Part 3 Exercise

Exercise: Image Development – Project Visual properties

For this exercise, I had to produce to ‘L’ shape cards and explore the composition of a photo, magazine or image from another artist’s work. I’m not really sure why but I remembered the fun work of Beryl Cook, a British illustrator known for her amusing look at social groups and individuals, and how her paintings were often made up of many different actions and suggestions. I thought her work would make a great choice for this exercise. I decided to take one of her pieces with a range of contents and look more closely at it.

I chose a piece called ‘The Manipulators’ – silk screen

Image result for beryl cook

I made 10 A4 size copies as requested and then carefully looked at different areas of the painting, breaking down obvious areas of activity and then changing things slightly to either cut people out of groups or add them to see if I could change the meaning of each scene.

Please see my log book notes on my observations on the arrangements I selected and chosen words I gave them below:


Beryl Sketchbook 1.jpg

My chosen words are:

Image 1: Gossip

Image 2: Engaged

Beryl Sketchbook 2.jpg

Image 3: Looming

Image 4: Huddle

Image 5: Together

Image 6: Whispers

Image 7: Bored!

Beryl Sketchbook 3.jpg

Image 8: Intentions

Image 9: If only…….

I decided to look more closely at the cropped image no: 10 of the full length couple dancing in the foreground and the disinterested couple seated in the background. I wasn’t sure of my chosen word to describe this scene just yet so explored some sketching to try and decide what it should be.

I really liked my quick sketch of the dancing couple. I think it has a lot of movement. I wasn’t sure the disinterested couple in the background would help in a poster drawing so I decided to leave them out and just concentrate on the dancing couple. I decided to call this image ‘Lucky?’ – as a question, because I think you could interpret the use of this word in different ways for the older man to the younger women. Could it be she is the ‘lucky’ one catching her prize of an elderly, possibly lonely man that might end up giving her all his money or is it that the elderly man who is the ‘lucky’ one because he has found a nice young women to share his time with? I like looking at it in both ways.

Beryl Sketchbook 4.jpg

Although I think using gouache or acrylic might have been a good way to show this image in poster format, I didn’t want it to look so much like the original by Cook. So I opted for watercolour to give a slightly cooler feel to it, and to use it as an excuse to practice a little more with this medium.

Beryl 1.jpg

I love her bright red head so chose to compliment it with a similar colour background. I struggled to get a nice wash on the background in watercolour – this is something I will have to practice. But was heartened to see Picasso treated some of his early portrait paintings in the same way – see Picasso or Bust Blog Post (Madame Canals – Bernedetta Biano, Autumn 1905).

Beryl 3.jpg


Beryl with text.jpg

Final Image with text above

I looked at various fonts and liked Bradly Hand as being a casual, suggested handwritten style font for my chosen word of ‘Lucky?’. It feels right for the word itself (which is either thought or said to describe this illustration and therefore informal) and I think it fits well with the image, as it could be the handwriting of one of the characters looking back at themselves or their partner in this illustration.

Critical review

I had to look at an image and find areas of it that might change the feel and message of the original image. I think I have followed the process of producing ‘L’ shape compositions well although I think the final image could still have the title  – ‘The Manipulators’ that Cook originally gave it. I think I was able to look at each composition and interpret it in the new way it presented itself and talk about that (see sketchbook notes). I believe my chosen word of ‘Lucky?’ extends the narrative of the illustration by making you ask questions  of each characters motive for this dance. The colours chosen are similar to Cook’s original but have a cooler feel and fit well as just two characters removed from their original multi – charactered and cluttered setting. Overall the final image is a good representation of the characters and word I wanted to represent, in a medium I think fitted the brief of a poster design. Overall I am happy with this exercise and the processes I went through to fulfil the brief.

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