I need art for a Dumbing of Age convention banner stand to use this convention season, and so I sat down this morning to try to work out a composition.
Man, I hate vertical compositions! They drive me mad. Especially when the most important thing has to be at the top, and the most important character is pretty damn short. Everything's gotta be at the top because, chances are, the bottom half is going to be covered by your head and torso as you sit in front of it.
So here's three roughs I drew, in progressing order.
1) Okay, Joyce is the most important. Instead of making her super big and in front, maybe use the composition to point to her instead, and put her in the background, with everyone sort of gathered around her? In the end, I abandoned this one after adding Billie and Walky -- they can't look at Joyce because then we can't see THEIR faces, and after putting them in, I realized I really had no room for anyone else.
2) I succumbed to the idea of Super Big Joyce, drew her at the top and leaning into the composition, putting her arms behind her back so that she didn't block much behind her. Then I drew Walky in there and... okay, running out of room, put Billie in, maybe he's giving her bunny ears... no. I hate this one.
3) I liked the Joyce, so I kept her. I moved Walky down just underneath her, so that I'd have a full row of potential character-lining-up, and put them at desks so it took place in an actual setting. I threw Joe into the far background so that there was somebody else up at the top that would still be visible to most people over the top of my head. Joyce is kinda photobombing everyone, isn't she?
Argh. I like #3 best, and may end up going with it, but I'm still not 100% happy. I fear that Walky, Dorothy, and Billie are still too far down and may get lost behind my huge noggin at conventions. But it's the best compromise between what I need and what looks appealing that I can figure out right now.
While some tweak for #3 would probably be good, I assume people will be able to see the full banner when they're actually at your booth, and Joyce's blue eyes that high up on the banner could well act like a hypnotic beacon for those looking from a distance.
If you want to go for broke, set up two circular lights behind Joyce's eyes when setting up the banner. Then they'll REALLY attract attention (and possibly frighten small children).