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

Research 3.3

Reporting and Documenting

After much scanning and deliberating through the artists listed in 3.2, I settled for an image by Evan Turk. An illustration I discovered in his "Travel" pages on his website, and more specifically amongst the works gathered from a trip to England. The image I found of particular interest is the illustration that features the statue of Churchill in Parliament Square.

I love how Evan successfully created a panoramic view behind Churchill, capturing the entire scenes surrounding the statue and the Houses of Parliament. Feeling like a true onlooker of this illustration, Evan not only puts you in the eye of the illustrator, but brings a sense of place. Seeing the people gathering around the statue as either a place to rest or a place for tourism, their clothing that Evan manages to illustrate in ink indicates a warm day. Not only do the clothing give this away, but the trees are in full bloom. Evan has expertly framed the illustration with a hint of a tree that might just be leaning over him slightly, giving perspective and a glorious touch of composition. The tree, full of healthy looking leaves are individually drawn, gives me the impression that this was a slow paced piece with Evan being seated for while so he could capture almost everything.

What I do love most, is the use of different mediums, to almost separate the background to the foreground. The sky and the Houses Parliament have been illustrated in a sketch pencil. The middle, or more specifically, the trees / nature, have been drawn in with a blue coloured pencil. Churchill is coloured in a black pencil, whilst the rest is drawn in ink. There is a stark contrast in the background and foreground, controlled by the use of shading on the Houses of Parliament and the roads that give perspective, making the overall illustration feel balanced. It shows clear decision making by Evan as he leaves the people unfilled, just left with the white of the paper, for me this decision is based on the uncontrolled elements, the unpredictable and forever changing or moving, whereas there leaves, the buildings and the statue remain still.

I love the accuracy in proportions, the two-point perspective and the composition.

Comparing this with an image are worlds apart. The simple effect of the tools used already lifts the illustration off the page compared to what a photo can do. The information in the illustration is easy to read due to the decisions Evan's made. Stand a photo next to it and it suddenly feels heavy, overfilled with information that is not all that interesting.

An image I found that I felt was the closest view to Evan's illustration was from an article written in March 2020, an early introduction to Covid times. The streets are eerily empty, whilst Big Ben was covered for the repair work. I went for this image not only because of the view (mostly for the view) but because you get a hint of the perspective that Evan's had captured on the warm sunny day.

General view of the deserted area around the Winston Churchill statue and Big Ben in Westminster. March 19, 2020

Comparing the illustration to the above image is quite an obvious task due to the extreme contrasts in populated areas, the weather and the construction work. It's ironic to find an image in our most current, socially distant and lockdown times, to compare to an illustration of life in London as we once knew and miss. It feels more impressionable as we move into Spring and begin to see flowers bloom and leaves begin to grow. It's as if we could be soon walking into the scene that Evan had captured, yet feel so far away to see that relaxed feeling of freedom at the same time.

The illustration most definitely communicates the bustling life of London, and the ever continuing tourism that fills the streets daily to photograph the landmarks of the City. The photo on the other hand, paints a very different picture. Not even a car passing by in this grey, wet and miserable scene of Churchill overlooking the historical building covered in heavy metal as construction is underway. The mood of the weather makes it even more eery with not even a common pigeon walking the streets. Given the obvious visuals of both, the photo, used for an article discussing the political decisions surrounding the early cases of Covid, speaks a volume that best articulates what was considered quite a scary start to something no one was to expect. The photo communicates the dramatic change in life.

In some cases, the photo is just a stereotype of Britain in general, grey and wet! We tend to do well at forgetting the miserable weather every year when we're surprised at how cold and wet it is! Beside this, there's a charm to the illustration that the photo doesn't capture, and most likely will never capture. The illustration is full of warmth, there is life and dynamics in a well composed format. For me, this is most memorable compared to the photo.

Examining the images to determine which is most truthful leads to a distinct difference in the two. As mentioned before, the illustration has a charm to it. It's a witnessed development whilst sitting and observing. People in the illustration might not have all been present at the one time, but they existed and the time spent on those drawings meant they were impressionable to Evan. The point is, Evan would have made a personal connection to the figures he included, he watched the people move, communicate and display emotions, and he would have learnt the behaviour as he drew them, albeit in a simplistic sketch that leaves many details out.

Of course photography can be provoking and capture an essence, but much of this is also down to the way it is staged, be it with lighting, positioning etc. As soon as you start moving things to fit a frame in the photo, or to express a narrative, the image becomes manipulated. How true can a photo be when so many things can be done in the post-production? At least for this image, it doesn't appear to have had much work done in post-production, it looks honest to some extent, however one photo takes a second to take, after the second is over many things can change making the photo immediately redundant. So this photo might have been taken in a moment where traffic had moved on and people left the shot, in other words, it could have been a second in an hour of waiting. The photo could have actually been taken in a completely different year and very early in the morning when traffic is typically less.

I would absolutely notice the illustration over the photo. There's not enough in the photo for me to want to admire it. The illustration shows so much more in perspective, in the frame compared to the bland photo. It's lively and full of character. With an interest in all things illustrated, the illustration would stop me in my steps. I would want to look as close as possible to see what was used, and how. It is most likely going to get me to read the article along side it, if only just see how the two work together.



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