So thanks for the suggestion. It takes me a while to catch on to how valuable perception, feedback, critiquing from others is. It's more important in illustration for image to be clear, as opposed to fine art (which I've typically done), which can be interpretive, illusive, abstract, subjective.
Definitely keep those elements of fine art flowing into your work. That's what makes your work so rich and deep.
After typing the following (vvv down there vvv) I looked again at your work and marvel in the strengths of your approach.
You not only illustrate the story point in question but hint at the depth of character and how they live in a larger world... one we want to explore.
And you don't stop at one level of illustrating this narrative but layer in and echo the theme.
And here is where I see some opportunity too... directly relating to clarity.
What if that mouse had his/her own page directly proceeding this page?
What if that pilot and plane had a page proceeding that one?
We can only sample this single page from an imaginary book so we will never know beyond what we see on this page.
There are many of aspects of your current work that are intriguing to me and it'd take a lot of words to explore those.
I'm mainly concentrating on your words to frame my response so please forgive where that seems to state the obvious.
It's more important in illustration for image to be clear, as opposed to fine art (which I've typically done), which can be interpretive, illusive, abstract, subjective.
While awesome in its own way, I think the current 3rd Thursday approach that limits you to a single illustrated page can be more than a little deceptive. The interesting thing being that while your illustration does have to stand on it's own the page doesn't quite take into account what is to be revealed when the next page is turned nor what has come before. Many aspects of the current (isolated) illustration can gain additional clarity relative to those. In the 3rd Thursday entries that aspect still needs to be accounted for. Whether revealed or not (and I assume they never will be) there are no other pages of this story. Those pages exist only in an imaginary world where this page is taken from a real book. This is an important thing to consider because, in a way, you have to consider what will happen next and what has led the story to this point. It's that richness of missing detail that we can't see in the current narrative that is by its very nature interpretive, illusive, abstract and subjective. We simply don't know. That information doesn't exist. So we in the audience MUST create the rest of the story. We have no choice.
This leads us to the element of clarity in what is placed before us.
The artist, writer, illustrator, whoever only has so many lines to connect to tell their story.
Children's books are fascinating to me because they, perhaps more than any other medium, marry words and imagery together where they are often more than just complementary, they are often indistinguishable.
So in similar fashion to what we (attempt to) illustrate in words we layer in additional detail to point the audience to key points of our narrative and to further clarify our story.
This is why I love animation so much.
Keyframes. Golden poses. Breakdowns. Inbetweens.
Silhouette. Staging. Ease in. Ease out. Primary and Secondary Actions.
Clarity... and the ever elusive Solid Drawing*.
Everything is important and works together to deliver the performance but all the while recognizing that not all things are held constantly in focus.
The animator has an advantage in Illustration because what they know can strengthen the work, especially in a single page illustration where many disparate things must work together and (in story-time) share their narrative purpose.
*While Solid Drawing principally speaks to skill and draftsmanship and recreating real worlds in imaginary spaces it goes well beyond that. The concept of 'drawing' is not well understood in this or any other context until one considers well the word itself and it's pulling power of influence. Forms and shapes. Flows and forces. Thicknesses and thinness. The illumination (illustration) of things otherwise forever lost in the darkness...