This is how the last page turned out:
First there was the drawing which I scanned in:
Then there was the color composition:
And then the final which ended up different from the color comp actually. The color comp suggests light figures on a dark background, and the final ended with dark figures and a light background, with bright highlights. I think it worked out well.
Always decide how you want to plan your paintings: dark on light, or light on dark. It helps the viewers be able to see images better. You need to think in terms of black and white... if you switched your peice to a gray-scale, would your figures and characters pop our or are they hiding because behind them is too dark or too light?
Second, when you have a bunch of characters to paint together, think in terms of SHAPE. Grouping things together to make one large basic and fun shape is very pleasing to the eye and helps readability. It helps your painting looks much less scattered and busy and overwhelming and instead helps it feel clean and simple and delightful, especially if your "shape" is interesting. It allows the eye to focus on the pretty parts you intended to look nice and be noticed, instead of being distracted by the busy-ness of things everywhere.
I wanted hippo's face to be the focus and was worried about the monkey in front of the moon because that's where this painting actually has the most contrast. The lightning bug's yellow/orange against the blue/purple (orange and blue are complementary colors by the way which helps a lot with bringing attention too) is on Hippo's face so that brought our attention back to Hippo. But ALSO, there are many other animals who also help lead our eye back to Hippo. The tales curl and lead us back into Hippo. The giraffe's neck bends down and his eyes take us back to Hippo. the flamingo's beak curves and points back down to Hippo. The monkey in front of the moon is looking at hippo so we look at hippo, plus his face doesn't have much detail so we can't be too distracted by him. Even lizard is rowing toward the shape instead of away, taking us back to Hippo. He's our star, and he needs all the focus especially on this last page.
Alrighty, I'm expecting a pdf of the sample book from my book designer, David, very soon! I'll let you know!!!