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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Assignment Two

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

Exploring Time & Place - 'Four Seasons in One Page'

I began with doing a small amount of research on scenery, imagining this to be a piece full of rolling fields and cosy home in the landscape. I found the perfect images to help construct my landscape, as well one illustration that I really like the perspective of. I later discovered it was from the Hilda comics, which visually I've always admired from what I have seen online.

With the reference in place, I went with sketching the layout in Photoshop, a process I mentioned in a previous exercise. As much as I love working traditionally, digital sketching often has its benefits when trying to map things out.

Option One:

Option Two:

Option Two felt to have had more depth. I liked the composition, and using the foreground to frame the background felt pleasing on the eye, a similar setup I had taken from the Illustrated reference above. I added the fencing for more interest, thinking that this detail would work well during the seasons, especially for snow! The fence along with the footpath in the foreground directs the eye to the background, forcing you to read the image from left to right, and drawing you in to the house.

I quickly used the ink brush in Photoshop to outline it. It is one of my favourite brushes available on Photoshop as I love being able to quickly play with the thickness of the line, creating a really nice effect.

After completing the outlines, I then printed the image to be the exact size of the frames I had previously drawn out on an A3 piece of paper. Redrawing the image 4 times, I then lightly erased the pencil so I could change each scene to fit the theme of the seasons. Top left became winter, top right became spring, bottom left is Summer and finally the bottom right was autumn.

The paper I had used for this was general paper one could expect to find in a printer. It isn't the best paper to use when deciding to ink the lines with a nib. As you can imagine, the ink didn't sit too great on the paper surface. It made thin lines bleed, making it somewhat difficult to control at this scale. Due to this, I made the outcome rather rough. I didn't go in with ink to shade areas, however I did have a moment of applying water to the nib which gave a nice wash of ink. With this I coloured some rain puddles in autumn.

Coloured Digitally:

I decided to dive a little deeper in one of the pen drawings by returning to Photoshop to colour in one scene. I used wet brushes for the most part of this piece to get a nice blended effect. Instead of adding outlines, I introduced a few shaded lines to define certain areas. I then went a step further by adding bigger snow flakes that would appear to be closer to the viewer. I then blurred them with motion blur to give the illusion that they were falling all around you. Not only did I blur those, I also allowed a few flakes to break the frame, give more illusion on the closeness.

It isn't a hugely detailed, high rendered example of the colouring, but I felt it worked well for this season. I wanted it to look thick, and cloud like as it covered the entire scene. Makes for an OK greetings card!



After Feedback

With quite some time away since completing this assignment, and having now completed all of Graphic Fiction, I felt it would be great to add to what I had already created. The feedback from my tutor had been positive throughout my journey on Graphic Fiction, though little suggestions on how I could improve or take it further had been shared for which I am grateful for. On this occasion, it was suggested that it would be nice to see another coloured illustration, so that we could see the contrast between the seasons, which is not so obvious in the lined drawings alone, and quite difficult to imagine with the Winter coloured sketch.

I agree.

It is not obvious in the line drawings for which season is what, not immediately anyways and certainly not all of them. I also think it is quite difficult to imagine what the other seasons would look like in colour with the Winter coloured sketch as the example. How will they contrast?

The above works is an example of not taking it further during the first draft. I had rushed a coloured image for winter and, although I was pleased with it at the time, and still am to some extent, I do feel it is a bit too "blurred" and sketchy. For me this, the coloured image is a rough thumbnail sketch for a later development into something more detailed.

I decided that, not only was I going to produce a second colour image for a different season, but I was also going to develop the Winter coloured sketch further. I wanted it to feel less sketchy, more focused and a little bit finalised. I didn't have inspiration in mind for this second render, though since completing this course, I had developed trust in working with Procreate, and mixing from different brushes available. I found this alone to be the inspiration needed to create seasonal artwork.

I began with taking the photo of my original A3 drawing of the four seasons into Procreate. I hadn't decided what the outcome would be at this stage, and so opted to begin re-outlining the drawing again using the fine line brush so that the lines would stay a consistent thickness throughout. It is worth mentioning that I began with the Winter scene, with the intentions of improving the coloured version above.

I didn't document the process of colouring in this piece, sadly. I began with filling in the background using a colour pallet that is pre made on Procreate of blues and pinks.

I stuck with the last row of diluted colours as the more vibrant colours didn't fit the frosty look of a winter scene, obviously. Once I had gotten a few shades down I realised I needed some more cooler tones to that had even less hue and saturation in the tones. Using the bottom row as the base of my colours still, I added a few grey tones of blue and going for a white that wasn't pure white so that it didn't completely jump from the page.

I jumped from a few different brushes in the process, all of which remained similar in their properties. I wanted the brushes to give texture, to have a chalky look in the sense that it appeared speckled. Originally I kept the black outlines:

But there was something lovely about the piece when I hid the outline layer. It felt reminiscent of my original piece, and it also felt more wintery. I got the feeling of "nostalgia" with the drawing without line, not in a personal sense, but that it felt more vintage and classic. I liked the warmer colours of pink that would be under the snowy surface, I think it added depth. The scene also felt more wintery than my original coloured piece as it appeared darker.

I still think more could be done to this piece, for example, perhaps I had made it too dark and didn't give enough contrast? That said, I think the charm still remained from the original concept, the cloud like snow can still be seen and although there is no snow breaking through the frame, I feel the coldness in the air and in fact it feels more wintery. I just want a hot chocolate when I look at this!

Part two of this began with yet another digital outline. Again I used the fine line brush for those fine consistent lines. Only this time, I spent less time on making sure the lines were perfect as I had the same final outcome of the winter piece above in mind where I would hide the outlines.

Out of the remaining seasons I decided to focus on Autumn as the next coloured piece that would contrast the Winter scene. Hoping I would create a similar feeling of the new Winter piece, I set about working in the same way as I had before.

To begin, I wanted my colour palette to reflect the tones of Autumn. I looked at another pre made palette in Procreate, which I did think suited the tones a little, at least to get me started. I guess at the beginning of this piece, I wasn't sure how it was going to look, I didn't know how far I wanted to take it in terms of the tones and whether it was at the early stage of Autumn, or in the thick of it where the colours are really beautiful. It didn't take me long to realise I wanted to go further in the colours than what the pre-made palette offered. Below image, in red is the pre-made palette, in green is the palette I had created.

This image above shows the drawing at a later stage, however before reaching this I had learnt a few things that I would do differently compared to the Winter piece.

I immediately came to my first difficulty when trying to mimic the same style. It didn't feel right. I changed the technique in which I was using the brushes, and in the end it was looking more like a coloured pencil drawing where each stroke would be visible. Where I tried to make the Winter scene more fluffy and still a little "blurred" to get the cloudy effect, Autumn didn't need that effect. It needed to have more definition in it as the grass is visible, leaves are falling and the colours are changing. I wanted the grass to have different colours, I wanted fields behind to show different colours and I wanted the leaves to be seen on the floor as you would expect to see on a walk with all their vibrancy. Would these drawings look to be from the same hand when sat side by side? Would they feel similar in the style or had I really changed this in the Autumn piece? I had no idea what the outcome would be, I just had to trust the process and continue.

Once I had the artwork in place, I returned to a brush I had used in the Winter piece. A brush that when made large, gave a really nice texture look yet also worked nice to give a slight wash over the colours. I used this mostly in the background of the drawing where the hills would fade more into the sky. I think overall this effect works nicely to add depth. I think it was also the final touch that made both illustration appear from the same collection.

And here they are side by side:

I think there is always space to push a piece further, bring more depth and detail. Overall I am pleased with the result of both the illustrations. I think they look to be from the same scene in different seasons, which in my view feels successful!


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