I would love to get some critique!

  • Hello!

    My patrons filled in this Mad Lib as a prompt for me to illustrate:
    The reclusive alchemist, with his trusty paintbrush, who wants to save the world

    This is what I came up with:
    Jan Patreon.jpg

    I'm not quite happy with it, and I don't know why. I've been doing portrait paintings and character designs, but I have less experience with illustrations and multiple characters together.

    Things I'm worried about:
    Does it look too busy?
    Does the line-less background clash with the line-art of the characters?
    Do the colors work well together?
    Does the anatomy kinda sorta make sense?
    Does the composition look okay?

    It kinda looks boring to me. I think maybe I don't like this "floaty" style with the flat background and floor cut out.
    I would love some tough love. XD I'm in the middle of several projects, so I don't think I'd have time to go back and rework this one, but I would love to learn from it as I move forward.

    Hope that's okay!

  • Hi Daisy! Overall I think it's a really beautiful image. Business, colors, anatomy and composition seem okay to me. It's beautifully drawn and painted. I am okay with the lineless background and the boy, for some reason the fox feels a little different though, maybe it's the lines for his fur texture?

    Maybe if the bottom is all ground, or he is on a floating rock it would feel less weird? I think it's just weird that it looks like sky, and then it's just a color blocked background. You could also try a different color in the bg

    In regards to "boring" the characters are all in fairly static poses, especially the fox and the boy who are your main characters. I think you actually got the most gesture in the bird, and the bunny ears.

    Also if you're trying to do a story it's a little unclear. He looks worried about the "world" ball but I don't know why? How is this paintbrush going to help him? Also the objects all feel "fantastical" but the boy and the animals, and kinda the plants look normal, so maybe you could make those more cohesive, Or they're normal and in a fantasy setting, so make the bg even more weird, like flowers we've never seen before instead of just extra large.

    In other words, the feeling of "boring" might be from the lack of an emotional connection or story. If you had something about to happen, or something that just happened or is currently happening it would give this more interest 🙂

  • @carlianne thanks so much for the feedback! I work in an isolated setting, so hearing critique from fellow artists really helps me grow 😃

    I think you're right about the sky color and ground. I was using this style during inktober and I think it worked better for my black and white illustrations than with this colored one. I'll try doing a proper sky and full ground next time. Also, I see what you mean about the fox feeling out of place. I was playing with textures and I might have given him too much.

    Hmm... yes, now that you mention it, I think I tend to draw my characters in boring poses. It's just that I didn't want an action pose for this character, but I do want the nuance of a relaxed pose with a soft expression. I think I'm still drawing my characters too stiff.

    Oh sorry, this isn't a story per say. It just a monthly postcard I send out. Since my patrons created the mad lib, it is rather sillly and nonsensical. There won't be a continuation of it, I just tried to use all the elements of the prompt. Also, those large plants in the bg are real! We went hiking and came across a field of them! They were like 7 or 8 feet tall. It felt so magical.

    Yeah, I want to have more of a connection with my viewers. Since I do stand alone illustrations (I'm not doing a comic or story) I have a hard time with it. I hope I figure out how to do it better.

    Thanks again for the feedback! It really helps ❤

  • @Daisy said in I would love to get some critique!:

    ents of the prompt. Also, those large plants in the bg are real! We went hiking and came across a field of them! They were like 7 or 8 feet tall. It felt so magical.
    Yeah, I want to have more of a connection with my viewers. Since I do stand alone illustrations (I'm not doing a comic or story) I have a hard time with it. I hope I figure out how to do it better.

    You're so welcome! And that's so cool that those plants are real!! To be totally honest I also draw my characters is static poses and have been working on that too lololol

    And it's okay! I wasn't thinking like, a full story, but just within the image? For example, if the world had a crack on it, then we would get there was a problem with it. Or if the bunny and fox were also looking at the world, or doing something with the dripping paint? Just something to make it look like there is an interaction or emotion rather than just a portrait. But if you're going for just a portrait I think it's pretty!

  • @carlianne Oh I see! Yeah I think that would have totally worked better, with the animals interacting more. I'm not used to drawing more than one character lol. Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. 😃

  • What a fun patreon reward. This is really lovely! The only critique I'd have for it would be that the elements could be tweaked a little for better flow and balance. Currently it feels sort of split down the middle, with the boy on one side and the bunny, backpack, and fox on the other. The bunny, backpack, and fox create a strong, straight visual line and they both appear to be looking to the right of the comp. This kind of stops the flow of the eye throughout the whole piece. Some solutions might be to shift the gaze or head direction of one of the animals, or perhaps shift the boy over and have the fox on the other side of him. I'm sure there's a variety of tweaks that could be made to help it flow a little more naturally.

    Great job overall!

  • Pro

    @Daisy That's a lovely picture! I think skill-wise, you're absolutely there. But you are lacking storytelling skills (at least in this illustration). While beautiful, the illustration is static, and it's hard to really tell anything about the characters, world, or context. Now that you have polished your drawing skills this much, it might be time to start thinking about what you want to say with your illustrations. Can you draw beautiful pictures? Absolutely you can already. Storytelling is what is going to be the the difference between a pretty picture and an interesting one. Something that sticks in the minds of people, communicates something. It would be a shame for you to stop at making illustrations that people think "pretty cute" and then scroll right past it. You have the skills and potential to do more 🙂 There are several storytelling classes at SVS and I'd suggest you check them out!

  • @TessaW yes I agree! As @carlianne also pointed out, the characters aren't really interacting with each other. I think I should have made the bunny and fox also looking at the globe or the boy. I'll definitely keep this in mind! Thanks!

  • @NessIllustration Thanks! Yes I feel like I lack a connection with the viewer. I'm just starting to explore story telling and I'm not very good at it yet. I've already have a class lined up for this year, so I'm not sure I'll be taking another one. I've stayed away from SVS's classes because they do feel very geared toward children's books illustrations and I don't feel like that is the direction I'd like to go. But I think I should at least look at what they have to offer lol. Thanks again!

  • Pro

    @Daisy They are more geared towards children illustration yes, but one thing that children illustration excels at is storytelling. I mean SVS stands for the "Society of visual storytelling". There's probably no better place to learn it. It's absolutely possible to apply the knowledge to other styles of illustration than kidlit.

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