Thanks for everyone's feedback!
I am a former 15 year retail manager attempting to be a full time illustrator. I never miss a deadline.
Good morning, afternoon, and night! Back in September 2020 I stepped down from my 15 year retail management career because my wife and I had no childcare since the kids were going to school remotely (that blasted pandemic!). I joined SVS in November and "the guys" said to "create what you want to do." That had a big impact on me so I wrote this 32 page story and after about 4 months I finished illustrating it and it's for sale on Amazon!
If you like it let me know and if you don't like it I would love criticism. I'm very new to this and don't have many artist friends so I've relied on Youtube, SVS, and these forums to grow as a storyteller/illustrator. Thanks to all of you on the forums! You've been so helpful!
After Critique arenas I like to go back and look at all of the submissions (excluding my own as I think it would influence my view of the others), compare them to the winners, and pick out things that I think made them make it to the top 16. This Critique Arena was was a bit unexpected but here are a a few notes I've come up with based on the last few months:
The prompt isn't very important so don't focus too much on it. Just in this month alone there was an entry with an old man even though the prompt said young Traveler and one of the top 16 Jake flat out said didn't look like a "traveler" (they both were well executed though, no points against them!). There are numerous examples from the past months that I was going to include but the takeaway I found is not to get hung up on the prompt.
The judges make a difference. Lee likes story detail and creativity, Jake likes skillful and "cool" pieces, and Will likes story and first glance impressions. Obviously these are very general labels but it helps to keep the judges in mind. Of note, the tips to win that Lee mentioned in his Thursdays studio session didn't a have any impact on this Critique arena at all.
Silhouette matters to all of the judges. This may be the most important thing I've learned in my assessments. Before you go crazy with your rendering, Silhouette the thing like a mad man or woman or they and make sure it has a unique silhouette read...and slap some big eyes on it and make it adorable afterwards.
Story is important but doesn't have to be if you have a good first read. Some top 16 pieces had very little story and very few props but read nicely upon initial viewing.
This is a super fun exercise (unless I'm just super dorky, haha) that I encourage others to do it! Please share any tips you've found/find to help out the community