Project 2: The Animal, Part 2

Thien Le
7 min readMar 16, 2021


Create a two-dimensional translation of your animal form and its habitat, in color, and on paper. This will integrate original text and imagery to tell a story to the viewer.


Q’s Critique:

While going through everyone’s initial sketches, I jotted down overarching points that I think are important parts to look out for while creating my composition.

  • Level of detail
  • Color
  • Text size and placement
  • Visual flow

More specifically, Q mentioned that I should

  • Work more on the net because the lines are not exactly perpendicular to each other but rather follow the natural curvature of the net.
  • Not make the horizon straight because it would be too harsh.
  • Shrink the boat because it is not the main focus of the story, but rather a supporting element.
  • Ddd more detail to the waves
  • Pay attention to the colors used in the turtle compared to the boat
  • Have less visible lines on the boat and less details overall since it is the background.


For my first iteration, I first imported my drawing into Illustrator and played around with color palettes through a generator to see what colors went well with each other to portray the form of my turtle and its environment.

I didn’t really like many of the auto generated palettes even though many of the colors meshed well together, I just wanted more natural colors, so I decided to use my own colors with inspiration from the colors on the auto generator.

After playing around with Illustrator and learning the actual program, I came up with a composition that I think follows the rule of thirds and has all of the elements that I want including the turtle, sand, beach, and shrimp trawler.

While working on this in Illustrator, I changed a few things so that it made more sense and would fill up the space better. I first added grass in the foreground and middle ground because I felt like the space was too empty and needed to be filled. I also took away the action of the turtle laying eggs because I don’t think that that is the exact story I want to tell. I think if I come up with a better way to visualize that then it would be better.

Turtle: One of my biggest struggles was capturing the form of the turtle. At first, I tried to represent the turtle with as much colors as possible, but I realized that I first needed to capture the different shapes that make up the turtle, so I focused on looking at the bigger shapes and not so much where each color belonged. I also struggled with the details of the turtle’s head. If I were to capture every detail realistically, the viewer would expect that level of detail throughout the entire turtle so I had to stylize it in a way to communicate the nose, mouth, and eye without making it look too real. For now however, I think I am satisfied with how I made the nose and mouth but I’m wondering if the eye has too much detail.

Water: Another thing that I struggled with was capturing the movement and waves in the water without having to use many colors and having too much detail. To make the waves, I stretched ovals really thin and put them together to add some form of depth. I’m not satisfied with them at all because they look to repeated and the colors do not work well together.

To see what font I wanted to use, I tried out most of the ones that we were able to use. The one that I couldn’t find was crimson text. I think that out of all of the fonts, I liked PT Serif the most so it will be what I will be using throughout the project.


Different variations of the colors
I showed this color choice and composition to Connor.

After Thursday’s class, I made some changes to the composition and to the turtle that I think communicates my story better and to visually create more depth. I first took off some of the details in the boat because it is further away from the viewer.

Water: The water is one of the main parts that I changed because it can provide the greatest depth. I felt like before, the water felt very flat and there was no sense of depth because the ripples were all relatively the same size, so with this version, I tried to vary the size of the ripples and change the color to have more contrast. I also intentionally changed the color of some of the ripples to draw the viewers eye from the turtle to the boat.

Turtle: With the turtle, I simplified much of the form so that it’s not as confusing, but I still think that there is more that I can add to communicate the turtle better. Another thing that I changed was simplifying the eye and not having too much detail. I think that because the eye is somewhat realistic and the other parts of the turtle are more simple and stylized so there is a disconnect and it looks kind of weird, so I only made the eye with one color and one shape.

Baby Turtles: I added baby turtles to this composition to try to convey the story that I wrote in my text and to fill up the space more. I’m not completely satisfied with them because I just copied the larger turtle and changed the sizes and directions to see how the composition would look with them in it. I think that with them in it, the composition is much more interesting especially in the lower right corner, but I also want to strike a balance of not having too many elements in the composition because then it would get overwhelming.

Connor’s Critique:

  • The turtle needs more detail because currently, the grass is more detailed and it overshadows the turtle.
  • The orange in the sky is too orange. The contrast is good but too much contrast makes the viewer only look at that and not anything else in the composition.
  • The baby turtles don’t look like baby turtles, they look like turtles that are further away from the viewer.
  • Move the boat forward to create more depth.
  • Make the grass in the back 1 color

Q’s Critique:

  • The title is too large
  • Abstract the baby turtle and make it more baby like.
  • Pay attention to the small details such as the positive and negative space created by the grass, the details in the turtle, and how the grass protrudes from the ground.

How to improve:

  • Because Connor and Q both said that the turtles don’t really look like baby turtles, I think that I need to change the form of the turtle by making the head much larger than the body because in real life, baby turtles have really big heads so I think that by changing that and adjusting it, it will look more like babies.
  • Add more details to the turtle such as the curvatures of the shell, to the flippers, and to the head. This will help to draw the viewers attention to the turtle first because it is more detailed than to the grass which is what I want.


Daphne’s Critique:

  • The yellow doesn’t look like it a form of the turtle but rather as highlights
  • The turtle communicates more volume than detail.
  • Something about the cut in the sand looks off.
  • The grass in the back gets lost.
Process towards the final