Saturday, April 30, 2011

Work in Progress


  1. Ariana,

    You're off to a very good start! This image is quite cute, and the characters look endearing. The overall color palette is harmonious.

    How can you improve it? To make my comments clearer, I've uploaded some reworked images on this webpage.

    First, it seems the entire image is about to tip over to the left (the horizon is at an angle, so are the clouds, etc.). So redress it, especially the background (the girl doesn't tip as much, but still a little bit nonetheless).

    Next, to add more life and charm to this action, I suggest you dramatize the girl's acting. Her line of action, going from her legs to her stretched arms, is basically a straight line. By curving it a little, arching the girl's lower back, and even lifting a bit her left foot, it will give more tension to the pose and slightly exaggerate her efforts to reach high to pin the sheriff's star. See my examples. On a smaller note, her head is a hair too deep (and so is the hat). So I'd encourage you to make it less wide (but really not by much).

    The hands are overlapping too much of the sheriff's star, and since this is an important prop, I would reposition the hands so that they still look like they're natural (in a pose showcasing the girl's effort to pin the star), but not overlapping the star so much.

    I'm not so sure about the present bean-shaped framing. In general, I think it's a welcome idea to have a non-rectangular framing, so I wouldn't change that aspect. However, I would just redraw that overall shape so that it looks good on its own, even if it didn't have any drawing in it. It should also look like it "stands up" on it's own (a little more).

    While your present color palette looks promising, your values are too close in several important instances. First, the cactus green value is too close to the value of the sky (as a result, the cactus doesn't "pop" as much as it should). Ditto with the girl's pants relative to the dark mountains. Check out the grayscale versions I posted to see this clearly.

    Next, think of the lighting. What time of the day is this scene happening? For example, a morning light look different from a sunset light. If it's noon, the light is stark and the shadows short and crisp. If it's the early morning or late afternoon, the shadows will stretch and soften a bit.

    For the visual storytelling, ask yourself why the cactus is deserving a sheriff's star. What has it done, and how can you hint at it to expand the storytelling? Why does it matter to the little girl? Try to make those intangible dimensions visible with details, objects, props, traces, marks, etc. Maybe the background can have more information? So ask yourself what the story is (what happened before and what may happen later) and try to drop a few hints for the viewer's enjoyment.

    I think that's it. Again, it's very cute and quite promising! Make it sing!

  2. Ariana,

    I noticed the links in my last post are the same color as the text. So in case you're struggle to spot them, here it is by itself:

    Link to webpage with edited illustrations