Key Steps in Illustration: Turning Words into Pictures

This excersie asked to take one word and turn it into a picture by sketching a scene and different aspects. The idea is to take different materials and look at the same thing over and over again to see how the sketching changes and what you could focus on to convey a scene.

I looked at the word “Kitchen” and started drawing various kitchen items like coffee maker, cutlery, pots and pans with a pen and brushed pen. With this material I mainly was able to use the basic outline or forms of the items.

I then used a pencil and graphite pencil to sketch kitchen scences with more details. I found the pencil was great for first sketches of the scene with a few simple lines, but could then also be used to work on more details of particular items because you can also use it to draw shades.

Turning words into a picture: Kitchen – Pencil sketches

I gradually added some colours to the scene.


In the first pictures you can see a graphite scetch with the  vegetables done with brushed pens. This helped to add some details and focus to the drawing, because the colours draw the attention.

Turning words into a picture: Kitchen – Mixed media

On the right you can see sketches using water colours. On some items I added a few details with a black pen. While water colours convey the texture or idea well I think, they lack the option to go into too much detail in my view. This can be easily added later with pens or pencil though.

Exercise 5

I went on to draw a kitchen scene with water colours, and in my view and especially when comparing it to the earlier pencil sketch, it conveys the scene better. It might have less details than a version done exclusivly with pencils, but it makes it easier to understand the textures, e.g. that the kitchen top is probably made from wood, the floor is made of tiles, etc.

Turning words into a picture: Kitchen – Water colours

I think what I can take away from this exercise is that I should try to use different materials when developing on ideas. I usually tend to use very basic sketches in pens or pencil only, and then start working with the materials I like to use for the final piece. I feel that trying different materials in the sketches first could help me to get a better final result because I can already try out different materials and ideas with the basic sketches.

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