My boss didn't find it (images are at bottom) perfect. Although he couldn't explain it specifically, but he gave an hint about light / color tone / background and sky related problems.

After talking a lot, when I said I don't notice any specific differences with the past works, he said he also can be wrong (since he is not an art director or designer). It put me into doubt whether I really created something bad or it is just my boss's misunderstanding.

Since there's no senior designer in our startup, I really couldn't help myself asking it here, just to get a feedback.

Here's the edited photo & reference that is under question:

enter image description here enter image description here

Here are 3 recent works that were improved:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

So, given all that, what do you think about it?

Note: We use 3 colors for sketched characters: Purple, Orange and Green (You will notice them in designs).

EDIT: By these works, we just convey a message similar to: Wherever you are, there's someone to connect with you and become friend. But my question is more about visibility, not the message here.

  • What should be the focus of these illustrations? What message are you trying to convey? Please edit to give us a more details.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 10:37
  • 2
    The choice of colours is subjective. There are no right or wrong colours.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 10:59
  • @Luciano I would like to know if you can also give some hints to improve the message. But my original question is more about visibility. I've edited.
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:04

4 Answers 4


I simply feel you've got a couple proportions incorrect.

  • You've "fattened" his head making it seem too large
  • You've rounded his left jawline, weakening the typical "male squared-off" jaw.
  • You've also "fattened" his right hand and forearm, making it seem like a "sausage"

So, you've essentially made him more feminine and fat.

These items all lend to the perception that something isn't "quite right" without being glaring "errors". It's more a facial recognition thing with humans, that's all.

Redlines indicate the photo edges, which are well within where you have those edges drawn. Art overlaying photo at 50% and scaled to match size.

enter image description here

Because you are actually tracing a photo, physical size of the models is fine and realistic. It is merely that you've erred slightly with some body size issues on the male.

The biggest issue is the change of the male head shape. That immediately alters the instant perception of the image. In general, men have more square jaw lines, women have more pointed jawlines. You've given him a much more pointed jaw weakening the whole "male" aspect overall. And due to the rounding of the jaw made him seem ~20 years younger which makes the "couple" aspect fail slightly - the art seems more like a mother and child - rounder jaws in men ca be an indicator of age at times. Children often have rounder head shapes and they become more gender-defined as people age. It is often helpful to be aware of these types of "perception guides" when creating figures.

  • Oh :O How did you even notice that? I guess correcting it will make it little better. I'll also confirm it in Photoshop and will respond to this answer.
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 17:17
  • @Danielillo are you seeing this? :P
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 17:18
  • 2
    The "fat head" stood out to me. It merely took confirmation to see that it was indeed the wrong shape. Really that rounded left jawline does as much to degrade the head as the increase in width does.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 17:19
  • 1
    @VikasKumar :-D I try not to get my answers into drawing or particular design subject, I just go to the generic. If I had to talk about drawing, the four ads are totally incorrect. As an example, the amputated fingers of the boy who eats pizza ;-).
    – user120647
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 17:31
  • 1
    They look like cylinders, the nails seems to be the top of each cylinder, that's why they look amputated.
    – user120647
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 19:34

The big problem is not the light / color tone / background and sky, but the difference in visual perception with the previous images.

Making a generic comparison, it's evident that there's a different figure and the anomaly is given by the proportions: a is much bigger than b, c or d, while b,c and d maintain similar proportions. The same between 1 and 2.

enter image description here

Whereas in the old images the characters have a proportion relationship from equal to equal, in the new one there's a very noticeable difference, vertically and horizontally. With the green shirt looks like an ad starring by Hulk :-). The girl position in the picture leaning forward increases this proportion difference.

Double readings are never easy to make, in the ads there is an attempt to integrate a cartoon image into a photographic realistic scene. The ratio of proportions in equality between the photographic people and the cartoon character makes the image credible, what does not happen in the new image because the character is much larger and takes too much prominence, is not integrated to the scene at all.

Possible solutions: reduce the boy cartoon size or better, if you can, change the photo.

  • I agree with your views, I'll keep that mind for future works, but my boss always points out this mistake, if the guy is smaller or bigger. But this time he couldn't specifically explain. I don't think he has problem with size. Maybe the photo is not a right fit for him. I'll try to change it.
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:09
  • BTW I'm also waiting for an answer from Scott :P
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:10
  • 1
    I'm not talking about size, but the unequal proportions, a very different thing (actually as a graphic designer you should know this ;-)). If the boy is that size, the girl should be in a balanced proportion and/or vice versa.
    – user120647
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:14
  • Yeah I actually meant the same :)
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:23
  • Very useful answer but I chose Scott's answer here.
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 14:17

The drawn guy has in some images chalky face - it's like the drawing is left incomplete. The phone and railway scenes are ok. Fix the first one like this:

enter image description here

BTW. The persons seem to watch something. I inserted a bigger target.

ADD due the comments: The inserted background as face colors make the drawn guy to look out a boxer in the next day. Except it's not his face, it's the background, the face (=like the hand) is transparent, "outlines without a fill". One could argue about forms, proportions and apparent age. I don't. You have catched the essential: The drawn guy clearly belongs to the presented group and seems to share the common mood and interests. I only suggest you to present him consistently in a way which does not need any surface details and still looks out finished.

  • I'm not going to do that :P Look at the face!
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:24
  • I got your point but I guess it made it even bad.
    – Vikas
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 14:18

I'd almost like to 86 the black outline and see more realistic tracing in the illustration to show that they are "real people", But just enough illustration to hint that they are not exactly physically there. similar to this.

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