A Sense of Place; Cambridge 2016


Your local tourist board has commissioned you to produce a series of reportage illustrations that celebrates aspects of local culture. Base your illustrations on real local events, locations and people. Capture a sense of place through drawing from life. Produce between three and five pieces of work, at least one of which should be in colour.

The style of the illustrations is up to you, but the tourist board wants something that portrays vitality and life. They want to see people at a destination, engaging with activities or enjoying themselves taking in the views. As with the exercises you’ve done so far, use your sketchbook to document and gather information. Your final illustrations could be a selection of your best drawings or re-worked illustrations based on your sketches. Reflect on what sort of reportage you are most interested in and how you’ve produced your best drawings, then pick a place that supports this way of working. For example, if you’re interested in architectural illustration, focus your assignment on illustrating local buildings of interest.

Overall assessment and future developments

For this Assignment I produced a series of 4 illustrations of Cambridge in different seasons. The aim was to contrast the colours and feel of the different seasons through differences in style and line, and also different media. Showing the architecture and flowers and gardens, together with the multicultural nature of the city – tourists, students and local population.

I worked from Sketches on location – mostly pencil, but also crayon, pastel and watercolour. I supplemented these by photos and some video of activities like punting and skateboarding. I combined a selection of these sketches together in Procreate on my iPad as layered images that brought together different aspects of the scenes. They were done at a very early stage in development of my iPad skills, and I only had time to redo the final image in preparation for assessment.

In preparation for assessment I focused on composition and experimented with different cropping to simplify the images and give more impact.

As some of my first attempts at this sort of iPad montage I am quite please with the results. But there is a lot more work to do – maybe redrawing and experimenting eg if I do autumn in oil pastel, summer in crayon etc – and then recompose. I would also like to do some linocuts and collagraph based on these images.

I would also like to present the multicultural feel of the city more – possibly by making each image in a specific style or making the figures more obviously from different places. Or I might make the images more representative of different artistic cultures. I think that option would be more interesting as a set than trying to make them all the same style. Another option might be to do different series in different styles eg all Chinese/Japanese as this is a key market for Cambridge tourism – we even have market stalls where all the signs are only in Chinese. Or all Indian, African etc.

When I started this project I could not find many really innovative illustrators for inspiration – mostly rather conventional pen and wash work that does not really interest me. However as I prepared for assessment I discovered quite a lot of very recent work and websites. These have also suggested possibilities to explore with collage, paper cuts and combining gouache and oil pastel for texturing.

See Post Cambridge Inspiration

Spring: Clare College

Spring in Clare College

For details of development of this image, and preparatory sketches and photos, see Assignment 2: Cambridge Spring: Clare College

The aim was to give the image a Japanese and Chinese feel – fluttery feel of the cherry blossom – and all the Chinese and Japanese tourists who had appeared.  I like the background and the use of the crayon drawing.  I did a lot of blending of the different colour sketches. I need to make the status of Confucius either strongly contrast – a critic of the scene? benevolent onlooker?, or make him blend in more eg by unifying the colours. There were also a lot of other tourists taking selfies with long selfie sticks. I would like to include some of those. The two gowned figures look more like burqas – though maybe that could also show inclusiveness and multicultural feel.

Summer: Millpond

Summer at the Millpond

For details of development of this image and preparatory sketches, photos and videos see: Assignment 2: Cambridge Summer: The Millpond

I like this image – the final version increased the contrast to increase the focus on the punters under the bridge, and changed the photographer to myself as a woman so they did not look too much like a stalker!

Autumn: Jesus Green

Autumn Trees on Jesus Green


For details of development of this image and preparatory sketches, photos and videos see: Assignment 2: Cambridge Autumn: Jesus Green

My original feel for this one was Van Gogh. The very striking colours in the avenue of Horse Chestnut trees. I was not at first sure about the bright colours. And would like to have got more wind movement as in some of my sketches. But it has really grown on me, and responses from my tutor and other people who have seen it have been positive.

Winter: Christmas Reindeer

Winter Reindeer at the Round Church

For details of development of this image and preparatory sketches, photos and videos see: Assignment 2: Cambridge Winter: Christmas Reindeer

This is the image for which I have the fewest sketches and need to do more – I had to wait till winter, but then it was very cold, particularly with RSI. I was lucky though to be at the Round Church the one day the reindeer were there before Xmas. I like the image – better than the one originally sent to my tutor. But I need to work more on the blending and get rid of the ink lines.