SCBWI's monthly art challenge for March is Dance. I considered various ideas, but what came out were dancing flamingos. Here's the final product:
But it didn't start out that way. Here are both sides of the (small) sheet of paper I used to brainstorm ideas and then scratch out flamingos in various poses. It got my mind and fingers tingling with excitement:
I liked the idea of showcasing what goes on before dance class begins, so I honed in on the flamingos stretching casually (see bottom of the longer sheet). I realized, however, that a lot of the illustrations I've created looking at a group from a distance rarely turns out as well as I hope, probably because the focal point isn't as clear as it needs to be. So I remembered what it felt like for me when I would look in on more advanced dancers and tried telling the story through those eyes. This is how far I got with this idea:
I didn't finish it, although there were (and still are) elements that I like about it. But when my husband looked over my shoulder, he felt like the perspective was lacking something and suggested an alternate idea. Even though it meant essentially starting over (and it took half a day for me to find a perspective and composition that produced the feeling I was going for), I'm so glad he pushed me to do better because I am so much happier with the final outcome. I feel like the composition, focal point, and characterization are so much stronger. And once I figured all those things out, my first painting was a good starting point for the lighting, color, and textures I used and it didn't take long for me to crank it out.
Which is good, since the deadline to turn it in to SCBWI was fast approaching . .