Some time ago, I promised Karen that I would post more on this blog. So here is a picture that I recently completed for Illustration Friday. The word of that week was “Heights.”

I’ve been wondering whether expressions on the animals would help or hinder this illustration. Also, for those of you who collage: How do you scan or capture your thicker images without losing clarity in the lower layers?

I hope that you all are well and enjoying this lovely weather.


9 responses »

  1. Woah, see, I didn’t get that the orange things were monkeys. I thought they were three birds perched on a branch. Faces would have helped, but at that angle, I’m not sure how much of the face would show. Perhaps showing some of the monkey’s hands and/or feet so it’s clear they’re not birds or cats? Or using a more easily identified animal, maybe?

    Also, I had a question about scale. Are the tamarins supposed to be smaller than the cat? Is it a house cat or a panther on the ground? It looks like a house cat to me. But, then, the monkeys looked like parrots to me also, so what do I know? 🙂 A tiger or leopard might have been a more clear choice and give you some interesting lines/spots to work with.

    Are the brown things on the sides of the path supposed to be tree trunks? If so, the one on the bottom looks right, but the one on the top doesn’t. The two dark lines closest to the monkeys should be rotated to be closer in line to the angle of the other two. Having them tilted like that makes the trunk look too round for that perspective to me.

    I think collage must be a very challenging medium for clear illustration. It’s hard to show enough detail to make the viewer sure about what they’re seeing without seeming to overwork it. It’s inherently a little abstract.

    I think the piece balances well and I like the color choice. I particularly like the mane-like, feathery bits on the monkeys. They’re pretty.

    • Oh, if they’re monkeys, one of them with a tail wrapped around the branch, prehensile-like might help, if the branch were a bit narrower. Since cats and parrots can’t do that with their tails. 🙂

      • Thanks for your feedback and suggestions, Karen. That’s helpful to know that the animals are not recognizable as they are. To answer your question, these types of tamarins are smaller than the panther (see http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/golden-lion-tamarin/). I was hoping to convey that with the scale. I like your recommendation about wrapping the tamarins’ tails around the branch to make it clear that they’re monkeys and not birds or cats. I thought about giving the panther spots but I thought that might make the illustration too busy. I’ll have to give that some thought. I also appreciate the feedback on the tree trunk. I’ll keep that in mind, too.

  2. I think expressions would make this illustration read more clearly. I originally thought the orange figures were birds, but now I’m thinking they could be cats, so facial features might be worth playing with. Lovely colors and textures!

    • That’s very helpful, Lissa. I meant for them to be golden lion tamarins but I can see why that isn’t clear. Turns out they need some monkey faces! Thanks very much for the feedback!

      • Golden lion tamarins–that would explain their little manes! I love the way you did those manes, by the way. I think the size/scale of the characters works. The small tamarins are closest to the viewer, and the panther is way down below. I felt this even when I was confused about what the tamarins were. Also, interestingly enough, I know you have concerns about the clarity of your lower layers, but because they are a little fuzzy, it looks like the tamarins are in focus (because they are near) and the jungle and panther below are not, because they are farther away. So it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

          • I recognized the perspective from the other post or from your website I think. I love this looking down perspective that is so unique. I guessed birds first. But I think just turning one of the monkey’s faces toward the viewer will fix it, even if its a 3/4 view. The other two can keep looking at the panther. Their feathery manes are beautiful!. As for the abstract composition– it needs something in the right bottom corner, I think. The panther. may need something else. Is he menacing?
            As for scanning collages. I’ve never had a problem getting all the layers. I’ve also just tried my digital camera many times for a great effect. I know artists tend to prefer epson printers and scanners because of their ink quality, but I never noticed a better scan quality. As for me I enjoy making my collages small and then zooming in for the texture. If you are showing a scan of the collage that is much smaller than the original, I think you do lose the detail a little. What detail have you lost on this one? Details of paper texture? Of drawn elements? Let me know, maybe I can try some tests at home myself to give better advice. I know I really enjoy “Hush!” illustrated by Holly Meade http://www.amazon.com/Hush-Thai-Lullaby-Minfong-Ho/dp/0531071669. She outlines her papers in red in this book.

            • Thanks so much for the feedback! Great advice and questions. And I appreciate the book recommendation. I’ll have to check out “Hush!” from the library.

              You are so kind to offer to help. I prefer to create smaller collages for the texture, too! I only have trouble when I make a thick collage (more than four or five layers high). When that happens, any lower layers beneath the higher layers come out looking blurry. For instance, in this picture, the texture of the paper is lost under the tamarins. As Lissa pointed out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing in this picture, but it has been in some others I’ve finished. I think it’s because the top layers rest on the glass of my scanner and the lit scanning bit (I’m super technological) is trying to focus on them instead of the “big picture.” But really, I have no idea. 🙂 I’ve tried a camera before, but I can’t get that quite right, either. Maybe that’s something practice could solve? I really enjoy including multiple layers in my pictures, but perhaps it’s simply not practical if the plan is to scan them for books.


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