Peer To Peer Feedback on April Piece?

  • Hi everyone,

    I was feeling very confident with my April piece; however, it didn’t make the cut. My wife said the colors are too bright compared to the sweet 16 pick.

    Just wondering if anyone is willing to poke holes in my piece and let me know areas I could improve upon.

    I added different race of kids to give it some variety for portfolio.

    Thank you in advance!

    Ps. Was very happy to participate and vote for the winners! Great job to everyone!


  • Is this meant to be part of a children's book portfolio? If so, would you be interested in me doing a draw-over after I show my daughter? I would do a draw over and post it here for both your entry and mine. I wasn't confident in my entry, unfortunately, but I need to find a way to improve so I will be doing a draw over of what I think I should do with the artwork and let everyone chime in if they can see that's not a good direction.

    edited to add: I need to do something differently, I don't feel I'm getting anywhere 😞

    edited again to add: I need deadlines, so I can post both by tomorrow. I won't post it if that's not the kind of feedback you're looking for.

  • Pro

    @Jeremy-Ross I feel like the composition is cramped. The characters are quite big and take a lot of space. Things like the bunny getting his silhouette all mixed up with the background girl silhouette aren't ideal. The characters are also so close to borders of the image. There are a lot of kids - I'm not sure all 3 in the background are strictly necessary. The text is really cramped too, even your name (I notice you've signed this twice, not sure why?). I think I would zoom out, remove of of the background children and just give everything more breathing room.

  • Hi @carolinebautista, I’m certainly open to a draw over! Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

  • Thank you @NessIllustration! Great feedback, I will definitely work on creating more space and to allow some breathing room! Thank you for taking the time to critique!

  • I think your wife may have a point. It's good to have some muted colors and then leave more color for areas where you want attention focused. The background could be a little either cooler, and/or lighter, and/or fuzzier/blurred. I just did that on an illustration tonight. If it on a separate layer it's easier , but on same layer, you could lasso The background then adjust the saturation, hue, opacity etc and also a very slight blur to push it back more.
    The composition 2.0 course here is great. I'm working through it and taking notes as I go.
    For color schemes there's so much to learn, kinda overwhelming LoL, Simona ceccarelli has great color videos on YouTube, I think people were mentioning her second color video recently when talking about how to pick color schemes for your work. Great way to start thinking about harmony. It's good to start out with a harmony of colors to keep things unified. Not that I always do that lol but I've started to recently and I can see huge value in it!
    BTW I admit that I felt a teensy bit disappointed too after not making the cut. I have to say this illustration gig can be a little hard on the heart sometimes 😜 just remember all the JK Rowling rejections! I console myself a little realizing that there are always several pieces every time that I love and am sure will make the finals and they don't. So I think things are subjective, and also a lot of good stuff just doesn't make it because there are sooooo many submissions and not too many spots. The judges have a hard job!
    Anyhow sorry for going on, I just wanted to let you know it's pretty normal to feel a bit deflated not making the final. But one day you will if you keep working hard at it, and it will be exciting 😉

  • Hi @Coley, thank you so much for your constructive feedback! Being new to illustration, I know there’s a long way to go, but I’ll be submitting a piece each month nonetheless and trying to get better with each submission.

    You’re right, the competition here is tough! But that’s what makes us better.

    I’m thankful for the feedback and will continue pushing myself to get better.

    This community is the best!

  • @Jeremy-Ross btw the bunny in your illustration is SO CUTE!

  • Thank you @Coley!

  • @Jeremy-Ross I feel the same way. Maybe we need to have an after critique post where we submit our work that didn't make the cut and get critiques on it. I am sure with a high volume of pics, its possible that at some point the work is professional and good enough but maybe just not what the judges want. I heard Jake say it was all about very specific things this time like what was the robot supposed to do first, before it went bad. I know I didn't communicate that. But I get insecure because I don't know if my work was "good enough" but not their cup of tea or if it was truly weak in some areas and thus not selected, or it was fine but there were twenty others just better. It's the not knowing that eats me. Because sometimes I think I produce good stuff and every one else is just, "meh." I don't want to be "meh". So its hard but I think you are doing the right thing by asking for critique.

  • Hi Jeremy, first I have to say, every month a lot of really good pieces don't make the cut. They have to draw the line somewhere and with a different pair of judges or a different day, the picks could have been different and just as deserving! I know there where many I really loved that didn't make it into the 16. I'm glad you were confident in the piece- you should be! And it's great you're willing to seek feedback. I know what it's like not to make the cut, so I can commiserate with you some.

    I think you have a lot of great things going for this piece. I love how you've rendered that background. The pencil marks with the watercolory washes combined with the style of the trees is so attractive. The design of your bunny is adorable! Your character expressions are well done.

    My critiques are:

    1. You are not letting the focal point of the robot and the mad girl be dominant. All of the values, line work, and colors are on similar levels and it's not allowing us to focus on any one thing in particular. I do really like your base color palette, but I think you need to do some studies, tweaking their value and saturation levels. The background for example could be made a lighter value as a whole. The three supporting characters in the back are just as large as our focal points. The pink haired girl is right on top of the bunny, that crying boy is so cute, and his expression so strong that my eyes just want to stare at him the whole time. You may be able to keep the 3 background kids as is, but if you extended the format,moved them to the right, and made them a bit smaller, it might help the main focal points shine better.

    2. A few elements don't quite feel "authentic". I don't think that in children's illustrations, everything needs to be accurate or true to life, but I think certain elements need to feel authentic or they are distracting. The Easter eggs for example- if any of those kids were to pick one up, the size would indicate it was a candy and not an Easter egg. Maybe this is a regional thing though? In my experience Easter Eggs are larger. The fact that they are so small, give me pause, and that distracts me as a viewer from the point of the piece. I also feel like the clothes don't seem quite right. I think it's fine to keep clothing design simple, but I feel the shirts of the boys need a couple of simple detail lines to make the cut of their shirts look more boyish. Like an indication of a collar or cuff lines. Not saying boys can't wear feminine clothes, but I thought I'd point it out.

    A couple more things to think about. What if the bunny looked proud? Would that perhaps give more emotional impact and/or humor? Another thing is- maybe the timing of showing an Easter piece was a little off? I know that for a lot of people, the period immediately following a Holiday- you kind of want to move on from that Holiday. It's over, you may be a little fatigued from it, and you haven't had enough time to build up excitement and anticipation of it again. With the selection process for the contest falling shortly after Easter, it may have been bad timing. Just speculation of course, I have no idea if this was relevant or not.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. Again, I think you should be really proud of yourself. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you won a contest one of these days. Even if you don't, I'm sure a lot of learning and great pieces will come out of participating.

  • @Jeremy-Ross hi mate, for me, im not even sure that the drawing/painting aspects are the problem, sure there are areas that could be improved, but theyre ok. I think the biggest problem may have been the concept itself. If the robot has malfunctioned by collecting all the eggs, then why was it built with a big scoop, what else would the scoop be for? It seems to me that the robot did exactly what it was designed to do! Also, its not clear that the objects in the scoop are actually eggs, theyre too small. If they were bigger it would be more obvious. On the technical side of things, the characters could do with more value to flesh them out a bit, theres no clear lighting structure for the piece as a whole, as such the characters appear flat.

  • @Jeremy-Ross so first of all I really love a lot of your work. The avocados in the snow and the lady bugs with the balloons were some of my faves. I shirts look forward to see what you'll post.

    For this piece I agree that story was a little unclear because its job was to collect eggs, so did it really misbehave? Also, maybe it's just me, but I disliked the red haired girl character. Something about her looks really mean and bratty? It might be her more angular face and nose and the extra wrinkle in the cheek makes her feel older. But then I look at this I just feel bad for the bunny robot and dislike Lisa. But then there's all the kids crying so I feel confused on an emotional storytelling level about how I should feel about the bunny.

    Regarding what your wife said I think bright colors are great but maybe instead of having every color be it's local color, you can try a color scheme? So instead of grass is green and tree trunks are brown etc. There is a yellowish light from the sun on everything and casting a tint? Will talks a lot about how he used to use all the colors at full saturation and had to learn to control them. I personally like using a split compliment pallet for this reason. Also, his magic of color class is super short and really really good.

    I think it's amazing that you're asking for feedback so you can grow. I try to remind myself that if I'm feeling uncomfortable with my art that means I'm pushing myself and I'm growing, and that means I'll get better. Please keep going, I think you're close! ❤

  • Hi Jeremy,
    There is a lot of nice things going on on your picture. The character designs, their expressions are nice; the background, trees are very well done.
    The storytelling may be confusing. The robot was built to collect easter eggs, but it collected also eggs of the other children, and that made the girl angry? If so, maybe a different reaction of the girl (right now she makes a very mean impression), exageration with much more eggs (some of them crushed), some other children in the background intensively looking for eggs, might help.
    The composition migh benefit from separating of the character groups (three children group from Lisa/Bot group).
    The colors need indeed more harmony. It is hard to control a lot of different high saturated colors. An overlay layer on top could help to pull the colors together as the fastest fix. Better value structure will definitely help to get a better read.
    Just some thoughts.

    Sometimes it is hard to get picked in the contest. I guess, it much depends on how interesting the concept is and how well the storytelling is done (i struggle with that a lot)... and there is always so many entries, plenty of styles and judge/audience preferences... so it is tough🙂. But the more one tries, the more one learns and the better picture will come, even if not picked. And critique is always good, at least to get different points of view after starring for a long time in one image, allowing to explore more options.

  • Hello!

    First of all thank you for sharing your piece for us to enjoy. The line work is confident and each individual character feels expressive and grounded on a solid plane. If no one questions this it is a sign it is well done! And kudos for completing another image!

    I agree with others that the storytelling doesn't quite come through and has room for improvement. My experience viewing the piece went like this: Red hair > girl's expression > candy eggs > bunny ears (glazed over big blue eyes) > eyes and hair of girl#2 > boy#1 glasses > boy#2 expression > caption. The characters were designed in an oval layout to help direct the eye and it seems to have worked for me, but in the process I somehow completely missed the story. Only after studying the image (and I admit I am not the sharpest pencil in the box) I realized the robot scooped up all the eggs/candy and why the children with empty baskets are unhappy or confused.

    To improve the storytelling or address viewer confusion perhaps you can consider the following (and these points ends up echoing others' suggestions):

    • Increase bunny size to become even more predominant (it technically takes up the most space on the page but subdued by being a value similar to the ground. If this is on a separate file layer it wouldn't be much of an issue, I hope. I think it would be OK if it covers the girl's basket in the background)
      Eggs/Candy can be larger to emphasize the importance of what bunny did wrong (the colors grab your attention but I didn't realize its' importance immediately)

    • Tone down saturation of red hair color (she is a plenty strong character!)

    • Tone down the whites in the background children's eyes/teeth and text background (and help the main girl/bunny maintain attention)

    • Help the background sink back even more by reducing contrast between trees.

    P.S & Disclaimer: This my first time posting a critique response and it is my intention to add helpful feedback and not discourage. I am just re-(re?)-beginning my art journey and am not in any position of authority. But again, I applaud you for getting another piece done!

  • Hi @chrisaakins, thanks for your response! I am grateful to be among so many great artists, but more importantly, grateful to receive such valuable feedback to help me grow!

    I’ve never taken traditional art classes, so being here in the SVS program and community is all I have.

    To receive such valuable critique from other members is a gift! Although I’m 40, I’m a freshman artist, haha!

    By the way, love all your work!

  • Hi @TessaW, Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughtful feedback!

    I completely agree with everything you said and knew I had those weaknesses when I submitted my piece. I believe all the time I spent rendering made me ignore the important details you pointed out.

    Regarding timing and theme, I submitted my piece on Easter, which is like publishing a Halloween book in Christmas, lol. Very good points!

    Finally, thank you for your closing thoughts! I definitely feel like I’m growing, especially with the amazing feedback and thoughtful critiques from you guys!

    Friends and family say Wow!! - But this community is where you get honest feedback and grow as an artist.

    Thank you!

  • Hi @gavpartridge, thank you so much for your feedback!

    You make very valid arguments, which certainly crossed my mind when I was making the piece.

    I think Lisa totally screwed up on her bunny bot design 😉!!!

    Thanks again for chiming in! I’m collecting good notes for my May piece!

  • Hi @carlianne, thank you so much for your feedback!

    Yes, Lisa is a mean girl; however, I was not going for that! So funny how things turn out.

    Thank you for the tips on color and saturation, I’m definitely struggling in this area. I will certainly take more time on color studies before making a final decision.

    Your kind words on my other pieces are greatly appreciated! My goal is to grow with each piece and get just 1% better. I’m only 40, and although I started Art late in life, I am in love with the process!

    Ps, love all of your work! I’m like “dang!, hope I can get that good one day!”

    Thanks again for taking time to provide your valuable feedback!

  • Hi @marek-halko, thank you so much for taking the time to provide your valuable feedback.

    Your comments regarding the story and colors are consistent. I’m thankful for so much feedback! You guys are all helping me more than you think!

    Admittedly, I was debating on whether I should post my April piece for feedback, but the overwhelming constructive feedback made me so happy I did!

    Thank you!

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