Exercise: Choosing content

Exercise: Choosing content

This exercise consisted of reading an extract from The Daffodil Affair by Michael Innes and to go through different tasks.
The first one was to answer three questions.
1. If this were to be made into a film what would the main character be like?
The main character would be a man with very regular face shapes, sharp and symmetrical as to match the environment.
2. What clothes would the character be wearing?
A simple suit, in grey or brown tones.
3. What furniture is in the main area in which the action takes place?
There is only a desk and a chair.
After answering these questions, I had to find visual reference for the era in which the action takes place. The story is set in war – time London, so I found precious references in the websites of the Imperial War Museum http://www.iwm.org.uk/ and the Victoria & Albert Museum http://www.vam.ac.uk/. It was particularly useful to have the chance to search their collections online and to have pictures and information about single objects to hand. Using these two precious resources I selected few images for my visual reference, trying to include above all the ones in colours.


I decided that the word which best conveys my vision of the story is austerity, because in my opinion it includes some feeling of emptiness at the same time.
I produced a moodboard using Microsoft Word because I couldn’t find elsewhere the tones I had in my mind and I also used textures found on V&A museum website.


I had three main ideas for my final piece: the first one was a frontal view of the man behind his desk, the second was the man seen from his back in front of the window and the third one was the man pictured on his side while standing in front of the window.
I felt that the frontal view would have given me the chance to better express austerity.


I sketched a couple of different views and went for a close up. I tried to convey austerity in the features of the man, in the way he is dressed and in the surroundings, empty on purpose. The floor, the wall, the desk are empty, only a wide shaft of shadow is filling in the space.
I based my final piece on the size of a book and used the vertical orientation of the sheet. The materials used are inks with pen and nib and brush. A fine liner has also been used.

Looking at the final result I am not entirely satisfied, like something is missing.
Thinking about it, I believe this is the feeling this illustration is supposed to convey. However I was imagining the detective a little older than he looks in my drawing and even though I tried adding wrinkles here and there I wasn’t able to change the fact that he looks too young.

To conclude, even though I am not happy with the outcome, I learned how illustrating is somehow like directing a movie!


2 thoughts on “Exercise: Choosing content

    1. It is really reassuring to know that the illustration can communicate even if I am not totally satisfied. Thank you very much for expressing your opinion, it is precious and really appreciated!


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