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

Illustrating Visual Space

My initial thoughts for this exercise was unfortunately rather flat. I found the elements listed, however instead of a running child I chose a woman in fashion standing in a basic position, which I then doubted my choice. I thought the full figure could be interesting for close ups and long shots. To add to the interest I decided to leave some background in on the photos of the building. When moving the elements around to create an image, I did find it the image to be rather boring, not giving much of a story. It was only until sketching where my opinion changed.

So the experiment began.

Looking back on the montage of photos, I found myself surprised at the few that I thought were successful. Although the pose wasn't energetic, I thought the side pose looking over shoulder would spark mystery or drama. The elements didn't really match, but they did somehow work. I sketched my favourite layout, though it wasn't the most ambitious in layout, it was a layout that worked. I do think the sketch could work as a visual concept for a book cover.

I chose to follow the rule of thirds for composing this illustration. I wanted to consider the hierarchy and how the layout could reflect this. By bringing the lady forward it instantly made her the centre of attention. The space in the top left corner, as scripted as it may be, is a perfect place for a book title or any sort of text. It leaves a nice space around the character and also doesn't lose sight of the other elements. The tree frames the image nice and slightly covers the house. In fact when considering how the image is framed, the house could be where the drama lies. I liked that her body was facing out whilst her gaze would be directly at the audience. It showed openness, authority, and interest. It looks like it would be an icon/advert for tiny houses program on Netflix.

Before realising the surprise result of the first attempt, I gave it a second try. This time I found a man running in a dry open land. I changed the house to look abandoned, or just one of those houses you see alone in the middle of no where with a slightly creepy vibe to it. What story could I tell here, and how could the layout impact this story?

Firstly I kept it simple. I liked the ground the man was originally running on, and thought it acted as a good horizon line. I was able to place the other element in front or behind and immediately see perspective. Pretty safe experiment so far, but the results were very similar to one another.

Towards the end of taking the photos, I thought it might be interesting to play with the depth on the lens. What if I brought an element closer to the lens, and experimented with layers in this way? I was able to focus on either the foreground or the background. This was fun, I'm not sure the results were as clean as they could have been, but experimenting with the layers in this way allowed me to play on hierarchy, or simply the story. I was able to think what I wanted to put attention on, and perhaps where I could put text if this was to be used for a poster or something. You can do this digitally with blur tools, but the natural result from a camera is far more pleasing that editing an effect on the computer. So this was a good exercise to consider, perhaps for photography visuals that client may want to see before the day of the shoot. Knowing what the photographer will aim to achieve on the day is confidence in knowing you will get the shot you want in a short amount of time.

These were more interesting!

Then I thought to include both the female and the male figures using the similar effect of the blurring.

I like it! Brings all kinds of questions for what could be happening here. Could it be a book cover as well? She's still the main character, but what happens to her?

After the fun of playing with depth on camera, I went back to sketching a layout. How would it feel if it was an image from the same world?

These felt a lot like storyboarding. The running character made it feel like it was a seen from a moving clip. With the trees in the foreground, you can imagine these to be slightly blurred, whilst the camera moves with the runner. Documentary style footage. The below drawing I added some atmosphere. Making him a small part to the image I was able to create the impression he was running away from something that might have scared him inside the house. So I exaggerated the house to be abandoned and haunted. I made the scene dark and instead of giving the impression of the trees being blurred, I went for a silhouette. I think I could make this more interesting and spooky by adding more trees to frame the action.


Composition is very important. It really enhances a story when done well. It adds atmosphere, depth and interest.

I took a lot of photos during this exercise, I'm not sure all was needed! However it did push me to a new idea of how to think outside the box. A simple act of moving one element closer to the camera did change the perspective. I think overall the collaged images did work well and some looked to be from the one photo.


bottom of page