Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Exercise 12 - Choosing content

This exercise involved developing content in relation to a passage from the novel " A Daffodil Affair" by Michael Innes.

Notes on questions
- If this was to be made into a film what would the main character be like?
- Age – 40s, rugged skin, shadows under eyes – he’s got stories to tell, wearing a suit – browns and blacks, perhaps wearing glasses, weary looking, functional . The paragraph conjures up images of ad men in the 1950s, offices, police detective/ spy novels/ comics, Dick Tracey and Clark Kent style characters yet older/ more rugged. I imagine the man might be smoking or have a cigarette on his desk.
- Furniture – sparse, desk, chair a filing cabinet , telephone on the desk, coat stand perhaps with hat on it.
I collected visual reference for the items on my list to help me to build up a scene of the man and the items. I searched the internet, found various sources, and came across the work of Noel Sickles who produced illustrations around wartime. I also photocopied some pages from a 1950s sourcebook.

Brainstorming of words to describe the extract-
Dark, moody, creepy, derelict, depressing, mystery, hopeless, frustration, isolation, sinister.

Textures/ colours –
Greys, blacks browns, charcoals, dusty, sepia, pencil and chalk or graphite on rough paper
Worn , aged , distressed, stained

The word I selected to portray in my board was "Sinister" - I made black smudge marks using chalks and charcoals, collected some words which summed up the mood and made some texture with different dark papers and text (a sort of spy ransom note idea.)

Noel Sickes illustrations

Texture and colour moodboard

I then used my boards to work out some ideas in relation to positioning of the figure and scene composition. This sketchbook work proved really helpful at deciding on composition and I thought that a shot focusing mainly on the man with a little of the window in view would best convey the passage. I also played with ideas of the way the man would look in terms of adding a hat and different facial expressions. I practised drawing some different characters based on those in my boards. I found that when I came to compose my portrait I needed some more reference of what men would have worn during wartime so I went back to my sourcebook and the internet and collected more reference. I also expanded my search terms and looked at 1950s London scenes and dress.

After the sketchbook work, I worked up some different images and tried out a few of the compositions and experimented with different media (again based on my moodboard) - using watercolour (trying to convey more tones in the face and be more considered with my brush work) , one with black smudgy pencils, another with sepia tones and brown chalks.

I found that each illustration was very much a development from the previous one, using my reference material at each stage to create characters and convey the mood of the passage. I found it really helpful at one point to stop and re read the passage to focus on the message I wanted to convey.

I also took decided to try manipulate some images with photoshop to create more dramatic effects and tried darkening images, creating greater contrast - bringing through areas of colour and using sepia tones. The ones which I think are most successful are shown as larger images below.

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