Dragonfly feedback

  • Hello everybody! I’ve entered a few contests but I haven’t ever asked for feedback before submitting. I would really like to know what the group thinks of my Dragonfly concept and composition. I made several very different thumbnails before deciding on the concept of a child (out of focus behind it) looking at a dragonfly. I then decided to draw my three sons in their Cub Scout uniforms (yes they really look this different in real life!). I have drawn them at a camp-out observing nature as they find this very cool looking dragonfly.
    Anyway, here is my thumbnail, initial sketch, and what I have finished so far.

    What do you think of the composition? What about the children being out of focus? Should they be fuzzier, in focus? Does the illustration read correctly?

  • @deboraht I really love the light you have going on..the dragonfly is brilliant. My eye is drawn to the red in the background. You might want to desaturate that a bit and maybe even add a tent flap so this reads more completely. I think this is lovely!

  • Thanks for the catch. I may slightly desaturate the rest of the background as well.

  • I wonder if the kid’s eyes were a little sharper? I’m not sure on that, but was just thinking about the eye being led from dragonfly and then circularly from kids eyes back to dragonfly. Just a thought but I don’t know for sure!
    Also the dragonfly’s body might be a little thin? And the legs are all bent one way?
    I agree with the red pulling the eye, I do like the way you brought focus to the dragonfly via the soft edges in the background. 👍

  • @Coley thanks for your insight. I didn’t notice the legs since I was using a reference photo and now I can’t unsee it. Lol. I’ll play around with the eyes and see what I come up with.

  • @deboraht Great foreshortening on the pointing hand! That's always tricky. I like the blurring but I agree about desaturating the background colors a bit.

    Also, the tip of the tail is creating a tangent with the edge of the picture so I'd like a little more breathing room there.

    What is the ground in front of the kids? Is it water? The ground behind the kids looks like soil. I'd like to see a little more definition of soil to water transition.

  • I like the blur in the background, it think it works very well. Overall it’s a really sweet illustration! One thing that stood out to me though was the eyes of the child on the left. To me it looks like they aren’t really looking at the dragonfly but rather off to the right somewhere. Very roughly mocked up what it might look like with the pupils shifted slightly. Hope that helps!

  • @Neha-Rawat I’m glad the hand is working. 😅 Especially since it goes from in focus to out of focus. I also considered having him holding a phone (camera) or field guide but they covered too much I think.
    I also noticed the tail. I’ll shorten it a segment or two. Funny how sometimes you only see things after you post them.
    Yes, that is water in front of the kids. It’s another thing I was worried wasn’t reading correctly. I already added more shadow at the kids’ feet. I’ll also add some shoreline detail.
    Thank you for your feedback!

  • @Annabishop excellent eye catch! I’ll fix it. Thank you!

  • @deboraht
    This is such a delightful subject and composition! I like the level of focus on the background kids, but I wonder if you could increase the contrast between what's in focus and what's not by giving yourself just a little bit of sharper detail in the foreground. Like maybe by tilting the wings of the dragonfly toward us just a little more, so you can show off more of that cool sharp glassy detail of the wing pattern.

  • @Valerie-Light wing detail is a must, I agree. I was more focused on angling the wings so they weren’t covering the kids’ faces than making them look cool. Thanks for the feedback!

  • I made some changes and here is the updated version with desaturated background (and a tree removal), I made some tone adjustments and darkened the foreground. I also rendered the water and made a few changes to the dragonfly.
    As I was working on it, I was thinking about how it might appear in a book or magazine. With the detail on the insect, I thought that it would make a fun diagram. I wrote out the body parts in the handwriting they teach my kids at school for an authentic kid look. What do you think... with or without the text?

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