I think I’m done although I’m happy to tweak it if you see anything that needs attention. Thanks for everyone’s help.
I love your stuff and it's a compliment to your characters that I hadn't even thought about your line work or rendering until you asked. I was drawn immediately to what the characters were doing and feeling.
Thinking about it more, though, for me the line work and rendering work well together but I would also agree that your illustrations have a more comic book style. Not being a professional, I don't know what the market is for that but interestingly, it is a style I see a lot in kids' church material. (I'm a minister.)
Here is the latest incarnation. I toned down the saturation of the brownstones as @gavpartridge suggested and moved the flying pigeon down so that it wasn’t competing with the roofline. I tried cropping it in a portrait orientation but that lost the sense of skyline but it occurred to me I could move the left pigeon on the railing in front of the foliage as @rcartwright suggested by just extending the tree. I still have to do shadows and render the pigeons more but it’s better I think.
@annie-barnett Thank you. One of the things I'm struggling with is that I don't want to lose or modify the skyline too much since I did try to reproduce the buildings they can see in their view. I took some liberties but moving things around too much for the sake of the birds would ruin that purpose. I'm going to try everyone's suggestions though and see what I can do. One of the great things about this forum is that I can feel re-inspired by suggestions when I am ready to give it up.
I think I may have to give up on this one unless someone has some suggestions. I can’t seem to get the pigeons to stand out enough against the brownstones of the building. I have a limited array of colors I can use for pigeons (grays, whites, and blacks) without them starting to look like parrots and the values are just not working. The problems is that I started out with a scenery sketch and then added characters, completely changing the focal point. I’ll try adding shadows and see if that anchors them but it won’t help the ones flying.
I immediately thought of the picture books they read on "Captain Kangaroo" where I first saw the great illustrations of Virginia Burton ("Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel") and Robert McCloskey ("Make Way for Ducklings.") As a child, I wasn't really thinking about the art but I'm sure that it was a large part of why I loved the stories because both of those illustrators had a way of capturing emotion in their line work that made the characters alive and memorable.
@thecmbutton Thanks. There are some wonky perspective lines I need to fix but I'm always worried about getting so finicky that I lose the spontaneity of a drawing. In other words, I'm not sure I know the difference between "whimsical spontaneity" and "she obviously can't draw a straight line to save her life."
I haven’t had much time to work on this but I sketched in the birds more and also lightened the ink on the far skyline to try to give more atmospheric perspective. I’m trying to decide now whether to leave the sketchiness of the skyline (some pencil still showing, imperfect lines etc.) or to clean it up. Any thoughts?
Congratulations everyone! It was all beautiful work, and I learned a lot from your pieces. I also agree with @Lee-White about the community. I strayed to another online art forum recently and was saddened to see the blunt opinions and disregard for other contributors in the postings. This forum is an amazing bright spot in the too often brutal cyberspace.
My daughter lives in Boston and while I was visiting, I sketched and inked the view of the skyline from her apartment rooftop. I decided to try making it into an illustration, importing the ink work into Procreate to paint and enhance. This is what I have so far. (The animals are only roughed in.)
Following the suggestion of @davidhohn in another thread, I’ll describe what I am trying to do:
This is a present for my daughter, and so I want it to be somewhat recognizable as the view from her apartment buildings roof (which is why I left in the awkward railing on the left.)
I wanted to make the brownstones of Beacon Hill where she lives feel warm and alive in contrast to our normal idea of a cold concrete urban landscape and so I used warm colors for the brick work and lots of greenery in the foreground, while leaving the skyline more muted and gray.
I added the pigeons to give life to the picture, not only as a focal point, but to emphasize the theme of warmth and life, in an urban setting. I also liked the idea of the birds leading an independent life on the rooftops where human activity is minimal. The mouse on the balcony is because she recently saw a mouse in her apartment and freaked out
So that’s what I am trying to do. Is it working? Do you have suggestions for improvement?
I think it looks very inviting -- I love the warm lights, the mist in the background, and the reflections on the water. I can imagine living there quite happily.
A couple of things you might want to look at. The chimney comes out of the front of the roof but there is a window and door under it which makes me wonder where the fireplace is. Also, the creek and the path divide the picture into two more or less similar lines so it doesn't feel as integrated as it might.
On the whole though, it's really lovely and I think you captured the atmosphere you were going for quite well.
I'm an amateur and have the luxury of not having to come up with a brand but the question still feels relevant because I still ask myself, "Why am I spending so much time and money on this? And why post stuff if I'm just doing it for the personal fun of creating?" The best I've come up with so far is that I want to capture the beauty and joy of the world that I experience in order to share that with others. (My efforts at watercolor and landscape painting are more on the beauty side and the children's illustration more on the joy side but the paintings that I've done that I like the most manage to capture both in the same painting.)
As I said, that's more of a philosophical statement than a branding statement that can quickly summarize one's work for people who might employ you, but even as an amateur, I would like to get beyond the "Hey, I can draw a person who looks human" stage and get to the "I'm painting this to communicate this idea/view/feeling," stage and I think moving to that stage requires knowing one's brand, so to speak.
@teju-abiola Don't apologize for rambling. This is all very helpful stuff.
@whitney-simms I’ve done three paintings for family members and am giving them all with the caveat “Feel free to put this in a closet because next year I hope to be even better.” I am really fortunate however to have a wonderful son who specifically asked for a painting for Christmas to be supportive of my hobby. It was so sweet.