Making a mood board

Inspire me!

moodboard sample
collection of mood board I’ve been working on for my webtoon to help with setting, character design and outfits.

Like spider diagrams, mood boards are something I do a lot, I find it very good practice for me to start research with, plus I can spend a bit of time on pinterest looking at images and researching. I do this normally pretty much always digitally normally. For me it’s a working method for a couple of reason, I do stress that I understand the importance of mood board with textures, clippings from more sources than the internet.

The main reasons I creative digital mood boards

  • Convenience – I find it easy to find sources on the internet and my own files any where and any time.
  • Time – It saves me time, pinterest for example I can very quickly find my sources, it’s also something I can creative on the go.
  • My own resources – I have my own personal stock, I take pictures of a lot of things and textures such as tree bark, sand and running water.
  • Saves money – No printing cost, paper cost this also does not waste ink/paper. I avoid printing unless I have to, this is not just a cost factor but I do not like wasting paper/ink and like to save for when I need it.
  • Streamlines with my digital tools, I can for example drag images across software, view on one screen while draw on others have access 24/7 via mobile using creative cloud.
amazon warrior moodboard
Mood board I create after watching Ross Draw (April 2019)
amazon warrior
Character created by me prior to starting course in April 2019
Result of watching Ross draws on youtube

I’ve watched and read a lot of things that are inspiring when I come to creative a moodboard, on of first to spring to mind is a quite recent one by Ross Draws on youtube, he created a illustration master course on youtube. In the very first video in the series he talks about mood boards (its around 2.00 mark in the video)

Another class I watched which is on Udemy which is called photo “realistic digital paintings from beginner to advance” this class is taught by Austin Batchelor, it has more technical view of using mood board in order for the importance of references. In thi whole class he created this toad like monster from images of different toads and textured which he had placed on his mood-board.

So mood boards are not just about creating the moods also can be very much as a reference for your illustration .

I’ve included some images of own mood boards and end result from using them, this is good to show my tutor where I was before starting the course.

I ended up rewatching a skillshare course remembered as I was about to start, it is titled “Create Inspiration Boards & Streamline Your Artistic Process” by Gabrielle Brickley, sadly this class does not have subtitles so I cannot fully understand everything said, but I can get the gist of it. She uses a lot of pinterest boards which is a similar method to me.

“good artists borrow, great artists steal.”


I very much use mood board mainly as inspiration, I greatly believe in pulling sources from others and also learning from other artists. While I have yet to read the book by Austin Kleon titled “steal like an artist” Many podcast and blogs I have read has covered the core values of this book, such as a quick search gave me a post by Kevin Chung, Host of the Cracking Creativity Podcast which he wrote which explains the philosophy behind the book.

While I agree with pulling inspiration from other artists, I try not to add to many to a mood board and prefer not to add to many artist work and try to find photo references.


I picked the word Destruction
While I had no real direction when I first started this exercise, I wanted to evoke the emotion of “destruction” so I set about destroying my paper, I splashed with coffee, left teabags and even burnt (if can see the ashes on the piece! ) I created a mess of destruction.
I have been collecting clippings, wild fires, headlines, images of girls with a dark mood, I started putting all this together, paying close attention to colour.

straining the paper with coffee
mark making with tea
Ashes burnt on the page

This moodboard very much reminded me of the days doing fashion design, and with that in mind it started to shape the direction my moodboard was going. I’m aiming for a post apocalyptic vibe.
Textures such sharp and jagged, tutu and tin foil. I wrote the word destruction from clippings, I wanted to add to the feeling of horror and this would help if wanted to design a unique font based upon the clipping.

Found a little red gorilla design, a monster in which to shape this post apocalyptic world. A rise of vampire animals (A new twist on the whole zombies / vampires post apocalyptic plot lines)

The main character seem to be the focus on this moodboard, a girl wearing a tutu with a haunted look on her face.

Main character
Tutu textures

I really like the idea of possibly maybe designing a font/title.


My finished physical board.
I stopped at this point as I didn’t want to lose the textures of the background as that was my main inspiration and starting the mood of this piece. For me I can collect lots of images digitally this piece was more about the textures and feel.
Here is my Pinterest folder for Destruction.

I started sketching the inspiration I felt in my sketch book and while I was sketching I started to feel very black swan vibes so I started another mood board for this on Pinterest.

OCA Sketchbook moodboard
Sketch book pages
Design in my sketchbook using graphic markers, which is also a colour test.

I was also reminded of my first exercise and wanted to add the works of John minion to mood boards collections/

There are so many routes I can go down with these mood boards with my apocalyptic world.

Such as
* A webtoon/webcomic
* Character design
* Game design / App design
* Environment concept

OCA Desctruction moodboard 1

I started a digital mood-board for the character and raven, I also paid more attention to textures something I think I’ve learnt from creating the physically mood-board.

From this and my sketchbook I created the character in Photoshop. She is called Bela (which means destruction) and her Raven Gedeon (which means to destroy) My intention here isn’t to really get into the character design at this stage in the course, but to show what I can take a mood-board and how it can inspire, also I’m very keen to explore the textures digitally based around the physical mood-board. The overall design is pretty much from the first mood-board, her eye tattoos/marking/makeup is inspired by the textured marks I made. Her original design had sharp shoulder pads like on the mood-board, however I did drop this because of the raven and needed to make the look a bit more simple. I did keep the tutu texture and the overall face likeness. I did change the hair and eye colour for more contrast in the character and the red of the gorilla monster from the mood-board.

Bela and her raven
The main character Bela
OCA Destruction moodboard - Land

Next was the world, I could have stopped at the character design, however environments and worlds are my huge idea I wish to improve, so I wanted to explore a little to see if a mood board can help me get better.
Plus was keen to use the mood-board sense of “burning”

OCA contept art
Final design for the environment

After this I did indeed end up quickly designing my font / title based upon the mood-board. Very quick Using photo shop and pen / lesso tool I was able to recreate from my sketchbook version of the font.

OCA Destruction

The background of this page again is inspired my the physical mood-board textures.

I feel I was able to push my mood-board progress more than I normally do, as result I ended up exploring more textures. What I would like to make sure I do next time is make sure have more book references to hand, maybe spend an afternoon in the library finding yet more sources. Could I also have made this larger, as wasn’t keen to lose the textures of the background paper fully I held back adding to the mood-board, with a larger base I could have added more while still held on to what I wanted to keep. I will need to be a better magpie and collect boarder textures, clippings and papers for my future mood-boards.

2 thoughts on “Making a mood board

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