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Hello, I'm just starting out as a freelance artist and I'm new to this forum so I'd love all the feedback and tips I can get. This image is my interpretation of an old story about a princess being sacrificed to a sea monster to save her city.
Is this image part of a series? There are a few issues, but the most prominent to me is that I don't know where that sea monster is coming from. I thought at first it was some kind of whale, which meant it must be floating midair. If it's a creature with a long flexible neck, you've got to show more of it.
Thanks for your interest. Yes, he seems a bit "floaty". There are no other pictures in this series done yet, but here is the outline to the sea monster in this scene.
Well, I'm not really familiar with the story, but I think you need to focus more on narrative. I'm not reading "sacrifice" from your illustration. I can't read any intent from the mouth, but it doesn't appear threatening, or like it's motioning to eat her. The woman almost has a determined look to her, but is overall pretty neutral. There's no indication that she's about to be eaten, that she's about to climb into its mouth, or that she's actively defying the thing. The meeting looks pretty casual.
The woman's feet are placed at a different perspective than that of the path. Not sure that the high horizon line is contributing anything anyway. It's not clear where your light is coming from, and there are almost no shadows at all. Get some reference for the cliffs and ocean spray. There's a good variety of potential textures in this image.
Here's a paintover as a suggestion, but there are plenty of directions you could take it.
So... you have a princess about to be eaten by a giant monster and the best thing you could think of was to have her standing around in 3/4 view?
Come on, exercise your brain. Do a dozen thumbnails and give each one a different action/mood combination.
Not to mention, if this is a book illustration for a book and not just an illustration about a book, how have you designed this to be printed? As a double page spread you'd get the crease right in the middle of the pic, which would separate the mouth and the princess even more, making it even harder to connect the characters in the image together and as a half page illustration (depending on the size of the book) some of the details are likely to disappear because some of the things are left so undefined and pale (the girl's face, for example, which is almost the same colour as the sky so her nose/mouth area might disappear even more, as it does in the pics where this current image is small). The latter problem will be a problem in any case.
Also all other crits that I agree with aside, think about your detail. Why is her sleeve so über detailed and wrinkly? It has more details and hard contrasts than any other part of the image, thus calling attention to it, despite the fact that her arm isn't of any importance to the story. Get references for everything.
As an additional note the mouth of the monster looks lopsided in the way that from this angle we wouldn't be seeing both of the upper rows of the teeth. In the back row we clearly see they're deep in the mouth with lots of fleshy lip/cheek covering them, but on the front they peek below the lip.
I agree with perspective being completely off here. I had hard time figuring out why the girl is standing in a stream of water which is flowing upwards before I realized that it's actually not a stream, but solid ground. It's like the girl is floating in the air and not connected to the ground she's supposed to be standing on. And just like TinyBird said, my eyes get unintentionally attracted to her sleeve, while the most important part is the interaction of the two characters. The monster seems very friendly to me, like it got out of the water to say hello The girl has very blank expression and I can almost feel that she's sorry for her monster-friend who got out of the water to say hello.
Fun nature fact: water tends to be of the same color as the sky. Because naturally sky is being reflected in the water. So there is no reason for pink sky and blue water in your picture.
Thank you very much for the feedback so far. Now I see more potential. I'll rework the whole image and see if I can't do the scene more justice.