I thought of the poem by Edward Lear, “The Owl and the Pussy Cat” who sailed off in a beautiful pea green boat... I tried using textures and light this time. Beautiful entries everyone. Lots of great ideas this time.
Here is my entry for this month. I decided to go with an old favorite.
Also...please indulge my sweet 5 year old as I upload her entry for this month too. She saw me working and wanted to enter an illustration of her own story. It’s the story of a magical bedroom where when the big chandelier turns off the animals become real and the room becomes a forest. The title had about 100 words and I am not able to remember it. Annie Jones age 5.
Here is my entry. Growing up in Florida I had a healthy fear of allligators. But maybe they are sweet and harmless, unless they are stealing ice cream, that is.
I was a little late to get my fall illustration to the contest. But I am submitting it here in hopes that you all will advise me on ways I can improve. Composition? Color? Overall style and execution? This is my first illustration with a background and first illustration done in a digital format.
Thanks in advance for your valued opinions. The only people who have seen my things are my family and a few friends. As you know, they can’t be trusted to be really honest. But I am ready to improve so bring it!
I have been working on a new look with my drawing that has a little more detail and that is sparked by an idea for a picture book.
I spent A LONG time drawing (about 22hours so far) and feel like I gained a bit of confidence in my mark making. This is my first time trying a turn around. Does the child look like the same child in all the poses? She is based off of the look of both of my girls at that age. I intend for her to look about 5. She should look sweet and childlike. She will have her favorite cat stuffed animal that she carries in a drawstring bag. She loves to wear green frog rain boots. You will not be able to tell from the picture here, but she is curious and generally good natured and happy.
Does it look like the same child?
Are there any drawing / anatomy mistakes that need a tweak?
Does the drawing look stiff? Or just lifeless?
Thanks for the eyes!
Here’s my Annie. It’s the story of her getting glasses that is the inspiration.
Here’s my drawing
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@eric-castleman Maybe a good way to depict the memory would be to have it be black and white--or memory on color and the other illustrations in black and white--so that there would be a visual mark of distinction between the now and the past. It's an interesting concept. I would love to see how you make it work!
@gavpartridge You mentioned the contests are just fun and it doesn’t really matter. The only reason it does matter is that we are paying participants. There is no one being considered in the judging who is not a paying subscriber. Compared to previous contests, the value is diminished without the critique. It seems to be the general rub from those who responded here that the in-depth teaching via critique is the key missing component. I fully agree that the contests are a blast! I love seeing everyone’s take on the topics and working within a deadline toward a portfolio worthy piece of my own.
Most people (including me) love a lighthearted approach and jokes and fun. Consistency, clarity, and teaching just need a little tightening up especially when the subscriber numbers are higher. I am not leaving or “taking my crayons and going home” as I stated before. I am certainly not trying to spread negativity. I am only making theses statements as I have to consider value and $$ as I am making my choices. SVS is a blast. But I did not join just to have fun. I joined because I am serious about the stated purpose. I want to be better smash those goals to be a working illustrator.
@carolinebautista Well said. I agree with your views 100%. I have often gone back to those older critiques and rewatched. I particularly loved the one you mentioned with the 3 Little Pigs for the same reasons you mentioned. Sending encouragement as you are leveling up. Keep up the good efforts.
Just as a point of clarification... my frustration is not about not winning contests. It is more about desiring feedback in hopes of improvement.
The recent critique format is a lot more competition oriented and much less than they used to be about advice for improvement. The current criticism is purposefully short to be able to fit all of the entries chosen. They have been “ say one thing about...this round and one thing the next”. The previous format included draw overs and a solid critique of each of the selected pieces. There were fewer pieces chosen, but those pieces got a thorough going over. That was always helpful to me. I learned a great deal from the draw overs no matter the image.
I realize I am in the minority for not preferring the current format. I remember a poll when the format first began that had a super high approval rating and a really minuscule disapproval percentage. I want to say it was like 2%“no.” I would love to see a few draw over critiques or significant feedback on anyone’s work. It would not matter if it was related to a contest or not.
Anyway...that’s my 2 cents. Again, not trying to be a “hater” because I am truly not. I love SVS and the forums. I value Will, Jake, and Lee’s opinions as well as those given by my fellow artists. When I had the choice to make about school, I chose from fear and got a useless degree. But now I’m choosing my passion without the ability to GO back to school. Trying to learn, level up, and make up for 20 years of lost time.
@dafoota I agree with your frustration. There were a lot of well done pieces that fit the prompt for positive or negative ideas of isolation. I do think it was a little wrong to only be looking for negative concepts considering the fact that Lee White said he welcomed a positive spin on the topic. I would liken it to asking an art director for clarification about an assignment and being penalized for following that advice.
I have decided to discontinue the contests and continue to work on my skills, composition, color, light, backgrounds, character design. Not in a “take my crayons and go home” kind of way. I appreciate the good skills that can be learned through the classes and I feel like I have learned a great deal since being a member for the last few years. But I feel like the classes are a value to me and the contests are not.
I joined SVS because it was the only place I could find that had a focus on picture book art. Several of the classes are very specifically geared toward picture book artists and picture books or children’s illustration market. But the contests rarely feature works that are more picture book oriented. A lot of what I notice are images that would fit well into comics or a digital animation style. That is fine. I just have to realize that my art does not fit that look or feel and will therefore not be noticed.
I love that Aaron Painter mentioned that SVS understands that people would like their work to be critiqued in some way and that that would add a great deal of value. (Having any criticism given by a professional artist is invaluable to a person just starting out. So I really appreciate the speedy criticism given at the end of the bracket voting section.) *******My suggestion is that it might be a better use of instructors’ time and students’ learning to select 10 or 15 additional good pieces and give those a 30 second critique based in real and measurable action steps. It could be mentioned that if your piece was not selected for an additional critique, that the submission was appreciated but it needs more work. Better luck next time.
I love SVS and I love the forums here. I am not trying to spread hate or be a “Negative Nelly” but I really want to express my frustration here as well. What would the site be if all the feedback Was sunshine and rainbows?! Growing together. Keep up the good work everyone.
@carrieannebrown they are picked by the judges. They choose based on how well the the piece fits the prompt, composition, rendering, and of course, what they like. The final winners are chosen by votes squared off against each other in a bracket ( like “The Sweet 16”.) That’s my understanding. I hope it helps.
@Mary-Toth I work as a preschool teacher. I began full time and now work part time. I am fortunate to surround myself with my intended audience for picture books. I spend lots of time searching out amazing stories and art to inspire my learners. I can even test out illustrations and story ideas with a built in control group. Even working as a substitute preschool teacher or teachers aide would be a great part time gig. It puts you in touch with a target audience and lets you into the workings of their little minds. They are sophisticated thinkers even at the age of 3. It's wonderful to watch them engage and question or see them totally check out when the books and images are "ho-hum." If you're into picture book illustration you might give it a try.
All that said, I am working hard to get myself home and creating full time. I have worked in early-childhood education for 19 years teaching children with special needs as well as typically developing children. Sometimes the job, children's needs, and extra stress that goes with teaching can wear me down or stress me out. I find that when I am home in the evenings I have a hard time letting go of my teaching day and getting into creative mode. As a teacher, I guess we are always thinking of the students and the classroom. Or maybe that's just me not being able to separate my realities and get into a disciplined frame of mind.
Good luck in your searching. Follow your passion. That will always bring joy while you are working toward full time illustration.
@chrisaakins Thanks. I think I will deepen the shadows and fix the shadow of the boat too. Thanks for the comments guys