After a few days, I started this exercise again, and looked at different scences within the picnic scene, including the couple, and the single person at the right hand corner.

The last sketch I did on the second page was a different perspective from the single person at the picnic. I sketched him from front instead of the side, and the idea of a circus boy in a mid-salto move came to my mind. The other sketches were quite sad (they all refered to the idea of being sad, alone, lonely, etc.) and I wanted to a happy illustration.

I decided to work out this idea a bit further, and sketched different perspectives of the salto, and ideas for compositions into my sketchbook.

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Initial idea for Daydreaming

Similar to the photograph, I wanted to create the circus boy in a blue costume with stripes. I did some inital sketches using different materials, like guoache, watercolours, colour pencils to work out some options. I also looked at some ideas for the background. I wanted to make it colourful, and in contrast to the blue figure. I wanted to create a background with “lights” only, and came up with the idea to use overlapping lights from different headlights, where the resulting shapes would change the colour.

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Working out the circus figure in different materials
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Colour studies
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Further sketches for Daydreaming

I continued with the actual illustration on thicker paper because I wanted to create the background with watercolours to create this faded, washed-out effect, kind of flickering lights. I captured the different stages of my work in progress here:

Fun fact: While I initally planned to have more of a yellow-orange colour scheme, I ended up with more red, purple colours. I might have been inspired by the tulips on my table where I was working. The tulips were coincidentally also called Harlequin. That’s why I then dubbed my piece “Harlequin”, too.

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Colour inspiration: Harlequin tulips

The exercise asked to turn the final illustration into a poster and include the title that was given to the cut-out from the photograph. I did some small edits with photoshop, mainly to blend the edges to the end of the frame, increase the contrast, and in the end, I deced to add the title at the bottom. I didn’t want to include it in the picture because I thought it would draw the attention away from the illustration. I tried out different options for the font, and where to place it:

Take a look at my final result for Daydreaming (Harlequin):

harlequin illustration
Poster: Daydreaming (Harlequin) – Final result of the image development exercise

Key Learnings:

  • One of the main learnings I take away from this exercise is to not stick to my initial idea necessarily, but rather to try out more things, and maybe go away from the intial idea completely.
  • Be open to go with the flow. When I started to work on this exercise for a second time, I did not expect to come up with this final result at all. I imaged it to be something else completely, but I am actually quite happy with the poster.
  • I thought to work out differnt options of one situation was quite helpful, and it made me think that there is not one right result, but there might be several ones. By not limiting yourself to one idea, you might end up with a better result.
  • Initally I thought of adding something else to the final illustration, like paper cut-outs/newspaper/decorative paper as a kind of collage, as well as more sketches of the different stages of the salto, to kind of illustrate the movement. I then found that the colourful background would probably absorb anything else that was added to it, so I decided not to make any further additions to not overload the image.

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