Laura Diehl's WIP Thread


Note: This is an ongoing work-in-progress thread. My latest image updates will always appear last. Critiques, comments, and paintovers on my current project(s) are most welcome. With visual “corrections” to my image (paintovers) please feel free to post directly in this thread. Thanks!

As I have not had a WIP thread since the demise of Enayla’s EK, quite some time ago. And as I am now embarking on a series of images (one for each chapter of the YA book I wrote, 34 total + a cover), I thought it might be a good idea of start one. I will try, as I go, to post progress shots. Along the way I welcome critiques, comments and dialogue. Please, please, if something looks “off” to you, or if you have a good idea as to a direction an image could take, let me know. Paint-overs are also quite welcome, as they often get the crit across better than words ever could.

To start things off I have the first few steps of the image that will eventually illustrate the first chapter of my book. In this image the main character, 5-year-old Egan, is reading a note from the forest spirits in his fort beneath the roots of a giant mist-fir tree.

First sketch (there was a preceeding thumbnail -I didn’t scan that though):

My little brother modeling:

“Clean” line art:

A bit of color underneath the lines:


the focus of the eyes seems a little bit strange to me. It looks more natural in the photo where he is actually “reading” the paper. I am not sure about your intention so maybe I am wrong :slight_smile:


johanflood: Could it be the lack of shadow that’s giving the eyes a weird read? I mean, in the photo the eyes are really shadowed, and in the WIP I’ve not done much of any “3d” shading yet…


I worked on it a bit more, especially the lighting.

Additional work on his face. Does he look five-years-old?


I think the irises are too small, the eyes would be too far apart but it looks kinfd of nice. :slight_smile:

Nice image, very old school illustration feel to it. Like comic books.


jmBoekestein: Or are the eyes themselves too small? One eye length between is the usual, correct? I’m all about the old school. Hopefully it will look like an old school Hildebrandt when I’m done :wink:


Yeah could be, either too small or too far apart. I notice on my own eyes I don’t have a lot of space between the side of my face and the outer corners of my eyes. I’m somewhat skinny, but in that respect I think you’re right, they should be a bit wider. In relative size you could increase the iris’ size by two. :slight_smile:

It’ll be great I bet.


I think the ears are too low for the tilt of the head - they would be higher and that’s making the head not tilt the way you’re wanting it too.

He doesn’t look five yrs old because his proportions are that of an adult. His head would have to be bigger and his limbs shorter to look five. The proportions of his head are also adult since the eyes are small and the bridge of the nose is long. I know - different kids will look different, but when illustrating, you’ll probably have to adhere to some generalizations re: proportion for small kids or the age thing won’t communicate itself. His legs are very long for another thing.

I’d say this boy looks about 8-10.


Nice work

You have such a wonderful sense of rhythm in the line drawing - be careful not to loose it beneath the rendering.

I love the branches in the top of the line drawing terrific organic feel.



Thanks for the crits guys =) I got a little more done on his face today. I think it is an improvement over the previous at least. Well, I’d best get back to studying Astronomy…


Yes that’s really nice. I still find his pupils to be a tad bit small actually, maybe ad 25 % in size? Well anyway great progress. :slight_smile: Going to be a nice pic I think.


Really stellar so far, the last update really added character to the child’s face. I’m also really digging the lighting and color scheme.

I love the direction your going with this, keep at it! :thumbsup:


WOW! amazing on the face. I love how painterly it looks. I’m workingon an illustraion myself, and that’s how i was trying to get it to look, but i can’t. Great work.


I got a few more hours in on the blanket and clothes (both still need a lot more work though).

jmBoekestein: Just did, thanks for pointing that out.

Knilblink: Thanks, I will =)

BlueNyte: Painterly hmmm? I like painterly…


I love the hair, it’s beautiful.
As for the eyes, I think the first go looked a little better cause it still had that young look to it, although I think you should just make the white part a little bigger and, i duuno, just make the parts of the eye more obvious, and be sure to include all of them.
I liked your first version of the eyes better also because I think the lips and cheeks looked better, his cheek bones are too prodominant in the second one, and the lips are lkind of puckered. makes him look alot older than 5.
I also liked the blonde hair better, but considering it’s your brother nd he obviously doesn’t have blonde hair…oh well.
as everyone has said, great work. I’m really glad I stumbled upon this wip


More work on the walls, map, and pine-needle covered floor. All are still rough.

aldog: Simply put: this is Egan as I envision him, the other was not =) But I do see where you are comming from.


looks pretty good so far …i like how you did face and hair :smiley:

you should work now on the blanket … put some more or bigger folds in it … some that cover his body a little bit …as to give his place some cozyness, the blanket should envelope him more. When you look at his feet they seem to be floating in the air … do it like in the photograph of your brother … make a fold that goes to the right and covers up his foot a little bit. Right now all the folds com from the center where he is sitting … it looks like its being sucked into a hole :slight_smile:

other than that its coming along great …at least for me :smiley: :thumbsup:


Got a few more hours work in on it, mainly the light, pants, and boots.

Vahn: You have a good point about the folds. I did that a little in this version (I hope to do more of it later.)


Got another three hours in on detailing/cleaning -mostly the roots and dirt wall. It’s getting close to being finished ( I need to revisit the figure with more detail and clean him up a bit more).


Thanks all. Please see the finished version in the 2d forum here: