MAY WIP: critique appreciated for Akins


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    I'm partial to the Rapunzel idea in E, simply because I think that's an example of a type of isolation very very young kids can empathize with. But that's a connection with the story, not the thumbnail itself.

    In regards to interesting compositions, I wonder if the camera angles in most of your thumbs (H and L specifically because they stand out to me) could create an even stronger sense of visual isolation if they were tweaked slightly more askew. Maybe to the right or left instead of the relative security and balance of the almost straight-on perspective that they're in currently.

    It seems like some of the thumbs embrace isolation as a positive, others have a more negative take. I struggled with that myself--what exactly do I feel about it and want to say about it? I wonder if you can pin that down, you might be attracted to a specific visual storytelling opportunity over the others... Just a thought. 🙂



  • I like the concept of B, isolation by tech. I would digg that idea and do a couple of more thumbnails with different compostions, and adding value studies on the thumbnail.

    I also like J, very much of the current situation for many of the people in the world right now.



  • @chrisaakins I think d looks interesting!! best advice I would say is pick one and just go for it 🙂



  • I like J, maybe even do a montage of kids looking out windows



  • I'd love to see some iteration on the technology idea. The thumbnail doesn't feel like a strong composition, but shifting the camera around could yield some really interesting images, I think.

    Rapunzel is a great isolation concept as well.

    The one of these thumbnails that felt strongest to me was H. It has a nice lighting focus and a positive theme of being absorbed in something worthwhile, while all around you is chaos and frivolity.



  • I am doing the isolated by technology. Here is my drawing so far. Not sure what technique will work best with this. I am thinking a mixed media approach. How’s the anatomy and perspective so far?
    EEC153CB-E9C8-4FFD-8A8A-46D6CF6EA6B5.jpeg



  • @chrisaakins I love this one. I’m glad you chose it. And I love the different positions that the characters are in - so realistic. I’m still a beginner, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but the table looks a tad off to me. Also, the upper body and head of the boy in the foreground on the couch looks like it could use a little more attention. Other than that though, I think you’re off to a great start!



  • Great drawing! I think your concept is really strong

    The perspective feels really pinched/distorted/zoomed in.
    Is there a reason for a portrait orientation? Most of the information you've drawn is able to fit in a landscape composition. cropping the top and bottom would also relieve the distortion in the lower part of the tabletop.

    Can I also suggest using photo reference for the furniture? (or whip something up in SketchUp) Their placement in the room feels weird. I think photos of people (you could ask a friend to pose for you) would help the figures a lot, too.



  • @William-Meany Hmm. I thought the figures looked good. My kids sit like this all the time. I also used multiple photo references. Is there something I am missing? What looks wonky about them? Can you be more specific? I chose portrait because after input from the forums most chose a portrait view. I can always crop it too. I may add text later, too. I did fix the table after I posted this pic.



  • @William-Meany I asked my wife and she thought the closer figure looked like he wasn't on the couch. I slid him back. He looks better. I keep playing around with the table and I think it's working now???



  • Here are my values and lines. I am going to lighten some other areas with a layer to get brighter highlights. I think I am going to keep the pencil.52396E54-F962-46BF-A08D-C997FA6BD641.jpeg



  • Workin’ on painting it...FE047A82-4FF0-4296-877D-0F33923ADF3B.jpeg



  • Screen Shot 2020-05-14 at 10.43.00 AM.png

    I think what was bugging me is the implied negative space between the left character's spine and the back of the couch.

    There's also some inconsistencies with scale, I think. I think it's the main issue right now. Judging by your couch (usually 3' at the back), you've placed the "camera" at 4' off the ground. Doorknobs are also usually this height, but you've got one lower than that right next to the couch. The desk in the background is about 18" off the ground, half the height of most desks. I don't shop for furniture very often, so you'd have to tell me if coffee tables are usually 9" tall and 12" wide.

    a, b, and c are head sizes, which seem to vary a lot. Kids of different ages make it hard to judge, though.

    I think I misread the couch in your drawing; so ignore that draw-over. However, it seems super shallow to me.

    Window panes should follow the perspective lines, too, and I'd expect a gap between the seat's edge and the shorts of the child sitting. Make sure the legs of the chair fit the perspective, too.

    Observation: All the characters' heads are equally spaced.

    I hope this wasn't too messy or confusing. Let me know if I can make anything more clear.



  • @William-Meany wow. That is a lot of input. Did you do this before or after my latest updates? I know the perspective is still a little wonky but at this point I am going to have to go for believable rather than for perfect. I should have started with a horizon line and gone from there. Oh well. I did add a cushion to fix the negative space behind his back.
    As far as head size, I was picturing various ages and body types. A big football player type for the oldest. A gangly 15 year old for the other kid on the couch and two skinny 11-12 year olds for the other two. I teach public school and see all kinds of kids. I feel like they look right, but I am probably biased.
    I checked out your witch picture and it did inspire me to throw in some details that I would have not put in otherwise.
    Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed critique.



  • @chrisaakins This was based on the toned drawing. Your perspective lines up really well for the couch and table; the horizon is a little above the border right now, which is fine. The scale kinda went weird in the background. Anyway, thanks! I hope it was helpful



  • @William-Meany haha no worries. Thanks for taking the time to care. I will pay much more attention to scale in the future.
    Here is the final I think. If you see something unforgivable let me know. I would also like some affirmation. I think this is definitely approaching the style I could see me doing. Something similar to Pascal Campion combined with Rivulet paper combined with Steven Kellogg. 2C1D1333-8292-4484-B1A9-BB6806231A5A.jpeg



  • @William-Meany I couldn’t unsee the scale issue. I resized the little brother. I think it reads much better. I also added some filters with the lighting.
    6DF0D877-C1A3-41DA-9079-ABD22180DB64.jpeg



  • One last edit before I let it marinate. The lighting was too hot on the soccer ball and his shirt.
    96DF76C4-6616-44FF-84C0-28F5EF806FA1.jpeg



  • I think you are really onto something with the style, and I am liking your color choices! I think your characters are appealing here as well. A good balance between realism/stylization.

    I would say for future pieces, beware of tangents. End of the couch, corner of the coffee table, foot of the boy with the soccer ball are all uncomfortably touching the edges of the format. I kind of also looks like you are purposely avoiding showing the feet. I think it would have been less distracting if you showed at least one foot from one of the big bros. Maybe a foot propped up on the coffee table or something. This also might be a nitpicky thing- but are welcome mats ever put on the inside of the doorway? I know a matt might be put there, but one that says "welcome" I only really see on the outside of a door. It could be something that varies by region. It was a little distracting, so I thought I'd point it out.

    Anyway, really like the concept and overall execution! I'm interested to see your evolution in terms of style. It's looking good.



  • @TessaW thanks so much!!! I always appreciate your thoughtful critiques. I am glad you like this style. I get insecure about it. It's not very similar to anyone else's in the forum.
    I will fix the mat. Its a fair point. As far as feet...I didn't even think about it. I actually drew the whole foot for the side slouched and his brother just happened to be in front of him. Its a point to think about.
    Tangents: ahhhh!! I kept running into them. I literally placed the doorknob higher than I should have to avoid it hitting his head. Most of them would have been solved had I gone with my gut and went full on landscape.


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