Sam!! It looks amazing so far! I honestly do not know what you were worried about, but I can understand the struggle, because the detail and expression is immaculate. It is full of perfect, mesmerizing textures of any and every kind. From the fabric in the hatter’s scuffled shoulder pads to the tightly wrinkled, wet tunic on the female figure. I love this, and I can see where you not just improved upon the last one but you took it to a new place. I think each composition stands on it’s own merit.
Also the background being slightly blurred, brings a lot of focus to the characters, creates depth and is even an improvement from last composition.
Also, might I add the chemistry between these two characters is always well done, excellently thought out and executed with care and precision. I will say the last version had great expression and interaction, but this one takes it to a new realm of emotions. In the last, they both seemed thrilled, happy, it is a good feeling. However, here you have changed the story a bit, or taken it further, like a new chapter. Looks to me almost as if you are imbuing a bit more humor, sort of sneaking a kiss and her surprised expression. It makes me laugh!
Suggestions: I see that you are still working on the hair, so I will not comment on that, as it is unfinished. Comparing the old to the new, I noticed the fabric in the hatter’s arm/shoulder, seem to be somewhat different in texture. If you look at the old, the texture seems to be more focused (can’t really think of a good word for it) I do not know if that is necessarily a bad thing. It really just depends on what you want. If you are confused perhaps I can better explain.
Only one more thing that is sort of big, and probably most important. I feel like the glasses in the female’s right hand don’t really stand out from the background quite as much. Although, it could just be the photograph. I notice on that side of the paper it is a bit more yellow, and blurred. Perhaps the camera is just out of focus on the left side of the paper, but you will have to look at the glasses in person to really get a feel for if it needs attention. With the photograph that I see, I believe the wine glasses could stand out a little more from the ocean behind her.
Perhaps if you are unsure, you could take a second picture, focusing the camera on the left of the paper, so I can see that part in more detail, but I’m sure you can judge for yourself if you look closely at the actual drawing.
Lastly, I just wanted to comment one more time… This is fantastic! They are going to love it! It seems like most of the works I struggle with most end up being my greatest triumphs. That struggle is important in being successful. I think you should pat yourself on the back and get ready for one more round to finish this up, then take a deep sigh of relief once it’s over.
Also it should be noted that I do not like the rating system on the side. I don’t think a drawing should be rated as a 1 to 5 star system. Therefore I am giving perfect scores because I feel it is irrelevant to rate artwork. Just wanted to note that.