Request for Critiques

  • Do you think these three images might work in a portfolio? Each of my monthly contest entries have been planned as part of a series of images to put in my portfolio, but they haven't been successful in the contest, so I haven't been as motivated to rework them. As I rework my March entry waiting to hear what needs to be improved in the critique arena video, I was hoping someone might weigh in on whether it would work ok in a series of images called something like "Growing up in the New York Public Library" with no further explanation.
    I caught most of the critique live, but was interrupted so much that I may as well have waited. One thing that did not communicate was the setting of the 1920s. I also had not finished the radio when I turned it in, and people commented that it looked like an oven. The setting and building would definitely be established in a picture book - these are the kids that lived and grew up in the New York Public Library after it was built. Their father was the superintendent, so it's meant to bring out the fun possibilities in a story that is based in history. The siblings would get caught playing baseball in the reading room using books as bases, but i changed it to everyone dancing the Charleston for the contest. The lion statues on the front steps are named Patience and Fortitude. I got some really good feedback about my piece before I entered it into the contest, but this is my reason for including so much of the room in my entry - the NYPL is such an enormous place to live it's meant to be almost a character.

    I don't know what works and what doesn't, so any help would be appreciated. I usually think in terms of a series of images, and although that won't be winning me any contests, I really need to understand what I might work for getting a portfolio started.


    The children were told ghosts haunted the reading rooms so that they would stay out of them, and in the first images she is wandering around at night and sees the ghosts high in Astor Hall.


    Dance party in the Rose Reading Room.


    The girl wanders outside and ends up asleep between the Fortitude the lion's front paws.

    Reference photos:
    Astor Hall:
    Rose Reading Room:
    Twin Lions:

  • Just looking at what I posted, I think I will turn the ghost one into a spot illustration to balance out the other two spreads.

  • @carolinedrawing I loved your entry in the contest for the drawings of the children and the old fashioned look. I was glad to see it mentioned. I was a bit confused about where they were and what exactly was going on but I assumed it was a frolicking dance of some type.

    I encourage you to keep up with this line of images. The NYPL is so iconic that it would resonate with people who have been there as well as those who have not. The image including ghosts might need some explaining, but if you are working it into a picture book I would assume explaining would take place. I adore the child asleep lion paws. She is so sweet with that finger in her mouth and so little compared to the lion. Love it a lot.

    You may be trying to tell too much story in one piece. I find myself doing that at times. If a piece is for a contest or for my portfolio I cannot help but dream up a whole story to go with what is going on in the illustration. Thatโ€™s good, but then sometimes I get stuck thinking that I need to tell every piece of the story in one image. If I was making the image as a part of a whole (such as a book or series of images) I could just tell the pertinent parts. Does that make sense?

    I would not worry too much about not doing better in the contest. To be mentioned is a pretty big thing, and yours was. I take an honorable mention and any piece of criticism as a win.

    Keep up your work. I, for one, really want to see more.

  • @carolinedrawing Your March piece had definitely caught my attention because of how different it was! I really liked the concept and rendering but yeah I can imagine how it would be to try and fit your portfolio story line into the monthly contests. Like Jenny said, try and focus on one main story telling aspect per illustration.
    It's definitely a win to get feedback from the mentors so keep going! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Now that I see the whole story in context, I really love it and am looking forward to see it develop more!

  • @JennyJones & @Neha-Rawat thanks!

    I will try to finish these as part of a new habit of always finishing what I start. I thought I was doing better with that, but if I always grow the problem, how can I expect to have a chance at changing my habits? The way I am attempting to change the way I work for the April contest is to give myself a deadline of April 20. Hopefully this means that I will have to shrink the problem into something manageable, and then I can go back to working on these since portfolios do require finished pieces ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

Log in to reply