I've been meaning to make this journal entry for a week now, but I never really had the time. But now here it is
We had a lot of lovely and beautiful entries and it was pretty tough for the judges to decide on the entries they liked best. For the winners, our judges have reviewed your works and have written some critiques. We ask of you to please DO NOT take offense, they are just trying to help. If you have any problems with the judges' critiques, please report to me. I will address the issue. We ask that you head their advice as well considering their words may help you in the future
Also, winners, you may adjust your entries now if there is something you do not like. Report to
if you would like to know what you can improve on. I do ask that you take advantage of this opportunity so that we can have the best result! This also applies to the honorable mention! Although your work may not be featured in the artbook, you may ask for advice! Nyanfood
is one of our best judges and is always willing to give a fair critique. Her critiques are very detailed and are not sugar-coated. So please have an open mind when you read her comments and report to her for completely finalizing your drawing. Below is her basic concept for judging.
"Comment overview for all contestants
For reference, this is my rough judging process:
1) Look through all the images in the gallery quickly. Spend 1 second on each image. If it catches my eye, it means it has strong close-up composition. I open it in another window and proceed with the rest. (1st pass through gallery)
2) Go to the gallery again. Open all strong thumbnail compositions in another window. Close everything else. Weak thumbnail compositions usually mean weak value (darks and lights) distribution. (2nd pass through gallery)
3) Look at all the windows opened.
a. close the ones with the poorest anatomy, perspective, color.
b. close the ones with the poorest rendering technique and workmanship.
c. close the ones that don't make sense within the contest criteria or has weak theme conveyance.
4) Open up the recently closed tabs in order until I have 5 total.
5) Rank in order of "which one would the target audience of the project pay money for to see in an artbook" (since that's the purpose of the contest.)
I have tried to judge on artistic terms, following standards for critique/quality, and as such, I have not decided winners on terms of personal preference. That is to say, I may like your piece more than any other but I did not chose you to place, and similarly, I may very much dislike your piece but I chose your piece to place. The nature of my judging may differ from other judges as it looks purely for how it uses or breaks art theory, and why.
Originally, I had wanted to make a point that when looking at contest entries and judging, I don't care about effort. I care about results. That isn't entirely true. I DO care about effort. However, I don't care how much effort or time a contestant spent on their entry. You could have worked months on this and I still would have judged fairly based on results. That's because the effort I consider shines through in the final product --- not the effort spent on a single piece in the hundreds or thousands of pieces an artist completes in his or her lifetime, but the effort that shows a creator's curriculum vitae. That is to say, what I see is the effort of many experiences, trials and tribulations.
Talent is one thing. Putting that talent to practice takes effort. Those who display their strengths and weaknesses thoughtfully after learning from their mistakes and pushing past the suffering, generally speaking, will produce better results than those who have yet to experience the same. That is why I will judge purely on the results that are placed before me. This is a competition. As such, I do not hand out awards based on individual circumstances. If you have not been chosen by my judgement, feel free to blame your personal situations, your lack of resources, your lack of time. I know I have. Just know that despite all that's happening to you, if you do push past it, if you do make your own resources and if you do make your own time, the satisfaction is much sweeter when you do come out stronger after the fact.
So, as such, these are my comments to my top picks. Feel free to request my critique on your entry, winning or not. I will be blunt. I might be mean (though I will do my best to not accidentally hurt anyone). I will be honest and I will never attack you."
Winners for Wonderland Redesigned
The honorable mention is the fifth entry that made it to the final judging round. This entry was one of the top five and we would like to express our wonderful this entry really is!! Judges have written critiques for you as well! Thank you so much for participating!
"The concept is eerily beautiful, and one of a kind. I absolutely LOVE the choice of fish/life chosen to illustrate here. Alice's hands are a tiny bit jelly-like but it's understandable under the circumstances. A tone/colour difference might help finding the ocean life better, although the current colours give it a deep-moody feel. Nicely done!"
"Beautiful colours were used in this piece, and they take you to a different world of Alice. A whole different world, but the beautiful details added make this piece a true wonderland scene."
"The concept and theme is rather interesting and executed well! You did a wonderful job on all the details and the variation of animals and the dark, underwater atmosphere makes this piece very interesting. The sea creatures, the cards and the various objects look amazing, but the I feel you didn't give enough attention to Alice. The clothing looks great but the skin could be a little more smooth like some of the sea creatures instead of rough. The hair has a wonderful flow to it but I feel her face could use a little more touch ups on the anatomy. "
"My second pick piece. Stylistically speaking, it's not my taste at all, but it's got a lot of strong elements. I think the watch and the cards really stood out to me, because of how well they conveyed distance using a good balance of focus and unfocus. This piece is the most illustrative and reminds me of the portfolio of an illustration student I know. It feels like acrylic paints. After I got past how beautiful the watch was, I noticed the face. The face is great. It's very human and very convincing. She has a lost-in-thought expression and features that I would not consider beautiful but also features that I think she will grow into when she gets older... which brings us to why I chose this piece as my second pick.
Alice looks like a child with tangible expressions and an understandable age. Her mouth isn't the prettiest and she has bland-looking eyes, but that chicken-lipped feature gives her strong character and the eyes would look more elegant on a more mature face, especially alongside the slender nose. Because this Alice conveyed to me a sense of "what if___?" I thought of the possibilities for her future, and thus, in my eyes, I saw a child. Much of this was subconscious and I had to dig in my head to articulate the process and the reason for my certainty that Alice was young.
List of things I noticed:
Really good job on that sea lion's nose. Now render the rest of the piece with similar quality.
Her arms look like jelly. Try to figure out anatomy and body language while you polish.
Don't blend so much! You use a lot of desaturated colors. Blending (like what you did on the arms) KILLS the interest of the not so desaturated colors you chose to put next to the desaturated color, not to mention it makes for a really tacky, sticky-gummy texture that reminds me of dirty oil pastels that got too layered and need to be scraped off with a child's fingernails (my childhood days of art teachers who have no idea what they're doing and told 1st graders to do all their art in oil pastels... the memories are coming back, the horror D: ).
There are some areas in your picture that look and feel finished. There are other areas that feel like you just got started. It's more difficult to hide things as "oh, I'm just trying to direct focus" because you're directing focus for depth using blur on objects that look finished. Since your playing cards are photo-integrated and look crisp, I would expect the rest of the image to at least be as crisp as that and the watch (watch face also looks photo-integrated though I'm not certain here). At the very least, rnder to the same polish as the sea lion's nose or the hooka bottle thing.
Speaking of the hooka bottle thing... it looks reflective, but I don't see an accurate representation of the scene being reflected on its surface.
Look at refs when you do the water bubbles. They look cool right now, but I can't tell how far away they are. Try having them interact with the cards to show depth priority.
The jellyfish (I think they're jelly fish) have no tentacles and look entirely out of place due to not being finished.
In conclusion, good job on a lot of things. Keep pushing on a lot of other things."
4th Place Winner
"uuuugh! I am in love!! I kept coming back to it, my grinning wouldn't stop hahahaha this is serious. The perspective and pose fit to her stunning character. I am really curious as to how she'd become the Queen of Hearts in this story. This piece is the definition of "alternative universe" because of the weird & opposite similarities. It has the same mood, the same fashion, but the inside is totally wicked... on a 2nd level! (since Alice in Wonderland is an already wicked story ) Great light-reds, "dangerous colours" for a "dangerous" mood. "
"What drew me into this image were the beautiful colours, perspective and the original take on Alice. Her expression is something else! A different side of Alice is shown, and it makes me very interested how the story would go with this role reversal."
"The style of shading is very intriguing! It just instantly drew me in and kept my attention for a good while! Your composition is well balanced and you did a great job paying attention to details! Your theme is very original and is an interesting concept. And I seriously love those shoes *^*"
"One of the more interesting concepts from a design perspective. The composition is organic and pleasing, dynamic even though it is a static action. The intent of the image is easily conveyed as a result. Once you fix up perspective and anatomy a bit more, it'll shine through wonderfully.
You rendered the shoes extremely well. They have a believable form and feel the most "touchable" of the elements on your canvas. As such, they are able to support the nearest element that needed the same feeling but cant convey it due to material --- the legs. However, the rest of your image is not rendered to the same quality or thoughtfulness as the shoes. From my personal experiences, I would guess that you had a lot of fun shading the edges. They're not as overwhelming as how much you have to do for all the other elements of the image.
You have inconsistent lighting. It's difficult for me to understand the nature of the lighting since, while they all come from the same general direction, some objects follow the lighting's direction and others ignore it, then there are objects that are just slightly off in terms of shading or position. More noticeably, there is no variation or gradation of intensity of the lighting. In an illustration with a plain background, this might be okay, but in a scene, it looks glaring where objects don't cast shadows in the right places ad have highlights that don't belong on them.
Because of how lineless-looking your art is (your line art is very thin), this becomes a matter of great concern. Art with thicker lines can really rely on the lines and line weight (variation in line thickness) to convey a sense of space or depth. Because you don't have that, you have to rely heavily on how you shade and color. If that is weak, your composition collapses, no matter how dynamic and interesting it is. It will help if you pick a method between soft cell and hard cell, without using one as a crutch for the other.
For that reason, this image will be alright if it stays in digital media. However, all the inadequacies of your craft will show through more strongly once that digital image goes to print. That is a matter that cannot be overlooked when drawing for a position in an artbook."
3rd Place Winner
"There wasn't a second where I would "consider" it or not. This piece deserves to be one of the winners. It has one hell of an impact! This "out of the world" take on Alice is just awesome!! Not only because I am a fan of the shading or colouring style of this piece, but ancient Japan is one of the most less-likely places to find the mad tea party... and it is mad, completely mad in the Japanese way! The characters have such unrivaled charm! Love how you can sill spot who is who after being transformed to such degree. Delicious. I will sit comfortably in this chair and laugh the whole night, thank you! "
"This piece is very captivating, it makes me want to join the tea party with this mysterious man! I love the artist's take on the characters, and she made it even more her own with the Eastern elements."
"This is personally one of my favorite pieces due to the wonderful use of colors, character design and your overall theme!!! There's so much wonderful and subtle detail, I couldn't stop starring at it! Even the thumbnail intrigued me. I only have a couple problems: the anatomy on Alice could be a little better, I'm not sure. Her head just seems a little off to me. And then concerning perspective, the White Rabbit and Alice also seem a little off. But other than that, this looks absolutely beautiful!"
"It looks like you worked from grayscale. Nothing wrong with that. I see a lot of hints that it was done from grayscale, such as patches of desaturation where it would have been great to create some form of focus or interest through bits of saturated colors. The trees and grass are brilliant and lovely. The tableware are beautiful and contrastive. I could go take a shot of only the table and be satisfied. Overpainting with more handpicked colors will help you bring out focal points and guide your composition.
It seems like the figures in your piece were less interesting to you artistically speaking, even if they might have interested you more conceptually. The detail you put into the further characters is the same as what you put into the closer characters, but in doing so, you destroyed the depth you were trying to create. In your current lighting environment, closer characters need to be more detailed (in terms of brushstroke sizes) in order to appear as detailed as characters further away. Since you use the same sized brushes to deal with Alice, a closer character, as you did the Mad Hatter, the furthest away character, you've made Alice far less detailed than the Mad Hatter in practice, and the beautiful grass strokes don't help your cause here for the same reason.
There is that other thing... about horizon lines. Watch this video.
You can also simplify things by having the horizon line run through the same horizontal level of people's body if they're the same height. For instance, no matter how close or how far someone is, if he is the same height as someone on the picture and the horizon line passes through someone's chest, then the horizon line will pass through that person's chest too, since the horizon line is almost like a calibration line for height. Then you just draw shorter people hanging lower and taller people hanging higher.I can demo this for you if it's confusing. Just poke me about it.
One other thing. About hair. Think of hair as one entity with sections that separate from the whole rather than many entities being bundled together as one. Many entities being bunched as one makes the hair look like it hasn't been washed in about a month (grease clumps ew). Don't section them off so individually from root to tip and you'll have much more depth for the hair.
There's a lot of other things I can say but some of them are probably things you already know. I tried to mention things that I saw consistently difficult to you in your gallery. I know you can push your quality further, just by looking at your pieces there. You probably know that too.
2nd Place Winner
Originally this piece was tied for first. However, we needed to do a second vote and this is the result
"This is really well put together! Very dynamic and adventurous. It gives a new taste to the story.
"The artist has created a really fun piece, and a world of Alice I would love to explore! Alice is going on an adventure, and the details that have been put in all but compliments that."
"This piece looks so intricate and fascinating! The White Rabbit looks adorable I really like the shading and the interesting and abstract way of doing the background! Your composition looks great and you did a very nice job on managing your space."
"My top pick. In terms of composition, color composition, dynamics, value distribution, and rendering technique, you are far stronger than the majority of the contestants. Your piece jumped out both in the first gallery pass and the second gallery pass I used to choose preliminary contenders. The area you did best on is the white rabbit, which became more of a focal point for me than the rest of the image simply due to the amazing quality.
When zoomed out, this image looks much better, but when I zoom in, I can almost tell that you ran out of time. Rather than take care of unifying the composition, you simply tried to get things done. The white rabbit had the best quality. Then the Queen of hearts, followed by a tie between the Mad Hatter and Alice, then in last place, the Cheshire Cat, whom you put together with little to no regard for composition unification.
Be careful how you render, as your style drifts when you try to simplify the task. While the white rabbit looks semi-realistic, the inconsistent covering of your line art, your use of photo-integration gradients, silhouettes and transparencies creates roughly 3-4 different styles running rampant through your piece. That approach DOES work in many circumstances. It almost worked for yours too, except what it does is makes the viewer look for the other little details and differences, leading them to your weakness --- you can't decide if you're neat or messy... to which, it's easier to see it as "she copped out because she ran out of stamina/time" instead of "she's trying to put together several different rendering styles." It's okay to work with different rendering styles. Just try to stick to no more than two in a single piece (Transistor's concept art uses 2, and it screams out like nuts with just those two, making it really hard to balance). One is best.
Here's a few notes for random things that I noticed. Some of them are criticisms. Others are not.
The ring attachment to the pocketwatch is rimmed in white. That makes me feel like it is made of glass, not metal. also, the gear for winding and setting is not attached to the watch in a way that will allow the watch to wind or set. It's completely separate, and it doesn't make any sense why it's that way.
You use soft lighting for some parts, hard lighting for others. It reall takes away from the ability to be dramatic. The only two characters with lighting that work together is that of the rabbit and the Mad Hatter's face + right hand. The Mad Hatter's face and right hand and the Rabbit look like they belong in a single scene. The rest.... don't..... and while that's totally cool, if you check out other similarly positioned splash art or cover art for professionally produced work, there's still a reason to the madness. For examples, the light comes from the outer bounds of the canvas rather than take on a single direction, or the light shines from below for everyone except for the person in the foreground.
The Cheshire Cat's arm looks like it's bent funny since at the elbow, you change the perspective on the stripes for the forearm to make it approach the audience, then quickly change it again to receed from the audience, making the arm bone look like it's curved like a C. It looks really uncomfortable.
If you're going to use the painterly style, do it for the smoke and the lace too. Don't just airbrush them. Right now they look really incomplete.
The red cape of the Queen and the red jacket of the Mad Hatter are really melding together. It kills the depth that's going on so well with the Queen's dynamic flow. Also, your cards don't cast shadows on each other. Going back to the lighting comment, figure out the reason, and if you can't then just find yourself a rhyme, and if you can't find a rhyme at least don't YOLO.
Remember that if you win, this will be for print. Those color burn effects with the sparkly stuff... that's going to need polish to look good in print form. (but they ARE very good for drawing the eye around the composition for flow)
That should be about it. If you win your place in the artbook, I do hope you will go above and beyond the call of duty and polish things up. This piece has the greatest potential of all the pieces I saw in the contest which is why it is my top pick and why it receives the bulk of my commentary. Push that potential forward so it stops being potential and becomes great success.
1st Place Winner
"This piece of work is really gorgeous. It is a very calm, peaceful and dreamy take on the story. I'd love to visit that "wonderland" someday. The colours are superb, one of my favourites. Personally I would've preferred for the middle of the piece to help out bring the character to us, rather than settle her below the ground line, since it's such a lovely composition. "
"Holding true to the theme, the artists has created a magical world I would love to get lost into. The concept is amazing, and the beautiful colours and overall rendering really compliments the idea of Alice's own dream world."
"This piece is absolutely beautiful in color and the theme is original and well executed. My only problem is that I wish their were more ways to tell that this is a tie in to Alice in Wonderland. I don't see many Alice in Wonderland aspects in it Your shading is gorgeous and the marine life mixed with the space-like theme makes this piece so surreal and fun to imagine as a wonderland "
"This piece deserves a first place. Her idea of Alice in Wonderland as an observatorium is unique. Even her choice of colors in the overall piece is spectacular. I can see that she pour her heart into making this masterpiece. "
"My third pick. Probably my personal favorite in terms of concept, even if the concept would not be considered strong from a critical perspective. Nice colors with a good balance for vibrancy. Your coloring style is unified and is refreshingly clean as far as I can see.
Please read this, starting with where your horizon line goes in 3-point an when you're supposed to use 3-point.
If you were just trying to do 2-point, please read this:
I can't tell if you're trying to do 2-point perspective, 3-point perspective, 4-point perspective (fisheye), or if your buildings are just extremely unstable and the floor is abnormally sloped. This is extremely disconcerting when it comes to your bookshelves, which don't even make sense within the rules dictated by the inaccurate rendition of your perspective (that is to say, they don't make sense even if you were following the inaccurate rules established by the floor and the pillars).
Once you work out the perspective, please consider the rule of thirds or the golden spiral. I have them in the below readings. Yes, they use photography as examples, but this works for any form of visual art, even sculpture in the case of the golden spiral.
If you say "I'm still learning," good. Keep doing that and polish this to publishable standard. Since it's a clean style, it should print nicely compared to many painting styles, which are more difficult to do for print simply due to the nature of brushstrokes. Perspective is difficult to understand, even if you learn the process. I hope to see you push your understanding of space and structure until it becomes second nature."
I'm very happy with the way this contest turned out and I hope our second one will be even better! These winning entries deserve all the love they can get! Thank you to everyone for participating in this contest and thank you to the judges for your help as well
And a HUUUGGEEEE shoutout to the donators for giving such wonderful prizes!!
At this time I would like for the winners to contact me and let me know when you receive your prizes. When preorders start I will contact the winners individually to see if you're still taking up the off on the discounts. The discounts will only apply to the book itself and not the full tiers. So if you decide to purchase a tier that contains preorder extras, the discount will only apply to the book.DONATORS: I expect you to be responsible and contact the winners about the prize(s) you owe. Let me know when you do.
Below are entries that were all picked by judges in the first round. I'd like to give a little shoutout to all of them considering they were each chosen by at least one judge