Part 5: Project – Illustration

Part 5 : Project –Illustration

Project – Illustration, including Exercises

Telling a story in a single image.. A recent one that came immediately to mind was the image of the woman leaping from a window during the summer rioting in London.  It’s telling a story even if you don’t know this particular story.

Exercise 1 – Evidence of action

I took this photograph in London at the end of last month. Something was going on but it wasn’t clear what!

Conveying abstract ideas and concepts

Examples of concepts that are regularly depicted in advertising and publicity which cannot be shown directly.

Faith; Pride; Equality; Loyalty; Renewal; Success; Beauty; Friendship

Symbols can be used as of visual analogies.  Symbols for Christian faith could be a cross; bible; fish. Women of Hindu faith wear a red spot on the forehead which symbolizes the ‘third eye’.  Renewal can be shown by the phoenix. Friendship can be shown by clasped hands. I’ve been arguing with myself regarding beauty in the sense of it’s in the eyes of the beholder and inductive/deductive definitions. Is there a quality of beauty which we may recognise in many different forms within objects, nature and living beings (Inductive)?    Or is there some divine order of beauty (a ‘law’) against which we can test our notions of beauty (deductive)?

Exercise 2 – Symbols

  • Growth  : A child’s height chart; the Tree of Life; a pie chart
  • Excess   :  A large amount of food; wardrobe lined with many pairs of shoes.
  • Crime    :  A hand holding a gun,  a pair of handcuffs.
  • Silence  : One of the three monkeys. A finger over closed lips.
  • Poverty : an empty bowl; a ramshackle house or tenement.

I was trying to think of unambiguous symbols in the sense that most people would know what they mean.  However, are they culturally specific? The symbols could be used in a photograph on their own or:-

  • Growth : a 12 year old standing by his/her own height chart .
  • Excess : A skip outside a supermarket – full of past their’ sell by date’ foodstuffs. Four personal number plated sports cars on the drive of a mansion,
  • Crime : I remember as a child that the symbol for crime was often a man in a striped jersey’ wearing an eye mask and carrying a ‘swag bag’ over his shoulder!A modern photograph would need to be more  up to date I think. – shadowy figures climbing walls, with a car waiting nearby – door open ready for the escape.
  • Silence – a difficult one. Rows of people sitting down, heads bowed maybe. A thought popped into my head of the funeral cortege of Princess Diana and also that picture of the car carrying her coffin up the motorway.

Exercise 3 – Juxtaposition

This is part of  a model railway project. In terms of a cover illustration I’m imagining it more as a thumbnail on the lower right hand page directing attention to an article on track preparation inside.

I don’t this would make an interesting enough cover illustration as an lead-in to the whole topic. It would be part of a sequence instead.

This could make a suitable cover illustration directing attention to a main article on talking to well-known orchid expert Jeff Banks and his approach to raising orchids from small seedlings.

More of a detail shot I think –  showing his affection for orchids by the way he is clasping one and gently checking the leaf condition of another.

Similar to the one above and a better one because it shows the colour and size of the orchid.  This could also be an interesting cover illustration for an orchid magazine.

There isn’t a lot of room in the greenhouse and so it would have been too cramped to set up a tripod. Therefore, I used my smaller G12 with a higher ISO in an attempt to get as clear shots as possible.

Exercise 4 – Rain

I remember doing this exercise in Part 4.  Rain can be difficult to convey in itself as the drops of water seem to disappear into a blur.  It shows best in photographs of people scurrying with umbrellas; or streaming down window panes. You can convey the effects of rain as well.  These were taken in Venice the day after rain had raised water levels and flooded:-


Of course, I could have added a rain effect as well but, being as people aren’t wearing any rain protection or using umbrellas, this might have looked odd.  This was our third trip to Venice and the first time was similar. We travelled on a Catamaran from the then Yugoslavia (on a day trip) and it was pouring with rain when we arrived. There were traders waiting for us with loads of plastic macs for sale and we had to go in a closed, ‘scenic’  motorboat (with rain pouring down outside and steam clogging the windows) to ‘see’ Venice.  It was still beautiful though!

I wanted to try a rain effect though and so have used it on another Venice image which doesn’t have people:-


I searched around the internet and found a few tutorials. It was quite fiddly though and proves it’s much better to have real rain in the first place!

There hasn’t been much rain here recently but I took this one the other day whilst waiting at the station:-

If only there had been someone with an umbrella!


I know I’ve complained before about the number of exercises but this time, there have been just a few.  It was a relief at first but several different topics made it seem somewhat bitty to me and this is why I’ve ended up including more photographs. I’ve certainly learned how to create a (not so perfect) rain effect and can build on this.  The largest part of learning was the cover illustration in terms of what might and might not look right.

Onwards next to Assignment 5 ideas!

27th February 2012