Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Need critique of compositions

Hi Illustrators~
This is my first post to any blog ever, so bear with me, please.
Here are two collages I made from pieces of photos that I put together. I plan to use them as the sketches for two of the B & W marker illustrations I'm doing for the 2nd Shaker kid's book.
I'm especially interested in your suggestions for the first one, with the boy looking at his sketchbook while he's remembering the last sight he had of his mother. That's the part that's up above his head. It's supposed to look like a "vision" he's having of that night when his mother left the cabin to go with the man on horseback. But I think it might just look like somebody painted a mural on the back wall of the room he's in, and left the edges jaggedy. Any suggestions, please? Thanks! See you tomorrow, at lunch, I hope.
-Pam D


  1. Wow, Pam —Nice start! I agree with your instincts about the first composition. I think a quick shifting of your main characters should help a lot. For starters, the man and woman in the vision need to read as a unit distinct from the boy. If you move them closer together and slightly higher, away from the boy, that should help.

    When you render this, the way you render detail will help get the correct reading. keep the boy in sharp focus with warm and contrasty tones. The details of the interior are nice, but they are a bit strong. Reduce the contrast. Let them recede to the background. Give the vision scene a bit of room to breathe and create a generous soft vignette around the figures.

    If all these fixes aren't enough, do the obvious thing and change your color palette for the vignetted vision. Make the interior warm and render the wintry scene in blues. Limit the palette.

    Looking good though! Best of luck!

  2. Shoulda mentioned: the boy with the tree and lightning is fantastic! Very dramatic. You will post these when they're finished, right?

  3. Nice work, Pam, and good to see you and your work here! I'm with Chuck on everything he said about the first piece...if not a soft demarcation around the 'vision' area then maybe a harder border of some sort, maybe tilted off the plane of the back wall? The second one is terrific - great point of view and very dynamic.

  4. I agree that you should really play down the interior. I would kind of like it to look more like he is reading/involved in his sketchbook. I did not immediately make the connection of the vision to the book he is holding.

    I almost wonder if you could lose the kid with the book and just make the vision the dominant image?

    I do not know the direction for the illustration though you received from the author and text so that comment may be way off base.

    Hope to see you tomorrow!