am excited to see this. I hope you didn't think I was being critical of your POV. It's a lovely piece and I love your inspiration for it.

  • @carlianne thank you. I love Warhols soup cans, might incorporate that. I laughed out loud when reading "a piece of cheese on a lily pad".

  • @chrisaakins I love getting critics. They made me think, and they gave me possibilities to tackle a piece from different angles. This is why I love SVS community so much.

  • work continued... I am a bit behind for this month's contest, still trying to make it to the deadline ๐Ÿ™‚ Here is a more refined sketch, and a color study.

    • Can you spot the window (as the second read)?
    • Is the background still too distracting?


  • I don't find the background too distracting but if you want the window to be more of a second read, I would push it back a bit more. Right now, it's the area with the most contrast and the area that the mouse is looking so it starts to become a focal point. Maybe vignette everything around your character or make the lines on him thicker to help him stand out. It's looking super cute by the way! Love the colours

  • @xin-li I don't think the background is distracting at all but rather adds to the story. I like the vignette idea. Maybe a light shining on him from an overhead lamp and place him in a lightened cone and the other colors recede a little?

  • So I think this is super cute and fun! I think the color feels warm and cozy which fits with your theme.

    Hopefully you don't mind, and I didn't get all your details in, so this is more monochrome than I think you should go. But I did a quick color pass because I was wondering if there was too many colors in the shadows and if you tint it back with more blue that will help it feel a little more harmonious and let the cheese pop? Also the green for me wasn't feeling as harmonious, especially with the green in the foreground plant as it is creating a lot of contrast with the mouse's ear.


    feel free to ignore it though and do what feels right to you!

  • @carlianne thank you so much. Your paint-over is so much more harmonious than my original color study. I will definitely incorporate that in my final painting.

  • @Melanie-Ortins thank you so much for the feedback. I will play around with the vignette idea or find other ways to pop the main character a bit more ๐Ÿ™‚

    @chrisaakinsI like the lightened cone idea. I will see if I can pull it through.

  • I am trying to fight my tendency of making the anthropomorphic character looks like a human wearing an animal mask rather than an animal wearing human cloth.

    It is a lot of detail left, I spent a lot of time tweaking the value and color. Things always take a bit more time, and I hope I can still make the deadline this month.

    Feedback are always welcome ๐Ÿ™‚
    2020_Reneฬ_Mouse01 4.jpg

  • @xin-li this is so cute!

  • @Coley thank you. I really enjoyed doing this piece. I always have a strange relation to that joke about the moon is made of cheese. ๐Ÿ™‚ Finally, it made into my illustration.

  • I like how it's improving. On character design - The narrow shoulders are correct for a not-too-human , anthropomorphized character. Because they lack a collar bone, most 4 legged animals are pear shaped. Your mouse has the narrow top/wide bottom shape. If he starts leaning too human, you might increase the pear shape of his torso.

    I think the hair and glasses ads to his character. Other accessories like a pencil behind his ear would also ad to character. Two other things that might ad are his state of mind and his choice of media. How long has he been sitting here? Is he tired? Is his back getting stiff? Could replacing what looks like a computer with a canvas and colorful paints, that may or may not be dribbled or spilled on the desk or floor, ad to his character as a mouse so hard at work that he doesn't notice the mess building up around him? Or a mouse that doesn't care about some paint drips?

    With the picture scrolled up, I now see the outline of paint tubes on the floor. I think paint would give you a nice way to ad specs of color to the work. I really like your other work and look forward to seeing the finished piece. Cheers!

  • @xin-li hahaha! I just noticed your moon looks like cheese. So clever!!! I think it looks great. So maybe DON'T finish this one in time and give us a chance! (Totally kidding!)

  • @Kim-Hunter thank you so much for the feedback. It is so interesting to hear the comments on the story side of the illustration. Your questions get me thinking :-).

    With SVS monthly challenge, most of the time, I do not have a very clear story in mind. I started with a single aspect of the story which intrigues me, then I draw things out to explore the rest of the story. In this case, it was "the moon made of cheese". Then I thought maybe there is an illustrator mouse imagining the moon is the cheese. For some reason, Rene's paintings just got mixed in.
    I first thought I would do Cintiq for the mouse (as many of the illustrators today will do). Then I thought maybe drawing board is more fun to draw because art supplies are fun to draw.

  • @chrisaakins hehe. Thank you for the compliment. I am flatted.

  • I am almost there. My brain hurts. Taking a break before finishing it up. I did not expect that painting background to be so challenging. I struggled so much with getting the value just right. I want the paintings to be readable, but not distracting. The balance was so hard.

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