Illustration 1 - Exercise 19: Viewpoint Illustration 1 - Part 3 Key Steps in Illustration

Key Steps in Illustration: Viewpoint

This exercise was all about exploring differnt viewpoints. I was asked to work on a certain theme, and I chose “Festival”. I started by doing a spider diagram what I associate with the word festival:

kat-illustrates-viewpoint (1)
Spider diagram: Festival

I was supposed to choose five items that represent this theme. Since I mainly associate festival with going to dance festivals all over Europe, I chose fashion items that I’d normally take with me:

  • a dress
  • dancing shoes
  • a shoe bad
  • red lipstick
  • flower clip for my hair.

I arranged it in different compositions and took photographs from different perspectives.


I then did the same exploration by sketching these scenes. I worked very quickly, so I’m afraid the thumbnails in my sketchbook might not always be too obvious. What was important to me was to explore a wide range of formats, e.g. square formats, ultra long formats, format similar to my camera viewfinder, circle, and putting the elements in there in interesting ways.

What I found was that the ultra long formats (portrait and landscape) did not work too well to fit all elements, so they can actually be recognized. I had to cut them quite a lot to fit them into the format, and I’m afraid you sometimes wouldn’t be able to recognize e.g. the dress.

The dress, and the shoes, are the most important elements for the scene, however, so it is essential that the viewer recognizes them. Otherwise they might not necessarily understand that the bag is a shoe bag, that the lipstick and the hair decoration are meant for dressing up nicely with the dress to go out partying at a festival night.

I found that the square formats work somewhat bettter. However, my favourite layouts were the ones with a similar format to my camera’s viewfinder, especially the portrait ones. I expect this is because I’m able to fit the dress in there full, also from interesting angles, and play with diagonals to lead the viewer’s eye into the picture.

kat-illustrates-viewpoint (33)
Exploring viewpoints by sketching

kat-illustrates-viewpoint (34)kat-illustrates-viewpoint (35)

I chose three favourites, and did some larger drawings in my sketchbook, in the same scale as the thumbnails. To be frank, I did not pay attention to too many details, but rather working out the composition better.

The first one (frontal view) I find rather boring to look it. I expect it is because the background still takes up quite a large proportion of the image, and the items are not cut in any way.

kat-illustrates-viewpoint (36)
Working it out in larger drawings

The second one (left hand side) is also a portrait format, but has a more interesting angle of the same composition. It shows the scene slightly from above and with a diagonal angle. The viewer’s eyes are caught at the upper left, and the dress then leads the viewer into the picture to the other elements, which can then be viewed in detail. This one is my favourite because it gives enought details, but comes with an interesting angle. I think it represents the atmosphere of getting ready for a festival best.

The third (right hand side) is a square format. While I like that the items are not shown fully, but are cut, I think this is also what is wrong with the image. The dress cannot necessarily be recognized as a dress. It might as well be a curtain in this image. So I’m not sure that the viewer would be able to associate it with dressing up for a festival.

kat-illustrates-viewpoint (37)
Working it out in larger drawings

This is my favourite because I feel it is the most interesting composition. When going through my sketches, this one was actually one of the later ones I came up with. So exploring various options helped me figure out the best viewpoint I think.

kat-illustrates-viewpoint (38)
My favourite composition

Key learnings: 

  • To me, this exercise was very interesting and I found it quite good to explore different viewpoints. I think this is something I could use for future exercises and assignments.
  • Try out more, even when you think you’ve done all possible perspectives there are. I initally wanted to stop after two pages, then added some more frames in the sketchbook, which resulted into my favourite composition.
  • I think stepping back, and then look at something from a different angle, opens up new opportunities for better compositions, or more interesting perspectives, that you might not think about in the first place.
  • Working it out in different formats was quite helpful because it made me think how to fit the elements into the frame, so they could still be recognized.
  • When sketching the different viewpoints, I also thought if other items might have been better to represent the theme. I think the challenging part with the items I chose was that they differ quite largely in size (dress vs. the lipstick), so on the actual drawing the lipstick ends up quite small. I think other items that might have been a better choice would have been fancy socks because they would have been in similar size to the shoes.

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