Illustrating an Idea

I struggled to decide whether I should make this post, because I am not entirely happy with how my illustration turned out, and the layout of my website showcases feature images—I didn’t want to “ruin” the look of the page. But I’m pretty sure at some point on this blog I’ve talked about enjoying the process over having a perfect finished piece (or at least thought it). And, even if I eventually return to this illustration and improve it somehow, I wanted to share this stage of the project with you.

I didn’t take progress pictures, because I wanted to fully immerse myself in the project. I drew a pencil outline, and then traced over it with a fine Sharpie and added color using Tombow brush pens. I really like the color combination, and I feel like I get the idea across (the official title is “The Music Lesson.”)

Without going into too much detail, I wanted the student looking up at the teacher (out of frame) for approval, and to be loosely realistic with the details.

The first drawing looked like this:


I had some issues with the face, because of bleeding from the Sharpie, but other than that (and the slight diagonal tilt of the piano keys), I was fairly happy with how it turned out. It’s about 4x5in.

Honestly, my second attempt was supposed to be much larger, but I ended up with only about 5x8in. The next time I attempt it—because I think I will—I plan to really take a go at the larger size, which I can dictate with the pencil outline before I start in on the marker. I think I may have shied away from enlarging because it felt weird to draw little circle fingers super large…But I think I will have an easier time with facial features in a larger format.

Anyway, back to the illustration. Here is the second drawing (it also has white around the edges but I cropped it a little to match the size of the other one):


There are things I prefer about this one, and other things I don’t. I think the shorter piano works better and maybe the expression is a little closer to what I was going for. The colors blend nicely and the sweatshirt seems to be a bit of an improvement, but the arms are at a more awkward angle, and the hair looks less realistic.

I had a lot of trouble deciding which one to use as my feature image!

Please don’t count the piano keys.


Which one do you like better, and why? What do you think of this attempt at a new style compared to my other work? I would love some feedback for this project.


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