I drew this picture in ink, scanned it in and painted it in photoshop. I think it's finished, but I'm not sure. It could be a cute children's illustration. The painting is meant to be loose although there is a streak of grey paint on the mouse's left ear that shouldn't be there and maybe a few other things I should zoom in on and clean up. Maybe some of the details are not clear enough? Maybe it's not amusing?? Perhaps it isn't colorful enough for children? I'd really appreciate it if anyone has the time to give me some feedback on this.
Have patience, this subforum has far less traffic than some of the bigger ones.
Hmm, it's hard to give a useful critique based on your specific questions. It's a charming sketch, with some interesting storytelling going on, but yeah - I'd say this definitely feels more like a sketch than any kind of finished piece.
I can't agree with the qualifier "supposed to be loose". That's what makes this especially challenging to evaluate in a meaningful way. What is "loose"? Is this piece an example of "looseness"? See, it's like saying the piece "is supposed to look exactly as it does right now". In which case, awesome - it certainly does look like itself
Now, to my mind, the linework is a major drawback here. Messy lines detract from a finished piece. It's especially difficult to find the perspective here, since no dominant lines are apparent. I can't tell which lines to follow toward a vanishing point, so it looks like all three objects are on three separate perspective planes. Floating in space.
Best advice I can give is to find examples of the kind of style you want to mimic and see how they handle edges and form, how they do shading, their line weight etc etc.
In other words: study some references and all that.
Okay, just to clear this to others too who might be looking for crit.
When there are no crits, it usually means (aside from wait a bit more):
1. There is so much to crit, it's hard to decide where to even begin
2. The problems are of the type that have been repeatedly explained in other crit threads
3. Something in the chosen "style" makes it difficult to crit
4. Tools used in the work or its intended purpose are something the viewer has limited experience with and thus does not want to crit
5. The problems are of the kind the viewer don't know or can't find a solution for.
In the extremely rare case when the work would be perfect, there certainly would be numerous posts to say so.
Your work falls in to the categories 1, 2 and 3.
" I think it's finished, but I'm not sure.
It could be a cute children's illustration.
the painting is meant to be loose although there is a streak of grey paint....
maybe a few other things I should zoom in on and clean up.
Maybe some of the details are not clear enough?
Maybe it's not amusing??
Perhaps it isn't colorful enough for children? "
Whether it is finished or not is ultimately your decision. If you are unsure, then very likely it is not finished.
Please DO clean it up, DO improve the clarity of details and loose or not DO work on the paint as much as you can.
After that, it might be slightly more easy to crit.
Do you have a particular reason why this would be a cute or amusing children's illustration?
Children of what age? 1-3 or 3-5 or 6-9, 10-13? These are all different groups with different tastes and requirements. Colorful suits best the youngest, who also usually like great clarity.
While children might be lenient about technical aspects of pictures, they all can and will appreciate beautiful pictures that have been carefully designed. And if something is not, they will dislike it without mercy. They should never be underestimated just because they are young. Disney and bunch of others have not become popular by being sloppy.
And to be brutally honest, currently your picture doesn't look finished or loose. It looks sloppy and very unfinished. Even IF this would be an illustration in a children's book, it's adults who buy them and adults who you have to impress before the children will ever get to see the picture. So.. it needs work, work and more work, until it looks impressive, without any doubts.
Thank you, both of you. I think it is safe to say far from finished. No real "style" here unless lazy is a style. The slapup paint job in photoshop was to get some idea of colors I might use. I thought some kind of story about little mice stealing the meal bit by bit might be amusing, maybe making a log cabin out of the fries. I don't know what age group, silly grownups more likely. Maybe more a series of pictures,or greeting cards, small prints..... I only have a vague idea of an actual story.
As far as illustrators, I like Neil Gaiman, he's got sort of a loose thing going (going by the graphic novel I remember, an old one) and also recently came across Daniel Egneus (illustrated Little Red Riding Hood cpyrt 2011), working in what looks like ink and wash, Egon Schiele (not an illustrator, wash mediums and oils). I'm looking at The Little Red right now and "loose" is a deceptive term, I would call it "loose" as opposed to tight, fussy, far from what I'd call "photo-real", not "realism", etc.
While "loose" (I can't think of another word), the lines are all going in the right direction and there is definite shape and form and perspective. I think loose may refer to quality of line, where it goes from thick to think and so forth, but still DRAWN correctly. I think I may print out these crits and keep them by my desk! It's hard to work in isolation, my friends are all impressed anyone can draw at all. And the others -- don't see what drawing has to do with "real art" -- what can you say.
Maybe I will get all Jeff Koons with it and do a 6 foot by 6 foot oil on canvas of this just the way it is, sloppy lines and all. Maybe just a six b six foot printout on paper, just kidding. I don't have money to waste on supplies and huge prints. My poor, sad, little picture. It has such a long way to go. I have to admit, it was a throwaway scribble until I scanned it because it was kind of cute and lively. Hard to solidify the details without getting too stiff and suddenly the thing just goes dead. But I think that is the challenge of any picture once you conceive the idea.
Neil Gaiman uses clearly defined structural lines. I'm not sure how you are defining loose, but if you're referring to his light wash coloring, focus more on your values (be sure to keep them relatively light). Then add hue is small amounts taking care to keep the work desaturated.
Look at my progression:
Thank you G|raph. I see what you mean. The light wash -- perhaps that's closer to what I meant. Loosely colored. It's where I go wrong in most of my paintings. I really, really like the light washes, transparent layers that don't stay within the drawn lines. But as you point out, then I need strong values (shadows, the trick to shadows is always paint shadows as light as possible, the lights and especially whites are thicker, opaque, traditional painting anyway.) to make that work. Shadows make me nervous, because I know I haven't drawn in the shadow patterns correctly to begin with (working on that!).
The other thing that happens, is my drawings are usually off to begin with. So when once I'm painting, it all goes very wrong very quickly. I have a hundred and one ways to fix a variety of painting missteps which don't always work and in the end, I lose the transparency I like to much. It would have saved me decades of my time if I had spent more time with drawing. I can hardly compare myself to Van Gogh, but he also painted for may years before he realized he was going to have to focus on painting or he was just wasting painting. I think a lot of artists fall into that. I guess it's a matter of getting a bit of tunnel vision -- I've always liked paint, but I've never had any interest in doing abstract work.
I meant to say Van |Gogh knew he was going to have to focus on DRAWING. You see what a mental block I have about it. I almost didn't get into art school at all because of my drawing. It really wasn't something I had the time to learn once I was thrown headlong into full coursework. We did a lot of figure drawing, but there was more I understood than I could actually put into practice, if that makes any sense.
Great links, very informative. Yes, maybe I should do the picture again in greyscale. I'll have to re-draw it. I'll need reference for the mouse, particularly the feet, and some food reference, although I'm trying to focus on the shapes and shadows more than the details.
I have reference color exercises I did like the one in the tutorial, but I didn't do any exercises with experimenting with different light sources, just some basic color mixing and mixing greys and browns and arranging compliments and analogous colors. Of course, I didn't look at it when I did the mouse picture.
I saw a real mouse the other day in the living room -- eeek, I screamed. It ran. Low to the
the ground, longish thin body, little tiny dark feet, skinny tail, tiny ears. Not cute at all! Short dark brown fur, half grown. So much for drawing from life. It looked like the ugly grey mice they sell in the pet shops for cats to play with.
Consider this just an opinion to ignore if you so desire! I have seen a lot of posts where art is described as "loose", but which seems to be code for "I can't actually draw it any better". Making virtue out of necessity. Loose shouldn't mean "sloppy" or "random", but rather a very disciplined, a conscious choice, where each daub of paint moves the image forward. You can see that in Greg Manchess' work for example; especially his portraits - it is very loose but not only is the face recognizable, but so is the emotion and character of the individual (even the Russian space cat!).
He does beautiful work. In some of his work he paints like spreading butter, but everything so exact capturing the planes and angles. Space Cat is awesome, I've seen it before, I think, but I can't remember where.