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Would love some feedback

Liesbeth TonLiesbeth Ton Illustrator, cartoonistLos AngelesRegistered User regular
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum and I'm so excited to have found a place to chat with other artists/cartoonists. I'm a Dutch illustrator and recently I've been doing more and more cartoons. I've been working in a cartoony style for a long time, making greeting cards and calendars but would love to do more cartoons. I'm curious to know what you think of my work and how to improve.




  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Hey @Liesbeth Ton! welcome to the forum.

    There's a lot going on here that's really serviceable. It has that sort of kids illustration/newspaper strip feel to it, which is arguably what you are going for. That sort of opens up the question of how you want to improve. I can tell you to, for example, to learn to draw hands, but what does that really mean in this context?

    You really need to ask yourself what you want in your work, and start making some goals for yourself. Who's work do you admire? What kind of artist do you want to be?

    Right now everything has a lot of energy, I like that. I think you could really be pushing things. Your inks are a bit wobbly, things are in between flat and abstracted and cartoony but having volume. Here's the questions I ask myself when I see your character:

    I need to go in and add resources to our enrichment, but here: If you want to go about adding some form to your work you want to start with drawing simple shapes.

    There are also paper cut out styles and super flat cartoonists, and you can go that direction. I prefer stronger design in those kinds of styles. You may want to look into making your inks more confident, and your expressions much more varied if you want to keep things flat. The biggest thing will be to not let yourself stay in this comfort zone and push yourself to do more.

    LamptynicLiesbeth TonPeastapeslinger
  • Liesbeth TonLiesbeth Ton Illustrator, cartoonist Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    Wow Iruka, this is great! Thank you for taking the time to give such comprehensive feedback. And you're completely right when you say I'm in between things now... I started off with a very naive/childish style and added things along the way because greeting cards and calendars need to look cute too and I wanted more detail. I like the silly hands that I draw though, but I should probably be more consistent if I want to take that route?
    I love this artist

    and I've done lots of model paintings in art school so I think I know what a body looks like. I don't think I'm particularly interested in 3d, I just want to get my message across and I want it to be funny. I want to be able to make my cartoons as quickly as possible (right now it takes me forever and I'd love to do a daily). Any advice or resources if I want to go that way?
    Thanks again!!

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The hard thing about "critiquing" purposefully naive art is that its pretty much all up to your discretion. I would suggest heavily spreading your influence, and at least trying to draw other things, including 3D things, even if they don't reflect in your comic. It benefits you to experiment and not just grind away at one goal, it will expand your mind as to what you could be doing with your comic.

    Sure, you may like the way you draw your hands now, but you may also like the extra expression you get out of just a little more care in the area. Maybe not, but a few sketches exploring it wont hurt. That's the mindset you have to be in to push yourself forward. Be willing to sit down and actually put your pencil to drawing outside of your comfort zone. Copying disney/looney toons are are great way to learn for the masters and learn new tricks.

    Personally, I think Chris Ware probably leads the pack on comics that are super flat but amazingly designed:

    I could list out my influences, but they really aren't as important as your influences. You want to have many, and want them to be varied. The artists that inspire you should bring many challenges to the table, and goals to reach for. I can see the charm of the one you posted, but it seems like a stretch to say that's what you are looking to when you're creating art. Gather up many artists names and start looking at art regularly, it will really help you grow. This thread is mostly broken now, but its a good glimpse into what to think about:

    Speed is a thing that especially comes with confidence, but you may never be fast. If you are struggling to make your work, I suggest some simple drawing exercises like the "draw a box" drills linked in here:
    You can see Scott Robertson explaining a bit here:

    If you draw a lot, and actually practice the motions, you gain a bit of reflex for what you are trying to accomplish, rather than pushing the pencil with trepidation.

    Liesbeth Tontynic
  • Liesbeth TonLiesbeth Ton Illustrator, cartoonist Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    Thank you so much! You're right again, I haven't been looking at others peoples work a lot, I find it hard to do my own thing right after I looked at other peoples art. But I'll go back to the basics and see what it does. Thanks!

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Thank you so much! You're right again, I haven't been looking at others peoples work a lot, I find it hard to do my own thing right after I looked at other peoples art. But I'll go back to the basics and see what it does. Thanks!

    this isn't actually a bad thing at all! it means you're absorbing information, which is great.

    As Iruka says, it's hard to critique a deliberately naive style, it's up to you to find the path that you're happiest with. But regardless of the style you end up using, as a cartoonist one important goal is to be able to approach a drawing new subject, or scene, or angle, or what-have-you, with confidence. Practice will definitely help that, and you should still find that you can circle around back to a naive look if that's where you want to go, just in a more informed manner that hopefully makes things easier, not harder.

    Sounds like you've got a great attitude, can't wait to see more from you.

    tapeslingerLiesbeth Ton
  • Liesbeth TonLiesbeth Ton Illustrator, cartoonist Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Thank you Tynic. It's so hard sometimes to find the time to experiment and study. When the kids are at daycare I feel like I should be making money ;) Looking back after reading your feedback I can say that the times I learned the most is when I didn't have any commissions and did something outside my comfort zone... Thanks girls!

    Liesbeth Ton on
  • Liesbeth TonLiesbeth Ton Illustrator, cartoonist Los AngelesRegistered User regular

    I tried to work with your feedback, making the lines more confident, going for flat in stead of partly 3D (although now that I look at it, the cushion is still sort of 3D I guess) and trying to give more facial expression with the eyes. What do you think?

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Nice! the Expressions work well, I would keep exploring them as it can really make a gag comic come to life. The inks are looking a bit better, but you can keep pushing in that area too, getting different line weights and such.

    I'd also recommend putting gutters in your comic (space between the panels). Its not absolutely required, but they generally denote time.

    Comics without them tend to feel a little crammed, though there are people who make comics exclusively without them like michael deforge, ( This link is NSFW cause boobs:

    He has a lot of negative space in his work though, so it tends to balance out. Something to think about.

    Liesbeth Ton
  • Liesbeth TonLiesbeth Ton Illustrator, cartoonist Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    I love how you make your comments easy to understand with visuals (English is my second language). I was struggling with how to make clear that it's two different situations in stead of a story. That's why I gave them different cloths, but I think the gutter certainly helps.
    I'll try some different brushes that are more pressure sensitive to. Thank you!

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