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First thing first. Hello there o/.
I'm new to CA, pleased to meet you all.
Introducing to you Rock and Wayne:
Those illustrations are based on mine dogs, which are actually mascots for an yearly party I host, and made for a T-shirt. That cartoony style is probably the most suited for screen-printing. The party includes an barbecue and, of course, lots of booze.
Before you meet the real dogs I'd like some feedback on the illustrations visual appeal, anatomy and cooliness. After that, I ask you to look at the photos below and say if the dogs are recognizable from the drawings.
Ok...I'm a little crazy about my dogs. Anyway...
What can i improve in those designs? They just don't seem ok to me, but you people know how it's hard to evaluate your own work. Mine eyes are already saturated from working on them, so I can't see the flaws.
Thanks anyone for reading this, and mine best regards, CA people
Structure would help a LOT here. The drawings are very flat and the lines don't really seem to describe shapes as such. Even "flat" cartoons need a knowledge of the design's structure to sell it as believable.
The second thing that you need to work on is silhouette. Instant recognition is one of the things that make cartoons effective, so you need to make sure the figure and action can be read without seeing the details. This means paying attention to things like negative space (the bit between the arm and the body, the area under the muzzle, space between the legs, etc.) and trying to maximize those and make them interesting.
The third main point is line of action, which I suspect you're unfamiliar with. That's okay, we all have stuff we don't know about. Basically, you want to give these characters life, which means you want them doing something. The best way to achieve this is via body language, and that's where starting with a strong line of action comes in. Basically, it's a line that goes through the major masses of the body and gives an indication of what the main movement is. The stronger the arc, the stronger the action, generally speaking. Right now, if you did that for your characters it'd just be a straight up-and-down "I" shape. For these characters, what you want is a "C" shape. For example, look at the movement of this character and this one (which, in fact, illustrates all three elements).
Something that would help a great deal, I think, would be to check out this link and this one, and really go through the scanned pages. There's an awful lot that applies directly to what you're doing here, and it's worth study even for non-cartoony art.
The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress
My online portfolio
"Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
Well...it has been a long while, and for that I apologize, but finally I got some time to finish out the new version of one of the dogs. Here is it, and the old one for comparison. Thanks A LOT for the feedback and that Preston Blair material...the guy's a genius!
I can't even look at the old one without feeling some self-pity now hehe...but I guess this will happen again sometime in the future even with the new version...hail progress for that!
Can I have some more feedback now, please?
Considering how colourful and full of markings your dogs are, it's odd that you managed to draw a "generic wolf #9395362" and "generic rottweiler #147639".
If you want the dogs to be recognizable, actually look at your dogs.
Like for example, the front leg brown marking in your rottweiler drawing is going more up, when in the actual dog it's clearly going down, there's no chest spots, etc. and in the grey dog, despite in real life having white muzzle, lighter stomach, darker back with lighter underfur stripe, dark tail tip and lighter eye circles is just plain grey in your drawing.
That's entirely true, but what I did not consider at first was that there were previous designs of those mascots used in the event in past years...and even so they're kinda lame, they established a visual identity for the party, so that's why I didn't focus on recreating the designs to be look-alikes. Anyway, for the thing you said about the rottweiler, I really didn't pay much attention to that at the time I made the first design. I'll look more into making it more alike my dog now, thanks