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Critique of ASOIF - Spoiler by bananorama

So I have had a bit of difficulty giving a critique to this piece, because I haven't read the book series ASOIAF. I asked for advice from a friend who is a huge fan, and used Wikipedia to fill in some blanks. According to my friend, her hair is too reddish, and should be browner. Apart from that he couldn't really say more about the drawing. So I guess your vision of the character was pretty good. Now what I noticed is that you separated her good memories and bad memories, one to the right and the other to the left. The crowning memory is, how I understand, a scene right before Eddard is beheaded. The crows, bringers of bad news and prophets of disasters, draw the viewer from the happy times to the misery. In that aspect the symbolism is very well executed.

However, when I first looked upon this piece, without reading the title or Artist's Comment, I thought the scene on the right with the baby was representing Mary and Joseph holding baby Jesus. And I am not religious. Furthermore, the assassin on the left side looked either like a handkerchief she holds in her hand to blow her nose, or a ghost. You really need to be careful on how to place certain details and how you represent them. The way you have positioned her and her memories is quite cliché and not very original. It does make up for a decent composition, but it reminds too much of a story from the bible, representing a saint, than something out of a fantasy book series. I think that it would have been better if you had used the symbolism in the rest of your piece to your advantage in the composition. You could have drawn all her memories on the right side, as they are all behind her. Also the fact that I see only so few good memories represented, I don't really get her longing for life in it.

You also asked for advice about the colouring and unity in this piece, and I really think those to correlate very well here. Because Catelyn is the only part in this piece that's really in colour, you see a strong contrast with her and her memories. She stands out very well. The title (Winter Widow) and the snow really crown the piece and hold everything together. The shading used in her memories is done very, very well, except for the assassin. The assassin really breaks with the rest of the memories with being so white and with so little shading.

You said in your Artist's Comment that this is your first pencil portrait, and I must say, you have done a terrific job. Like I said, the only weak spot is the assassin, but other than that you really showed how well you can handle a technique like this. Overall the impact is threatened by the ambiguity of the two memories mentioned before (baby and assassin) and the crowded events around Catelyn. Don't be afraid to work bigger or put more symbolism in a piece like this. It would make for a great movie poster about Catelyn, but not so much as a representation of her character.
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November 12, 2009
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