Exercise 16 – Image Development

This exercise is about cropping a picture with a range of content to see how it may change the meaning and also to use this as a device to develop a poster.

This was another exercise where I spent too much time on the research stage.  In trying to find an image that fit all the criteria, (such as a range of content, shows some action and with a background and foreground) I ended up putting off this exercise for too long.

In the end, I just had to narrow down my choices and decide on an image that I thought had enough content that I could successfully work with.  I chose the image below:


Photo Reference: Yo Chicago website http://yochicago.com/guides/guide-to-renting-in-chicag os-river-north/

I printed it out onto A4 paper and used that to do my cropping.  We were advised to cut two pieces of L shaped card and I found that this gave me an effective hands on approach to the cropping exercise.  It allowed me to play around with different formats and adjust the cropping easily.  However, the cropping was another thing that I took too long with, as I did too many versions and it caused another delay.  Below are the 10 cropped images that I narrowed it down to:

I found it so interesting that from a single image, I could come up with so many separate images with their own associated meanings and narratives.  This could be one of those really useful techniques that helps me to come up with future illustration ideas.

I was quite intrigued by the boy in the picture and decided quite early on that he would be the main inspiration for my poster, so I have chosen the Alone cropped image.  The other pictures that I considered were often with the boy in them such as Ignored and Family above.

Next I researched poster ideas and examples of illustrations that concentration on depicting and illustrating one word.  I also researched any illustration ideas that communicated the word ‘Alone’. Here is a Pinterest board with the ideas I gathered:


Using the research information, I started playing around with ideas for an illustration.  Here are my development thumbnails:

I chose the thumbnails that showed a person alone in a vast ocean but I wasn’t sure what format to use so I did two pencil drawings and then scanned them into Affinity Photo to edit.  The drawings are below:

And from these I came up with this poster:


I’m quite pleased with my final image and the developments thumbnails that I used to get to it.  Whenever I got stuck in the development stage I just kept referring to the research images I gathered.  In the end it was the lyrics of a song about swimming in an ocean all alone, that helped me to decide on an idea that I liked more than the others.

I did wonder whether I should have stuck more closely to the idea of a boy alone but the exercise asked us to use the cropped image as a basis for an illustration, so I took that to mean to just use it as a starting off/jumping off point.

As I analysed the image some more I decided to add a black outline to the poster to stop the text from floating around in white space.  I’m not sure if this was the right decision as one could say that the floating could very well signify that feeling of aloneness but I liked it better with the outline as below:


My poster may have benefitted from more development at the thumbnail stage because this idea is not necessarily a unique enough one.  I could have pushed further to see if I could come up with something more original but I was mindful of the time I was already taking to complete this exercise and decided against it.

I think it was a good idea to change the colour of the person’s hair to a warmer colour instead of black which was the colour I had planned to use.  I found that it really draws my eye into the image and is a nice contrast to the black sea.  My eye is then drawn to the text at the top and then back again which I’m hoping helps to make it a somewhat successful illustration.  I decided to use a plain, thin typeface to which I added space between the letters because I think it adds to the feeling of being alone better than a bolder and more fancier text might.

At the very least, I feel I definitely learned a lot from this exercise especially the value of cropping an image and how this can be used as a starting point for illustration ideas.  I also think that I managed to employ much of what I learned in the previous exercises such as hierarchy in an image and illustrating visual space.



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