Testing the waters…


I’m excited that we will be able to share our work and get feedback from each other now! For a test, here’s an illustration I did last year. Would love to hear your thoughts on my technique. Fan of the colored pencil texture or no. Any suggestions for other media I might try experimenting with this year?

Dancing Lesson

Andi Osiek


7 responses »

  1. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    I love the suggestions about the halter top, contrast, and concerns about the lion’s leg. I also appreciate the suggestions on color and thickness of layers when working with pencil.

    Karen, to answer your questions… it was an Illustration Friday piece for the prompt “Lesson”. My husband and I have been ballroom dancing for 5 years and so I thought it would be fun to depict a lesson between otherwise unsuitable mates. Just a portfolio piece… but I have a whole story in my head about the two of them. Who knows… they could someday find themselves being made into a dummy.

    It definately gives me a lot to think about… not only about this piece… but for future work as well. Much appreciated and I hope to be able to offer you all as much insight as you have given me here.

    Love this blog! πŸ™‚

  2. I love the color, texture, technique with paint and prisma, and especially the expressions on the faces of the characters! My eye is drawn to the expressive faces first! The background buildings and the brick/cobblestone texture has a great “design quality” too. It flows! Pay close attention to anatomy and gesture….
    Anatomy could be a little more expressive. I really like the hippo’s big bottom but I’m not sure how it attaches to her awesome body? Perhaps you could continue the green dress in a halter top type of
    treatment so she is not without a top in front for her fancy dress? Keep her back exposed though, after all, she is obviously “strutting her stuff.” Charming!

    This is a very fun piece and now I want to read the story surrounding these two wonderful characters.

  3. Your compositions are awesome, Andi. It’s like the background and buildings themselves are dancing with the couple. I don’t have a lot of experience with colored pencil so I don’t have much to say specifically about the technique other than this piece is fun to look at!

  4. I love the overall look and feel of this piece, Andi. Nice color groupings and relationships. The hot pink/red shoes, rose, and hearts are nice “look-at-me” hot spots. The green skirt, if a teeny bit jarring, does pop against the overall magenta-bathed image. I believe those important foreground elements would stand out more if the red tile roof would be less similar to the reds in the rose, shoes, and hearts. The same goes for the greens in the foliage…perhaps a darker version of the skirt.

    The exaggerated perspective and non-straight lines, nicely enhance the whimsy and movement. I really like the dynamic angles created by the dancers’ limbs. I do agree with Karen that the lion’s leg is awkward. I think it’s because his knee bends one way, and his ankle another. I really like the lion’s expression.

    I like the colored pencil. The texture is fine, but I would like to see some areas where the texture of the paper is reduced by a dense, heavy application of the pencil. Which brings me to my next point….separation of the foreground characters from the background. I love the shallow space you’ve created with the steep incline of the street, but the characters are so lovely that I don’t want them to compete with the background (which is also lovely) Reducing the contrast and chroma of the background would work, but I wouldn’t suggest doing that because the vibrancy of this work is so appealing. I would suggest really getting in there and selectively create some meaty dark areas that butt up against a light area. You’ve already done this (the dark street between the hippo’s left elbow and the flared skirt; the hippo’s dark left thigh against the light street), I would simply do more of it. For example… the hippo’s right leg could appear darker against the light street. Having said that… I wouldn’t go overboard, or get too heavy handed with the pencil!

    I’ve gone on too long… This is a really nice piece, Andi. I really dig it!

  5. Colored pencil is tough. It can be layered but it’s not easy. The fun dynamism of the hippo is a little lost because she blends with the street.

    Can you boost the color with a color wash underneath or switch to pastels?

    I like the movement of the figures combined with the curves of the houses and street.

  6. What is this an illustration of? I mean, okay. Hippo and Lion dancing in the street, but what was the story it was illustrating? What was the text for the page?

    I like the colored pencil texture. Things look more interesting with textures on the colors, I think. I’ve been doing a lot of digital art, but I like to find a brush that gives some variation to the color, so it’s not too smooth. So, yeah, I like a bit of colored pencil texture.

    One thing about colored pencil is that sometimes it’s hard to get good contrast. I think the shadows under the dancers on the cobblestones should be just a bit darker because the other shadows in the image are darker than that. And there doesn’t really seem to be much of a shadow of the lion against the wall.

    This is probably getting into the nitpicky territory, but the lion’s near leg is a sort of a funny shape. But, then, it’s not exactly a realistic figurative picture, so it’s probably fine. πŸ™‚

    Oh! And *GASP* Is that hippo topless! LOL πŸ™‚

    There’s not a whole lot to criticize because, overall, it looks like a very strong piece to me. Did this get published somewhere or is it just a portfolio piece?


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