Exercise: Using black and white


Produce a line visual around one of these words:

  • Sea
  • Extraordinary
  • Building
  • Journey

“Through brainstorming, you may decide to draw from an object or selection of objects or work in a more narrative way around a scene or idea. Ensure that the line visual you produce through visual exploration and development is very clear, employing a line which is solid and definite – fine-liners over a pencil visual should give a clean edge“.

For this exercise, I chose the word “building”. I had an idea to use a single point perspective to show the scale of a group of buildings. I used Adobe Illustrator along with the single point perspective tool and began to create the linework for my buildings.

Final line detail

I then filled the building with black and grey along with windows filled with white to give the desired effect of a cityscape.

Final cropped image
Inverted colours

Once I had inverted the colours, I then began to reintroduce elements of the inverted image back onto the original to add depth. I was able to cut and past different patterns from the windows, which allowed me to show reflections and light from other buildings in the image.

Final image

Below were other attempts that I tried in this exercise. I was trying to create and highlight different visual aspects by converting the black and white elements of my image.

Other attempts
Variation showing activity/populated
Another variation highlighting a single building

The illustrator Olly Moss could be described as a “Graphic artist”. His work, exampled below are simplistic in their form using strong block colours, allowing for good visual metaphor and perspective.

Like in this exercise you can see the artists use of black and white to focus on particular parts of the illustration. He also uses this technique to create shadows and distortion.

Examples of Olly Moss


Taking segments from the inverted image allowed me to enhance and progress the scene. This technique added another layer of depth to my original image. It was fascinating to see the drastic changes in my compositions by simply inverting colours.

Without texture or detail, I was able to focus the audience to certain parts of my image and give a completely different perspective.

I got slightly carried away with different variations and could have produced more in the way of developing my image. Moving forward, I hope to spend more time developing the ideas around my work.