The Journey Begins Challenge (2D) Entry: Clint Cearley


Clint Cearley is entered in the “The Journey Begins Challenge” update: View Challenge Page

Latest Update: Final Image: Final


I came across the competition about a week ago on vacation. I wish I would’ve noticed it back in Feb, but oh well. I sketched out a lot of little thumbnails playing with different ideas, camera views ect. This thumbnail was only about an inch or two, so there’s not much in it but it holds the general idea of the scene I want.
There’s a city of sorts, built around the subject of books with these really tall stacks of books, one of which the main characters (kids) are on. The kids are being picked up by a guy in a hot air balloon. There’ll be other balloons throughout the image and perhaps other children. They all are heading away to the horizon.
I’ve gone out and found some reference pictures so I’ll be starting on a color draft in a bit.
Good luck to everyone entering,



Small mistake, I first uploaded the image I hadn’t rotated. This should be better :slight_smile:


Sounds like an interesting concept so far! Good luck in the challenge!


Here’s a more fleshed out concept of the scene. I compare this with what I envision in my mind’s eye and I know it needs to be bigger. More space, more heighth and somehow get closer to the characters without losing the essence of what I’m trying to convey. So, it’s OK but it’s not great. I’m going to keep working with it. I also may ditch the pencil, sometimes I find it easier to put down the ideas without having to work from a line drawing first.


Hey there - wicked perspective - will look out for your next one,



very nice sketches and lineart. i like styles like yours :wink:



Although the next post is more relevant, I wanted to upload this to show that I did other color and design concepts. This was some free painting in PS to experiment with angles, city design, colors and lighting.
Rather than approach the scene with a happy storybook feel and colors I want this Journey Begins image to be about the intrigue and mystery of beginning an incredible journey.
So, this image helped me decide several things: need a wider cinematic image for scope; cooler colors to convey mystery; no towers on the image sides that break the scene’s vastness.


At last I’ve reached the image I’ll take to the final. There’s a lot not finished (or started for that matter) but it’s a solid point to work from.
The story behind the scene is this: There exists a group of magical children’s books that when read before going to bed will draw the children into this fantastical journey when they fall asleep. Every night these children appear on the open books at the top of the book towers in the abandoned book city. Every night, the balloons come and pick up the children and they begin the journey away from the cold dreamless city to incredible adventures far away.
Major things to be done:
Children who are climbing into one of the balloons need to be added in the foreground. Numerous other balloons need to be scattered throughout the scene. Detail put into all the buildings (on a book theme).
I want to convey a sense of intrigue and mystery but not danger. I want to capture the anxiety of starting something big that you don’t know how it will turn out. I’m going as realistic as possible with such a fantasical scene. Comments and suggestions are very welcomed.


All the major elements are finally in place, so I guess it’s downhill from here (haha). Need to do some finessing with the children, more wind effect, cast shadows ect. The enviroment is pretty close, still doing tweaking and detailing.


just beautiful :thumbsup:


this is so gorgeous on so many damn levels, awesome man.


Great image. I like the dominant blue-grey-cold color combined with warm point lights all around the scene. And the kids are also gorgeous.

A piece for the price. :wink:



To be honest I thought that the previous image was the final one. It has perfect balance, everything fits and it is simply just right. Its beauty comes from simplicity.

I recon once you added characters the image starts to be too busy. I understand your approach and characters you rendered are realy great, but overall this image seems to be overdone now.

That is obviously only my very personal point of view. Thought I could express my opinion since I greatly appreciate your work :slight_smile:




:slight_smile: :slight_smile: wow…great work Clint

i loved the background and lighting / balloons and the characters are really something.

not sure about the girl in the foreground as she’s looking away from the action which is distracting, but if i’d spent that long working on someone and they looked that great, there’s no chance I would change it…:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I look forward to seeing a high res version so I can see this as it should be… very impressive… congratulations!!


very acomplished this painting and very evocative. i love it. i agree partly with krpolak that the scene has become very busy but i would keep the kids, as they are integral to the story (btw the story is amazing). Maybe get rid of some of the other balloons. anyway, this is an awsome painting, good luck


it looks amazing. the only fib i have with this is the fact hat the background and foreground don’t compliment each other. you blocked the “gods rays” with the children. shame and in my opinion should be changed.


QUILLS, Hanzen, Adonihs and InTerceptoV - thanks for your kind words and glad you’re enjoying the piece!
BTW InTerceptoV, at the risk of sounding dense, what exactly does “A piece for the price” mean?

krpolak - I appreciate your thoughts. Very accurate. I painted the enviroment to near completion before starting the characters which helped me eek out everything I could of the enviroment but it consequently developed it’s own symmetry outside of the characters. Now that they’re in, I need to reworked the balance of things. Hopefully I can bring it back closer to the simple balance of earlier.

MrFreeman - thanks for your supporting words. Yeah, I need to work with the girl some; she’ll be looking directly at the viewer and not down.

domclubb - great you hear that you love it. I have to agree with you and krpolak, simplicity is in order. Balloons are an exellent idea. I put in a lot of them to see how it’d look but now that the kids and lanterns are there, I don’t need as many balloons.

Slav - thanks for your thoughts. I originally had the boy/ladder/basket on the other side of the book but it didn’t balance very well so I flipped it. Now it competes with the god ray, so I might move the god ray farther behind up to shine on that blank spot of land. Maybe that will help with the busyness too.

thanks again to everybody, and if you guys, or girls, have any more thoughts, I’d be glad to hear them and best of luck to everyone. -thePoet


I gotta say man, I would not mind at all if you won this contest. What you’ve got going on is truly amazing. That sense of wonder, that sense of wanting to be there and experience what the children are experiencing is truly amazing. Way to capture a dream! Good luck to you!


very nice!