Exercise: Image development

Cut two ‘L’ shapes of card or stiff paper. You are going to use them to explore formats, to

zoom in and out of compositions.Take an image which has a range of content and enlarge it to A4 and make ten copies. Use the ‘L’s to create edited versions of each image. Retain the content but try presenting
it in different ways in different formats. 

Choose a word for each image that relates in some way to the content. It may contradict the image and show an alternative interpretation or may extend the narrative by describing the content in a slightly different way.


I’ve been searching a photo for some decent time. Found few versions that could apply. But, to be honest, for each of these photos you could find around five real options, but after that you would be forced to suck them from a finger. I was also quite dissapointed with the inability of zooming in easy. So what’s to do?
I thought that it’s not worth it to focus on photos alone and turned to the world of paintings. The first idea, obviously, was the art of Hieronymus Bosch, but I’ve immediately realized what pain it would be to come up with different names for each piece. After giving it a second thought I’ve decided that I would probably find what I am looking for in the work of one of Bruegels.
They are famous for creating huge and crowded pictures, and thats exactly what I need.
I managed to find a painting containing everything needed. There is a family at the dining table, fantastic interior, action and beautiful background.

So, the painting of my choice is the Pieter Bruegel the Elders “Taste, Hearing and Touch”. Here it is.



Family dinner.

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Someone dines at the table, someone under the table.

Under the Table.

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These two parrots look really bright at the grey buildings background. I would call this piece –

Bright Couple.

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Lets take a pice a little bigger. We see two parrots on the unfamiliar background. Moreover, at the background we could see two usual birds who easily merge their surroundings. I would call this one:




If we extend the borders of the piece, the parrots loose the focus. Attention is lost, and we cant call this piece the same name.



Here is a boy carrying a cake to the table, but all his looks are telling us his thoughts are somewhere faraway. He has wandering gaze and spiritual looks. I would say he is flying in the clouds. I would call this piece – the dreamer.

The Dreamer

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Angel’s embrace

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Red Drape

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Summer landscape

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If you look attentively, you could see the monkey in the child’s hair on this piece. I would call it –

Hairy Naughty.

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Still life with a cat.
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And the last one – a direct parts of the painting’s name. Pieces called “Hearing”, “Touch” and “Taste”.


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I’ve made few more pieces. I didn’t search the meaning in them and didnt try to give them a name. They are a little… out of the box. It’s just the curious way of creating the space.










  • Do some images seem to have more drama because of the way you have cropped them?

Sure they do. The original picture itself doesn’t have any particular drama. Drama appears if you make an accent on certain pieces. For example, on the piece with a monkey.

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Using one of the images as a basis for an illustration, draw up your artwork to make a poster. Add colours and
textures to emphasise your message

I’ve decided to choose an “Aliens” piece as an illustration.



When I’ve started with this illustration, I’ve wanted to make an accent on the fact that the parrots are not the part of the surroundings. And I had an idea how to achieve it – I wanted to draw parrots with bright colourful pencils and use watercolour for background. The use of different materials is the other way to make parrots shine.

Here is the result


But I didn’t like the result. To be honest, I think I’ve ruined the illustration completely when I’ve added a completely irrelevant black outline. Unfortunately, when you work on paper, you cant press ctrl + z and turn the time backwards. But I’ve decided not to start everything from the scratch and to try to save it with post-processing. Maybe I would manage to make my illustration work in the way it supposed to work.


Few sketches.



Final illustration.


Here it is. A tender pastel background with two bright birds attracting all the attention.

On my illustration I was going to make opposition of parrots on the front layer and usual birds on rear layer more evident.

The only thing left is to add a writing to make it a poster. I’ve chosen this particular font because it reminded me of some kind of Star Wars language I’ve seen before.



The final result.



By the way, in real life to search for a right angle instead of two “L” shapes of card I always use “canvas” using thumb and forefinger. Its an old and useful way to do it.

Composition frame- capture the sunset

Categories: exercises, Illustration