Illustrating Visual Space

Finding my space within my work!

I found the best and most useful way for me to learn composition has been to “study” photography, Photography has been a hobby of mine for a long time, and the rules which I learnt has carried over into my art.

I also found making the mistakes in photography and knowing what pleases my own eyes helps. Also handy to know the “rules” so can work with them or even break them!
Plus it helps seeing and working things out from the view finder before committing to a picture.

Noah Bradley

An artist who has really “opened my eyes” when comes to composition was Noah Bradley , Noah has a series on youtube called “Noah’s art camp” in the first week he covers the masters and breaks down pieces from the Golden age of illustrators and really breaks the pieces down so you study the composition at a basic level. The link is below for reference, his whole series covers a huge chuck of KS1 so this is very useful.

A lot of my research covers pretty much the whole of part three section as a whole. In fact my moodboard can apply to the unit as a whole so I titled this “OCA Composition” as will have multi uses and I’ve put some handy image resources in which will be handy to refer back to when I need.

While doing the objectives of this exercise I will be trying to ignore the “rules” in order to allow myself to explore and experiment. I completed using both digital and tracing direct ( this is taking into account what I currently have assess to use).

I did not be ignoring non-digital media fully this time, in my sketchbook you will find my studies and a page where I can remove/add like the exercise without the commitment.

“Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

Edward Weston
OCA visual space 001

These three photos I felt would be best working together, I wanted to use my own photos so I have complete freedom and rights beyond fair use to anything I would create.
I did find building harder as I nearly always take from an angle or crop for better composition as I actually take photos.
For the child, I wanted a pose with the right angles, shape, and movement.

OCA visual space

After feedback from “black and white” I was keen to ensure explore this both digital and with physical cuttings, I still have the same limitations I face in “black and white”, so using the digital version I traced out each element five times in different sizes and cut out.
In my sketchbook (below) I created my own board / envelope page to store my cutting and a square border. I like my sketchbook being “interactive” so with memories from my childhood playing with felt boards, I created a page where can have a “play” with composition, from this I took photos for my reference and objectives of this exercise.

Little illustration on the envelope using artist markers.
The “board” which you experiment with
Set 1

From the physically cuttings set 1, I had two I really liked, (bar the tree placement) the both are quite similar however I had unintentionally flipped the boy in one which gave a very different feeling in both images.
The first is very much – fear – get away – run away
The second is – urgency – dashing – towards – run to

I should also note I liked the effect of drawing over scanned images with lower opacity on the original layer.

I also did experiment digitally, so could play more with tones as well as layout of the elements.

OCA visual space v2

From the digital composition / layout elements these two appealed the most.
I was going to just use lines but ended up working on these more and the style I picked was based more on the mood I felt from each one.

Visual space 001
I kinda like this, something simple, colourful and works well.
visual space 002
I like the tree….. and that is about it.

Changing the sizes give dimension to the image, a sense of space and distance, more so if also move elements forward and back within the image.

when I moved the boy at different angles in a couple and this gave more movement like he was really running. I admit while said I was going to ignore the “rules” I think it is deep rooted a little so unless in a dynamic illustrated sense I tended to be a bit “boring” in terms of what appealed and I explored.

I think if all was completely horizontal / same side it can appear very flat, almost like a surface pattern than a working illustration. Sometimes this would appear more graphic than that of illustration to me, I also rarely included all three elements as a whole, with at least an overlap at parts.

My favorites were the closer up of the boy as gave the impression that the boy appearing to be running away/ fleeing and it what inspired a story the most in my head. The other was the more silhouetted ones and could envision adding interesting backgrounds to suit different moods. In fact I dismissed exploring these more as wasn’t square like the exercise objectives.

Something like below


This could be something I could explore more at a later date and make more “illustrated” sense as both seems a little flat at the moment, could make the space one something like Van Goths Starry night.

Considering I thought this was going to be a “easy” exercise for me and used mainly as an excuse to discover / learn more about composition. I found it hard to let go of my reality, what I know and like. Overall I know this isn’t a bad thing, however I do not want to be closed minded when coming to exploring and trying new things, due to the nature of my sketchbook board it does means I can explore this exercise any time, maybe worthwhile doing when I’m drunk and seeing what result I come up with. (semi serious) or even doing this exercise with my daughter and watching her come up things could enlighten me more.

I like what I did explored, I just feel maybe I was too sensible in my selections.

Credits, resources and references
Collins complete photography course

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