View Full Version : children's book illustration. I'm desperate

02 February 2005, 09:38 PM
er hi..

I've been working on this two-page for a kids' book.
The thing is my first draft was fine, but then
the publisher didn't like the colors, and the positions of
the people, and made me do them over. I couldn't plan
ahead at all, the way he wanted it. And now I'm SO desperate,
and what's more it's 4961x pixels in size and it's about 200 layers
in case they need me to alter any details... and my PC isn't
thanking me for it.

It's supposed to be about 30 pierroti and 30 colombinas,
the pierrots holding scissors and snipping away at shiny
pieces of paper held by the girls. The scene is supposed
to be in a well-lit square with a chocolate fountain spewing

It doesn't feel right for me at *all*, and it gets me so down
I can't do anything to rectify it. I just sit and look at it, trying
to work it out. If you have any, *any* suggestions short of
telling me to do it over, please fire away. Color scheme,
general composition, any tips on the stupid horizon? I was
hiding it completely with people in the first drafts, but I
can't seem to do it now.
The ground ought to be stone, and again I've messed it
any clues?
tx in advance..


02 February 2005, 10:06 PM
Maybe using the foreground of the image more would give it a better dynamic sense? Right now the crowd is so convoluted the eye is left looking for focal points.

02 February 2005, 10:46 PM
what a nice picture.

I like the lamps, the sky and the people. It's fun to
look around and see what the people do.

hmm...the chocklad fountain i would change. I would
make the lower part slightly bigger and the walls more
round and thick. I'd also guess children would like the
color of the walls/rim of the fountain more brown, more

You could continue the stairs on the right up and rise
to tall stone wall that would continue down back there
where some would be walls or something already are.

the messed up stone ground...add more chips and cracks,
i dunno ,heh

also the stairs on the right could turn and come a bit closer..

could there be ship masts in the background ? a sea ?

i was thinking of losing all big detail on the right behind that
blue-caped you've done on the left side...

Dunno if any of that is of help but I hope you get the piece done good :thumbsup:

02 February 2005, 12:18 AM
That's a very complicated image you're painting. I can see why having the client change their mind halfway through has caused problems. As I see it there are a couple of problems at the moment:

There are no clear focal points. This is mainly due to the overlapping, brightly coloured figures forming a confusing mass. I know that the square is supposed to be brightly lit, but consider adding subtle atmospheric blue tinting to separate out the different layers of people. This would help to define the profiles of the foreground characters and make them more of a focus. It would also tie the brightly coloured figures in with the evening sky.

The perspective looks wrong. Did you draw a perspective grid to plan out the ground plane and buildings? The angle of the ground, fountain and other foreground elements doesn't match the background buildings on either side of the image. Redrawing the background with a grid would also help you to establish the horizon.

I hope those comments have helped.

02 February 2005, 05:13 AM
Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. There's a tremendous empty space behind the fountain. Is the fountain located in a town square or near the beach? If it's in a town square, there should be buildings all along the right and left of the picture, all diminishing toward a vanishing point in the center of the picture. If the vanishing point is directly behind the fountain then the angle of the rooftops will help to make the fountain the focal point of the picture. If the fountain is by the beach, you can have the sun setting behind the fountain and the rays of the sun would draw the viewer's eyes to center instead.

2. There's not much color unity. Most importantly, the street is reddish, beige, grey or blue. In the background it's hard to tell what is sky and what is street. Best way to fix this is to hide most of your layers and only focus on the street. Simplify -- reddish cobble stone for the street and beige for the buildings. In the characters and the marmalade fountain I see a lot of warm colors. Can you make the sky a fiery sunset with yellows, reds and purples? I think it would integrate the picture.

Hope that helps.

02 February 2005, 04:02 PM
maybe I'm getting there.
I'm not even aiming at a great painting any more..
I'm just trying to make it a decent painting without
eye-popping mistakes.

I'm posting this review along with my thanks to all three of you!
You're really sweet.

I'm still in need of help. critique all you want!
What about atmospheric perspective for example?
Should the warm colours of the sunset make the
far away buildings look desaturated red, oversaturated orange or what? ..
I never was good at such stuff.. The linear perspective
was indeed a mess, but I was getting away with it in my original
drawing. All cleaned up now, I think.
Any objections to the colours? The colour scheme looks weird.

The publisher who hired me overestimated me it seems.. :/

thanks in advance,

02 February 2005, 09:18 PM
Can you give any more insight into the picture? Does it have to link with any other pictures or correspond closely to a story?

Anyway, here's a crazy suggestion so do with it as you will. What if your characters were arranged with respect to the color of their costumes? Characters dressed in yellow would be concentrated around the fountain, followed by red, purple, blue and gray. Obviously some yellow people could mingle with red and purple people, but in lesser concentrations.

As far as atmospheric perspective/light dispersion, I have no experience in painting it. I found this sunset that seems to match the colors you're using:

Looks as though the buildings in the back would be nothing but silhouettes unless lit by the street lamps. I hope that helps. Now I feel like I'm in over my head. :sad:

I forgot to mention that the top of the building at far right looks out of perspective -- angle should be steeper.

02 February 2005, 11:05 PM
Ilikesoup> don't worry you're not over your head. I am... And as it goes, you're having to face a badly programmed painting and try to make suggestions. Which is what I'm facing too, only you're being much much better at it than I am. And thank you for going into all this trouble to help!

I'll give the color thing a try, but only girls are supposed to be multicolored (the pierrots are supposed to be mostly white) and they're supposed to be in pairs, so no color unity. Well, perhaps children won't notice I'm an awful painter anyway, and the publisher loves it as it is -which just makes me feel stupid. But just for my peace of mind I'd like to make this thing *work*

many many thanks again, I will post a better version if available.

the sparky
02 February 2005, 06:16 AM
I really hope you don't mind that I did this, if you do, I'll take it down straightaway, but I have a hard time explaining this without a picture. This is rather sloppy, but you get the idea. ;)

I think it would look better if you added a lot more atmospheric blue to the back, that way the front will be more obvious. I would make the shadows bluer and the highlights oranger. I don't know if that look is what you're going for, but I think the key is to separate the figures in front from those in back, otherwise they get lost.

02 February 2005, 07:39 AM
the updates are looking great
its a little beyond my skill and knowledge to help but it does seem to dark
the characters closest can be lit up a lot more since they are closer to the light poles

02 February 2005, 11:18 AM
you're both right.. I'm still bothered by the composition,
but I guess I'll have to fight with the colors now.

you're so good to have taken the time to illustrate your
idea! tx a million sweetie.

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