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April Third Thursday 2016 - Oh Luuuuuuucyyy

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This month's entry for Society of Visual Storytelling


The prompt: "This was a pretty BIG problem. But Lucy was confident. She popped open her magic tool box and immediately found the perfect tool for the fix."


Done with A:M with post processing in photoshop and corel painter to add paper texture, sketchy style and stars.




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Nice! Your unique style continues to shine.


Someone needs to put you to work on illustrating an entire book (or series of books!)



P.S. I can imagine more than a few folks wondering... how did she draw/paint all that hair...


And added:

You know I can't leave without adding my 2 cents. ;)

I think you could have gotten away with turning the bear around so he/she's facing us/the camera as the positioning of characters appears to allow for that.

If looking at her back (I presume this is Lucy) then you could position her a lot closer to the camera (about where the stack of plates are located).

The primary reason I'd turn her around however would be that if it is in fact Lucy then she is a primary consideration of the story cue.

As such we want to see her.


If Lucy is the character holding the skunks then i'd just try to add something to suggest that she and not some other character is Lucy.

As it is there are two likely characters for that role... the pink one is currently getting my vote but the cue related to the magic box and presence of the hat in hand suggests that might be otherwise.

An example of that might be to make the bear more masculine and the pink character more... um... Lucy.

The hat in hand of the bear contributes to my sense that this character is Lucy but the brown color works against this (?).

Ohoh... I'm falling into stereotypical mode here so I'll move on.

In a series of images, as opposed to a single frame, this character identification wouldn't be an issue because we'd either already know without a doubt or very soon see who is who.


Ill add one more.

Initially I thought the bear was spraying the picture frame on the wall.

It might be ideal to move that to the right to leave an open space and to help direct the eye of the viewer (clearly to the character's target... the skunk with minimal distraction).

Anything that would help pop the skunks a little more into focus would help also as they are the BIG problem that is being resolved.


As always, keep up the awesome work!

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Thanks Rodney. Your critique/feedback is spot-on


Yes it is confusing as to which is Lucy. It is supposed to be the bear spraying the skunks. I wasn't even sure that these critters would be recognized as skunks! Nor that the bear looked like a bear!


The confusion probably comes from the fact that when I first started doing this, I was working on a composition that had Lucy being the fox/cat/character. (supposed to be a fox, but I think it's not clear that it's a fox in this version, looks more like a cat).


I had the story in a different setting - a picnic, where Lucy/fox's weapon was the skunks and she was using them to scare away the bears from her picnic spot.


And then I switched to an indoor scenario, making the bear Lucy, who was spraying the skunks. And yes I put the hat in hand to indicate that. And Yes, I too, feel I should have made the bear more feminine looking and showing the face more.


Here is a previous version of the picnic scenario - done in a simpler style (Flat shaded with fakeao only) - which I am now liking better.


I just don't know when to stop experimenting, adding detail. And again, I probably should have gotten feedback before proceeding and changing course.


EDIT: added the transitioning version where I switched, making the bear be Lucy at the picnic, and she is now spraying the skunks




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Thanks for the info Nancy! It's always educational to see how creative minds work.


I love your current take (the one first posted) but I also love the color of the fox and skunks in your last post (the original concept).

That fox's pose and the color... exquisite. I"m glad the pose made it through to the final version.

Ah, if only the fox was sill red and the bear was the one that was pink. hehe! ;)


supposed to be a fox, but I think it's not clear that it's a fox in this version, looks more like a cat


I wasn't quite sure so I didn't guess. ;)


All I know is that someone needs to hire you to illustrate their stories but I must admit that it would have to be a very good writer to capture your level of imagination.

If presented with options such as the two illustrations you've posted I certainly wouldn't envy the editors that had to decide on which stylistic path to take...



Oh.. and... before I hit submit...

The addition of the spray can... and your alteration of the story for that part... adds so much more to the mix.

Inspired thinking.

(The scaring away for the bears with the skunks is funny though!)

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I'm not a graphic designer ( very far from it ) so take this with a truck load of salt.


My only, very slight, criticism would be the placing of the text on the right side of the whole piece.

As it is, it leaves a big space on the very edge, to the right of the hat and above the sprayers.

You need the space and the colour of it to counterbalance the colour and shape of the bear but, might there be a better shape for the text itself and a slightly different colour?


I agree with Rodney that, a book should be a strong possibility.



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Thanks Simon.


With these contests - it's not always clear if one should even put the text in (many leave it out), but from what I understand, it's always a good idea to leave space for the text, to be filled in by a "fontographer-typographer" later.


However your point is taken. If I 'm going to add the text, then I should do a better job of positioning it, for a more pleasing use of space. And don't get me started about fonts. I suck at choosing a font and am completely ignorant about what would make a font a good choice or appropriate (other than readability). A lot of the others will do hand drawn lettering, always blows me away!

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Very nice. I could tell that was a fox right away.


You've got a very distinctive style, I hope you win.

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Very nice. I could tell that was a fox right away.


You've got a very distinctive style, I hope you win.

Thanks Matt, Roger, Steve, David!


It would/will be very hard to "win" in these competitions for me. The people entering their work are mostly professional illustrators, who are INCREDIBLY good and amazing. I am at the bottom. My stuff usually gets critiqued as to not clearly showing what is going on in the story.


I'm learning that Style is not important. Pretty is not important, for children's book illustration. Having a clear focal point and showing the "story" such that it is instantly and easily understood is #1. Composition #2 Rendering style # 3 (or lower). I'm still at the "i jes wanna make purty pichurs" stage. Probably because I love textures, colors, abstraction, and want people to have some mystery in figuring what the image is about. This is not what children book illustration is about. It/I might be more suited for editorial illustration, and personal art.


Usually they choose 1 winner, and as many honorable mentions as they feel like. There are no definite "rules" (they change on a whim) as to winning, and who gets to be critiqued that month.


Mostly the benefit to all is that we get to watch the critiques of different entries - including the winner (in a gotomeeting, and then posted later on youtube). As the instructors say, these competitions should be used to create a portfolio in one's own style. I'm just doing this for fun and learning. I have no intention of trying to do this professionally.


The entries chosen to be critiqued are not necessarily the best, but are usually chosen so that their critiquing will be helpful to the most people. Ie they make more common mistakes.


The winner, and honorable mentions however are personal preferences by the 3 "judges" - Jake Parker, Will Terry, Lee White. Each excellent teachers, artist/illustrators. And after they get done critiquing and making changes, one can see that in most cases they definitely made an improvement to the piece.

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