Exercise: Illustrating visual space

Exercise: Illustrating visual space

Working with composition let me consider a mechanism which most of the times comes automatic. The size and the position of an object are essential elements to tell a story and even moving around the same subjects we can have dozens of different meanings.
I selected three basic images from the browser and photocopied them at different sizes and then started to experiment different compositions.
With the first two images the narrative looks very similar, even though the distances are different.

In the third one the arrangement is basically similar, but the big tree in the middle of the picture, almost makes what’s behind invisible.

In the next picture the order is upset by setting all the figures slantwise, making it look like an impossibly strong wind is blowing everything away.

The following picture sees a weird relation between the tree and the child figures: at a shallow glance it can look fine, but paying attention we cannot clearly understand which is the foreground figure.

The next image is a mixed composition of slantwise and straight pictures and here the story changes again: looks like the children are running away from falling houses and trees.

In the last three pictures I tried omitting an horizon line. In the first case the objects look fluctuating randomly, with no gravity, maybe almost going up.

In the second picture, the organization of the variously sized trees is not only suggesting a virtual horizon line, but also the perspective.

The last one sees all the figures aligned slantwise: in this case they assume a purely decorative value, as on a gift wrapping paper.


In conclusion, seems obvious, the arrangement of the figures in a frame can be changed in infinite ways, with infinite different meanings and it is really important to an illustrator to be aware of the message that can be conveyed with a specific positioning of the subjects telling a story.

Links to the original images:





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