Can I get some advice/critique on my work/style etc

I have been feeling like I am in a bit of a slump lately and have not really been totally pleased with the work I am producing. It has been between 5-6 months since my last print here and I have only had one Woot print in a similar timescale.


So what I want to know is:


~ What you dislike/like about the recent submissions.
~ What I can improve on.
~ What would you like to see me try.
~ What have you been scoring me lately and why.


I appreciate it if any of you have the time to share your opinion, no need to sugar coat it let me know what you think.


Thanks guys!

Watch this
chuckpcomics
chuckpcomics profile pic Alumni

i wish i had this problem to be honest.....36 prints dude! and more on the way! I think your still great but others are getting there dues, baka just got her 1st print and so did gebe! they deserve way more! but I would say focus more on your concepts maybe, some im crazy about, some im not. but dude I looked at your first sub compared to your newest, and there is humongous improvement! great job on that! I would also say maybe focus on less designs as well...puting all your effort into less designs will make them better! thats just me, all the best to you! :)

Jake Friedman

I agree with a lot of Chuck's comments. Perhaps adding backgrounds to your designs can provide more depth. Otherwise, just keep on making conceptually strong work, because your ability to render is not the problem.

TheInfamousBaka
TheInfamousBaka profile pic Alumni

All of your submissions are 4-5's for me. The ones that I 5 are usually the weird/artsy ones just because that's what I personally like. Your line work is always wonderful and your ideas never fail to be clever or funny, which I think is one of your greatest strengths.

As for improvements, hmm.... Your characters could be a bit more dynamic. A lot of them look stiff and there's not a whole lot to look at. Which works for your style, but it would be nice to see you change it up once in a while and do more like this one.

There's a lot going on, it's fun, it's colorful and it's not so straightforward.

This is just me nitpicking because obviously what you've been doing has been working, but perhaps you should challenge yourself more.

jeffreyg
jeffreyg profile pic Alumni

take your time and develop your concepts, you lazy bum

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

Hi Aaron, well done on putting yourself out there. Yeah, slumps are down heartening, but they're also the perfect time to take stock and make adjustments.

Just to let you know where I'm coming from, I played poker for a living for a number of years, and there's an apt analogy to be had there, in that you often experience slumps, so I feel as though I have some expertise here.

So the first thing you should ask is, are you responsible for the slump at all? Keep in mind, it's just not sensible to think that you should be able to consistently land a print month in month out, no matter who you are. It stands to reason then, that after a number of years and prints that anyone ought to experience a lull in prints.

In my opinion, the quality of your artwork is unquestionable. I simply cannot see in how anyone could say that you shouldn't print because the art is sloppy, so lets throw that off the table.

What you're left with then is your concepts and how you apply your talents. Just going off a brief look at your previous designs, I've noticed that while your skill continues to improve, the variety of your work has declined. You used to try much more complex designs, whereas now, especially lately, the bulk of your designs consist of one or a few characters and no background.

I think taking this approach, it would seem likely that you'd get fewer prints, only because there are only so many simple cartoony prints like this to go around. Add to that your 36 prints, you can't trade on your style alone anymore. Of course I'm not advocating you should throw away your style, I'm just saying that Threadless and their customers are used to it by now. Also, since you're such a popular artist here, so many people are emulating what you do and are thus making similar designs, so the competition for those coveted cartoony prints is increasing also.

To answer your specific questions, what I've always liked about your designs is that they're easily recognisable, cute, often have a neat concept, and are very wearable. What I don't like so much about your recent subs is that they're all very similar in scope. In that capacity, my only suggestion would be to throw in a few more pieces like 'Thoughts' and 'Just one more cup', and to do some more 'complex' designs as well as your simple ones.

Also I agree with Chuck that you have a bit of an assembly line approach, churning out designs in huge numbers, whereas, I actually think you might have a better chance of printing if you spend more time developing something truly funny. A randyotter design with an absolutely killer joke/pun is, for my money at least, practically a guaranteed print.

And I always score your stuff between 3-5, depending on how funny I think it is. I hope all this gives you at least something to chew on.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni

Oh and yes, Tiff pointed out something very important. Challenging yourself.

When was the last time you sat down with a concept in your head and thought, "I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do this... or if I even can."?

I think all of us should regularly tackle a design that puts us in this position.

AnthonyMoore

Out of your recent submissions I like Pizza Pirate, Thoughts, Mouse Trap, Colombian Coffee and Just One More Cup the most (scored them 5's and 4's). Others like T-bone, Dunce, Drunk, and I'm delicious don't appeal as much to me (scored them mostly 3's), but I could see how they would appeal to others (which is why I didn't score them too low). You will have that with any design though. I tend to like your designs that are clever and funny (and incorporate subjects that I already like--like pizza or animals, haha) or I like Thoughts because it's just your awesome style with great color and composition. My advice would be to just keep doing what your doing. Keep up the quality with the quantity, and you're bound to get another print. I still think they should print Barn Owl or Growing Up Fast and reprint Just Quit Smoking (I also agree with Baka about that design she posted, it's rad). Obviously, this is just my personal opinion, and I wouldn't have gone into such detail if you weren't one of my favorite artists here.. So, out of all that, I guess I could have just put keep churning out great, clever, and funny designs.

JIMDAHOUSECAT
JIMDAHOUSECAT profile pic Alumni

I have a wide scoring margin when it comes to your work however more often than not they hit the 4/5 range. From my experience, I think when you try and submit a mass amount of designs at once the concept of a few doesn't come across as strong as others. My favourite design you have up at the moment is the "Just One More Cup". The concept and the artwork is outstanding.

I can't comment on your style because to me it's flawless. Your line work and shading is so tight. I would cut off my left testicle to have a style as good as yours. I think a great direction would be to collaborate more. I'm not sure if that would create more prints but your strong execution + a strong concept should be winning formula.

I would like to see you try using different media rather than purely digital. Even if you feel that you don't have an idea for the Mixed Media comp I think that it'd be refreshing to see a design that isn't mostly digital. Oh and I do believe our collab is still pending ... * wink wink *

ChrisDB

Hey man, so I think for the most part, your work would get a 3 and up from me. I usually score 3s for good idea/art, 4s for excellent idea/art and 5s for tees I would actually buy. All your subs that are currently scoring are 3s for me, with the exception of 'Thoughts' which is a 4. At one point I got really bored with your stuff because it seemed like you would draw every single pun or clever-ish word play that popped into your head. Yes, you were definitely cranking them out pretty fast and with that much input, you were sure to get back some returns. But you've begun to overly simplify and already simplified design style. So now with sub par concepts and sub par (for your abilities) designs, you're struggling. I hope that wasn't harsh. I feel like an idiot saying these things to someone with 36 prints!

gebe
gebe profile pic Alumni

my advice is to focus more on the concept and less on the amount of design! is the only thing I could recommend to you! I don't know if it's useful, but before arriving at 1 concept, I have to reject 9!

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni
melmike said:I've noticed that while your skill continues to improve, the variety of your work has declined. You used to try much more complex designs, whereas now, especially lately, the bulk of your designs consist of one or a few characters and no background.

This really. I love your style, and when you hit on a good idea that combined with the adorable characters you draw is really smashingly adorable and hilarious. But I have found that recently my instinctive reaction to your pieces has gone from 'AHAHAHHAAWWWWW SO CUUUUTE!!!!' to more like 'Oh yeah, that again.' I mean an edible thing eating itself is only gonna work so many times, dunno.

This is of course double-edged advice to give since a lot of people on the web seem to be drawing great success from what to me looks like doing the same thing over and over again, with small variations. And you have certainly had amazing success so far. So I'd just join the chorus and say I'd love to see more exciting pieces from you - more elaborate settings, more characters, more demanding concepts. I know you can do it :)

I usually score you between 3 and 5, depending on the aww factor and how clever the particular design feels.

randyotter3000
randyotter3000 profile pic Alumni

A huge thanks to everyone who has taken the time to give me some advice. I appreciate the reality check and hopefully I can get back on course. I guess with the over saturation of designs similar to mine it becomes time to diversify to increase chances of printing. I also need to improve my concepts, perhaps run sketches past the forums and only do the best ones. The catch is trying to do more work to get a print but then not getting a print because I'm doing more work which is watered down.

macdoodle
macdoodle profile pic Alumni
randyotter3000 said:

A huge thanks to everyone who has taken the time to give me some advice. I appreciate the reality check and hopefully I can get back on course. I guess with the over saturation of designs similar to mine it becomes time to diversify to increase chances of printing. I also need to improve my concepts, perhaps run sketches past the forums and only do the best ones. The catch is trying to do more work to get a print but then not getting a print because I'm doing more work which is watered down.

Perfectly put! Use your best judgement as it seems to be working for you. If only I had your "problem" :D

TheInfamousBaka
TheInfamousBaka profile pic Alumni

They definitely look like you spent more time on them. I especially love your ThreadDuels entry, that little mouse is adorable. And it makes me think of MouseGuard which is one of my favorite things ever.

nikoby
nikoby profile pic Alumni

Your new batch looks great and it definitely looks like you put a lot of effort into it. I like the amount of subtle detail. It add's to the level of finish but doesn't detract from the main message of the design. My favorite is the fish, the textures making the light glow look really nice.

BeanePod
BeanePod profile pic Alumni

Pretty refreshing seeing someone like yourself who has enjoyed the success you have had here really put yourself out there like you have. To me it just shows you are still hungry as an artist and not willing to stay complacent. To be honest it would be nice to see where you could go while continually evolving your existing style.

Anyway, best of luck.

melmike
melmike profile pic Alumni
BeanePod said:

Pretty refreshing seeing someone like yourself who has enjoyed the success you have had here really put yourself out there like you have. To me it just shows you are still hungry as an artist and not willing to stay complacent. To be honest it would be nice to see where you could go while continually evolving your existing style.

Anyway, best of luck.

this. so much this.

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

I wish you wouldn't submit your work on bunches like you do, You basically put one of your subs agiants the other instead of letting us appreciatted them on their own. I love how much you have improve and how much you have accomplish

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