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  1. #1
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    Style for Sketchy Illustrations for Juggler Book

    Hey Everyone,

    I'm very thankful for all the feedback for my paintings for the juggler book. Things are coming along nicely, though far more slowly than I'd like.

    (Here's the most recent finished one)

    Style for Sketchy Illustrations for Juggler Book

    The book is going to have eight full page paintings set against text on the opposing page, and then twelve smaller illustrations set in the middle of a white page with text underneath. I'm currently on painting five of eight, but I'd like to work on the other illustrations in parallel. Right now I need some feedback on the overall style of illustration. I'd like something simpler and sketchier than my paintings.

    Here's my first shot on the first figure. My thought was to do something that is essentially a greyscale drawing, but uses warm hues for the lighter values and cold ones for the darker ones. I'm not looking for critique on this particular drawing per se, yet, but rather on the general style of drawing in contrast to the style of the painting. Does this work? Would anyone care to link to examples of some alternative styles?


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  3. #2
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    An improvement (methinks?) on the "penciling" technique. Blocking out values and then pencilifying the transitions. I think it's an improvment, but perhaps it is too much like the painting technique?

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    Perhaps something a little more posterized?

    All variations of the same basic look, I know. Right now I'm quite open to much bigger changes too.

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    How old is this boy/man supposed to be? His right foot is on backwards, his head is too big, and proportions are off in general.
    Where did it ever say that Humpty Dumpty was an egg?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoopyWillow View Post
    How old is this boy/man supposed to be? His right foot is on backwards, his head is too big, and proportions are off in general.
    Hah - whoops! Not sure how I managed to put two left feet on the poor guy.

    I'm looking for feedback on the overall style though - I'll fix the character later.

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    If you're going to use hatching, it should integrate with the contours, rather than avoid them.

    Tristan Elwell
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    If you're going to use hatching, it should integrate with the contours, rather than avoid them.
    Sounds interesting. Do you happen to know some good examples of this you could link to for me to look at?

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    When you say juggler book, do you mean a book about a juggler, or an illustrated book for jugglers? I assume the former.

    I like the posterized version better -- it's cleaner; the original doesn't seem 'tight' enough for the messiness to look like sketchiness. Maybe Elwell's suggestion would fix that; not sure.

    Also, speaking as a juggler, have you looked at pictures of real people juggling? It would never look like that unless you were trying to pull off a difficult trick. (Specifically, the 'claw'. If you want to see basically everything one can do with 3-ball juggling in under 3 minutes, see this video -- it might help get a sense of what's possible for illustration. The numbers are a juggling notation called 'siteswap' -- high means higher, faster throws, low means smaller, slower throws.) Your palms are almost always up while juggling. Your hands should be level, not one behind another, unless you're doing a trick or correcting a crappy throw. (This picture looks pretty natural.) Unfortunately, many photos of juggling are Photoshopped because it doesn't look that great in stills. I suggest finding some pictures or stills in videos and copying out some hand positions to get a feel for it.
    Last edited by Lulie; February 14th, 2012 at 11:56 AM. Reason: clarified something
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    Hello, Thegiffman.

    This is my first post on the forums, although I've been lurking for years. I'd just like to point out that most of your characters seem to be lacking eyelids. For me, this makes them look like a ventriloquist's dummy, because too much of the eye's iris is showing. The stylized proportions are probably a factor, too. I've made a quick paint-over to illustrate this. Also, I think this could be a good example of what Elwell's talking about: http://www.directoryofillustration.c...5680&IID=81438
    Last edited by Mellangmongot; February 14th, 2012 at 08:05 PM.

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    There are too many things that keep distracting me when I look at the character: the lack of eyelids (as pointed out by Mellangmongot), the worm-like eyebrows, the too-big head and too-small neck, the awkward pose, the unidentifiable age, the long arms, short legs, and lumpy ears. Once you fix these, then you can move on to choosing how you are going to draw the character.
    Where did it ever say that Humpty Dumpty was an egg?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoopyWillow View Post
    There are too many things that keep distracting me when I look at the character: the lack of eyelids (as pointed out by Mellangmongot), the worm-like eyebrows, the too-big head and too-small neck, the awkward pose, the unidentifiable age, the long arms, short legs, and lumpy ears. Once you fix these, then you can move on to choosing how you are going to draw the character.
    There was a similar discussion on this thread (incidentally, not my finest hour either). I don't doubt that there are some fundamental issues with my stylization that need sustained work, but before I can completely change the style I need to finish the book. So if I make any changes to the character, they need to be less than revolutionary.

    I do notice that people keep pressing me towards greater realism - the eyelid thing being a case in point. The resulting suggestions and paintovers are actually a good deal farther away from the cartoony look I actually want. I'd prefer something more like these character sketches of Michael Dashow's:

    EDIT: Attached at bottom of post.

    I really like the look of his Farewell Kiss:

    Style for Sketchy Illustrations for Juggler Book

    I also love this style by Daniel Lieske.

    My anatomy is terribly stiff and robotic by comparison, and perhaps that is why people mistakenly think I'm basically going for realism and just have huge heads and screwy proportions. Not sure.

    I'll give the character sketch another shot and see if it improves anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lulie View Post
    It would never look like that unless you were trying to pull off a difficult trick.
    Thanks Lulie for the feedback - I think you're right about the posterized one. As far as the juggler, the inspiration for the storybook came from my son's love of this juggler at Southpoint Mall in North Carolina. My sister then wrote a story featuring my son as an itinerant juggler in the middle ages who rescues the king from bandits.

    Here is the reference photo for the hands:

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    Reworking the figure. Any better?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thegiffman View Post
    I do notice that people keep pressing me towards greater realism - the eyelid thing being a case in point. The resulting suggestions and paintovers are actually a good deal farther away from the cartoony look I actually want.
    I think people assume that you want greater realism because your characters are not cute. They do not have the proportions or simplicity for cartoony cuteness, they are rather realistic and lumpy and grotesque to begin with. We've been trying to deal with this from the very start but you don't seem to have the sense for cuteness or character design at this point. Everybody is equally lumpy and midget-like, even the little girls.

    You are not going to get the style you want until you really understand design and that's just not happening for you. You've been working on this for ages, you want to get this done, just finish the flipping thing. And then go study cartoon styles for a few years, really get into the meat of what cartoons are made of. Go study manga. You do not get out of the School of Manga without understanding cute and appealing.
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  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    I think people assume that you want greater realism because your characters are not cute.
    Oh dear. I'm trying to imagine how to break the news to them...

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