Dragonfly Wip-Feedback/Critique please?

  • First time posting asking for feedback and it's a little nerve wracking, but I feel something is off with this piece, so fellow lovely artists, can you help me out?

    I guess my main questions are: How are the colors thus far? Is the story in it clear? Maybe I'm overthinking it! Also...does it feel like an illustration? Does it read better as more middle school graphic novel? Or is it more like a screenshot? How is the layout? Too busy? Too boring? Too clean? Is it looking okay and I just need to push on through and keep at it? It's in the rough stages so I know it's hard to read into, but something feels a little off, and I'd like to figure it out before I go in and clean it up, but maybe its not cleaned up enough to pinpoint things yet...

    Does anyone overthink things at this stage?! I'm trying push through and finish it, because my main bad habit is giving up when things are in the 'ugly stage'... but if the theme/style is too meh, I want to come up with something stronger! Thank you for any and all help!


  • First off, I think this is really cute!! I think it's off to a really great start.

    I think I'm having a little trouble with the story behind this one. The owl character seems a bit out of place in that it's such a powerful, menacing figure in the illustration, but your other figures don't really look like they're reacting to it. They're very much in two different worlds right now. The two figures on the left are so pointedly leaving the frame that it makes it seem like they're evacuating the premises, but their look is so light-hearted that I think they might be better used facing the other direction--like they're farther back but moving roughly in a rightward direction. That might give it more dimension as well because it would have the figures moving deeper into the world as well as laterally. + Added benefit of having the momentum of the piece moving the eye toward the center of the piece rather than moving you off the edge of the page.

    It definitely feels like an illustration; the lines of communication within it remind me of the way animated movie DVD sleeves have sort of a scaled sense of things happening where you want to sit and look at it for a while and examine the details. The way you ask, I'm not sure which option (graphic novel vs. screenshot) is more desirable to you, but I will say this very much feels like a cover illustration rather than something interior.

    It's very natural to overthink things at an early stage, but I would encourage you to get out of your own way, if you can. Sometimes you just need to zoom out and unfocus your eyes to get a better idea of where things are going, rather than getting into the weeds with yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wow! I actually love everything about where this is going. I think the biggest thing throwing me off right now is the bird and the action ( the little dude trying to wrangle the stubborn dragonfly) is still a little too sketchy, I can't tell what the bird is standing on, and how is that dragonfly not noticing him right there about to eat him up? The colors definitely give me a woodsy vibe, and this definitely reads as a storytelling illustration.

    So, perhaps turn off the color for now and dial in the rest of the drawing, and then go back in full force. You've got this!

  • @thousandwrecks Thank you! It makes a lot of sense that they feel like they are in two different worlds right now, and the story isn't quite there...and that is probably why it feels off to me! I think I was going for the 'moment before things get crazy' vibe, but its really good to know it doesn't read that way and having more of an interaction is definitely what is needed.

    Also having the other two riders facing into the world and bringing the eye into the action is a good call. Maybe with looks that say they are coming to help rather than running away blissfully ๐Ÿ˜†? Or maybe they are unaware of what lies in the shadows? Hmmm, things to play around with!

    I'm glad it feels like an illustration...I guess I was worried it was in that weird 'uncanny valley' territory of not feeling like anything illustrative or graphic novel-esque/screenshot. I think getting out of my way is great advice on this. It was definitely a moment of getting lost in the weeds of my overthinking! Thank you so much for your input! It was very helpful!

  • @amlilui Thank you! It's been fun to work on so far. I definitely agree the action and story are not there, and can be much stronger! I'm glad it's reading as illustrative! Turning off the color and finishing the drawing/sketching is great advice.

    I tend to get a little unfocused and try to do it all at once! I've gotta slow down and get it tuned up a little more before I jump into the detailing! Its great to be reminded of that! Thank you for your suggestions! They were very helpful and I'm excited to get back to working on this now that I can see what isn't working well!

  • What a fun concept! I love the idea of the dragonfly being stubborn. I agree with the others that having the friends reacting to the owl would really help out (either running in fear or coming to help), and yes, the owl seems too close, like he would have already swallowed them up by now.

    But other than that, I am completely into the story and where it's going next. I want to know more about this world. Great job!

  • @JoshuaDages Thank you! These contests have been great in making me push myself more and more! I think I'll have the friend coming to try and save the day! and positioning the owl a little differently is a good call! Some of the changes I've done since this morning are making it much stronger already! So glad its going in the right direction! Thanks again for the input and suggestions!

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    @JessicaStauffer Hi! i'm liking it so far. I think you have a great composition but maybe you can loose the owl. is it vital to the story?

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Oh interesting! I never considered that! It would tell a different story for sure! I'll have to play around with this idea!

  • @JessicaStauffer I love this! Immediately reminded me of Ferngully.

    What I read from the story is that they're all riding together, but your main character's dragonfly is being difficult--meanwhile, a scary owl is sneaking up on the unsuspecting duo.

    I really like how it's coming so far, but the main issue I see is that the composition/scene seems a bit unbalanced. The majority of the story (and focus) is being told on the right side, and everything on the left is secondary. Maybe try moving your main duo further to the left, and maybe hide your owl a little more so it does seem like a character that's sneaking in. You could also experiment by cropping off the left third of the image and shrinking your other dragonfly riders a bit to be further in the distance.

    Really like where this is going! Love your characters!

  • I like the concept. I recommend using reference for the pulling action.

  • @miranda-hoover I thought Ferngully after I started drawing it too!๐Ÿ˜„

    That is the story I am aiming for! I'm really glad to know you got that from the image! Good call on the imbalance. I can see that it does feel right heavy. I'll have to play around and make sure to pay attention to that. Thank you! I really appreciate your input!!

  • @Chris-Perry-0 Thank you! I will have to pull some references up and double check things!

  • @JessicaStauffer Nice image with strong storytelling. I like the colours so far โ˜บ For me the owl is off because itโ€™s positioned so big, close and high in the frame, also the fact that it doesnโ€™t seem to be perched on the tree. But mostly it is off because owls swoop down on prey which they can detect easily from a mile away, this one is watching more like a vulture and it makes me question why this owl is different. It could work as part of a story where the owl is a sort of frenemy that you canโ€™t really trust not to eat you...are you going for that vibe? Would it affect the story if the owl was more obscured in shadow and leaves with glowing, fixated eyes ready to lunge forward?

  • The idea is funny and lovely. A dragonfly who is as stubborn as a mule ๐Ÿ™‚ The owl is a bit confusing. Is he a friend, is he watching or is he going to eat them? Maybe you could make that a bit clearer.

  • @JessicaStauffer hi, firstly can i say i think this is a really atmospheric piece, and i can see from whats done already that the colours will work really well together, and the moon is done really well. Its a good drawing! I do think the composition could use a bit of tweaking though. At the minute the piece is essentially split in half, and all the action is on the right, whereas the moon pretty much takes up all the left. And the fact that the moon is so bright, it steals all the attention, the characters appear a little hidden all squashed down on the right, and all quite dark. Maybe it might work if the guy pulling the dragon fly was flipped, pulling him toward the owl, then it might read as though he's the owls henchman or something, or a bounty hunter bringing the dragonfly to the evil owl. That might give the characters a good silhouette against the moon.

  • @Lovsey Thank you! I'm glad the story is there! Yeah, the owl is definitely a WIP. I realized I never sketched out the branch he should be on. I was going for an owl waking up and noticing the kerfuffle below and decides its easy pickings for dinner tonight! It's a whole movie scene in my head!๐Ÿ˜†

    But this sketch doesn't really communicate that clearly, so I see why its confusing. I'll have to adjust some things and make it more clear! I really like the idea of obscuring him a little more in the shadows, and making him feel more distant yet threatening! It may help him not be so visually heavy in the image as well. Thank you so much for the suggestions! They are very helpful!

  • @hakepe Thank you! I'm glad he's reading as being so stubborn! I'll be working today on making the owls intentions more clear, because I can definitely see now how its a bit confusing! Thanks for the questions! They are good things to ponder while I work!

  • @gavpartridge Thank you! I feel colors are always a tough thing for me to get right! I'm glad the moon is reading well! I'll play around with it so it isn't such a scene stealer. Yes the composition definitely is a bit heavy on the right. I'll have to work with proportions of the characters and make them not so little, squished and hidden in the dark. I didn't consider an owl henchmen/bounty hunter bringing the owl a dragonfly, but I really like that idea! I'll have to play around with the characters some more and see what comes of it! Thank you for your input! It is really fun to see what people suggest and notice in the image that I don't see!

  • Okay...went back to the drawing board, because I just am not sure. I liked the story I came up with, but I don't know if I love it. I wanted to try to push through and I played around with suggestions I received and sat with the piece this past week. I realized I jumped into a final idea too fast and I think that was my ultimate struggle, so I stepped back and started sketching out a few ideas...

    dragonfly ideas.jpg

    Number 1 was a fun idea in my head so I sketched it out a little more clearly and at a different angle:

    Annnnd that's where I'm at right now! Going for a shady-swampy-pawn-shop-exchange story vibe. Just wanted to update. Still have some work to do! I think I'll have the toads left hand on one of those winged seeds that fall from trees for the trade. And maybe make the toad a little bigger and imposing...they seem a bit similar in size?

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