Comments and critiques for an illustration for a contest



  • Hello, I think this is the first time I post in the year I have subscribed to this forum and I do so to ask for your opinions and comments on the following illustration that I intend to send to a contest here in my country, Chile. The contest is about illustrating a short story (100 words) for which they give you a winning story from another version of the same contest as an illustration proposal. If you are the winner, you can be assigned from 1 to 3 stories to illustrate.

    The story to be illustrated is the following (translate from Spanish):

    With Adrian we live downtown. He makes me laugh a lot. He's so convinced he's a serial killer. "I'm a soul stealer" he says as he swims back and forth in the fish tank I bought him. He's been very quiet lately. I tried to be nice to him, but he immediately started doing acrobatic jumps, trying to bite my fingers. He thinks he's a piranha. One Sunday I saw him devastated, so I dissolved 1/4 of fluoxetine in his water and took another pill myself. We spent the whole afternoon staring out the window, humming songs in English. Sometimes we feel very lonely.

    fish V.png

    I know that an illustration should not always be descriptive of the text so I tried a different approach by interpreting what I think is the feeling behind the short story.

    Sorry if my English is not good enough, I can read it very well but writing is a different story. Any advice, comment, or critique is more than welcome.



  • I like this a lot! It looks like it belongs in a magazine or Illustration Now and it feels like it matches the story quite well. The curiosity of the subjects makes me look closer and longer. At first I wanted more tonal variation in the teal elements but after a while I wasn’t sure. The limited colour palette works to highlight the smaller character (which despite being described as a ‘he’ comes across as very feminine, not sure if that was an intentional gender deconstruction or a lost in translation situation? It makes me question if I understand the narrative correctly which is intriguing but also confusing haha)

    One thing that is not working for me is that there is not enough definition between the fish and the chair it sits on. The material draping on the arm of the chair looks too much like the fish fins. I also feel like the chair should be angled differently, it could be turned more towards the window? I’m also not sure if the perspective matches the base of the lamp and the picture frame (but perspective isn’t my strong suit and I haven’t taken that SVS class yet! 😉)

    Another point: I’m not sure if the fish character would be frowning so sternly if it just took an anti-depressant...



  • @Lovsey Hello, thank you very much for your comments. I had not checked the forum and it does not send a message to the mail when someone responds so I missed your accurate comments. The author of the story is a girl and when I refer to "He" in the translation the mistake is mine because in Spanish we don't have the "it" for animals or things. I chose a limited color palette because my intention was to underline the fact that both are under the influence of drugs. Initially, I intended to make the fish's eyes reflect that effect as well but it was not very different from the "normal" fish eyes in my sketches and I chose to refer to how angry the fish is normally in the narrative.
    As you mention it I also think that the separation between the chair and the fish is lost and I also tried several tricks that I came up with to improve the perspective but, in my opinion, it lost plasticity.
    Sadly, I already sent the illustration to the contest because the deadline was already reached so I won't be able to make the corrections or changes that you so rightly mention. I made many sketches both digital and paper before deciding which illustration was going to be the final one and I thought many times to post previously here in the forum to get some feedback but my shyness and fear of criticism were stronger. I appreciate the time taken to comment on the post.

    pencil sketch.png
    color pencil sketch.png
    color pencil sketch 2.png
    pencil sketch 2.png
    ink sketch.png
    fish III perspective 3.jpg



  • @Hector-Sandoval-Ormeño It’s my pleasure to try and help by sharing my viewpoint - hopefully the talking about contrasting opinions and ideas helps us broaden our own and grow. 😁 Thank you for sharing more about the story and your drawings, you were very thorough in your preparation for your final piece and I learn a lot just by looking at your process, which is what I really enjoy about these forums!

    Good luck with the competition, your artwork is visually strong and hopefully the judges think it is the best match for the story 🥇


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