Exercise 12 – Choosing Content

These were some questions we had to answer after reading the text extract in the course materials:

If this were to be made into a film, what would the main character be like?

What clothes would the character be wearing?

What furniture is in the main area in which the action takes place?

Handwritten answers below:


Here is a mind map that helped me to brainstorm the mood I wanted the illustration to convey:


The mood board below shows the reference material I collected for the figure, the room, the era and colours and textures:


Here is a Pinterest Board with some additional image:

Here are some preliminary sketches I came up with as I thought about the composition and how to construct the picture:



Below is the version I settled on both before and after colour.  I photocopied the pencil drawing and then I used water-soluble crayons and black ink to colour it:


This digital version below is another version I did weeks ago, before some of the more recent research.  I really like it because of the moody atmosphere, the texture, the contrast between dark and light and the limited colour palette.  I liked that I could create all of that texture that looks a little bit like paint and that it was all done digitally.

I’m not sure if it’s more or less successful than the illustration above but it does occur to me that the one above conveys more information that seems more relevant to the written text.


Whilst coming up with ideas for this illustration I thought about all the period crime dramas I’ve watched with detectives in shirts & ties, sleeves rolled up or a full suit, frowns on their faces because of stress and the burden of the job. They have an air about them, quite no nonsense, determined and focused.  I kept getting images in my mind of moody atmospheres, high drama, film noir and comic type illustrations such as these below:


‘Insomnia’ by Artist Gina Higgins

Some descriptions such as “parallelograms of light” and “a massive shaft of shadow” stood out from the text for me and so I tried to tie all of these elements together to improve my illustration and came up with the version below:


I’m pleased with it but I wondered if I should have made the image larger and shown more of the room such as the desk and maybe a door, but I actually like the crop of my final image. I like the fact that the main figure is more of a main element in the illustration which helps when there is very little to distract from him in the background of the room.  It forces the viewer to concentrate on him and the scene that is shown through the window which gives a clue to the era.  I think his slicked back hair and the texture on his suit jacket also give some clues to the era and it seemed important to convey the type of character we see, using his countenance, his clothes, and the mood of the illustration.  The written extract also describes how large and void his office was so maybe showing the desk and other items that might have been in his office would have been unnecessary to tell the story of the text?

I could have tried a version of the illustration that showed the window, the scene shown outside the window and the pin-board in the background a bit smaller and made the figure larger and more prominent to see if that would have improved the illustration. I could have added some collage elements either digitally or traditionally to add more texture and interest.  Although the extract describes the scene taking place on a spring morning, my illustration might have had more impact with a darker and even moodier atmosphere like some of the versions I saw other students come up with on their blogs.  The aeroplanes could have been more accurately depicted to help point to the era.  I like that I used a combination of digital and traditional media to create this illustration and plan to keep using various combinations of this technique as I progress through the course.

Overall though I think I condensed the message of the text successfully and created a suitable illustration for it  I also learned a lot more about constructing an image and deciding which elements to include.


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