Exercise: Image Development


“Cut two ‘L’ shapes of card or stiff paper. You are going to use them to explore formats, to zoom in and out of compositions. Take an image which has a range of content – a family photo, and interior from a magazine or another artist’s work – and enlarge it to A4 and make ten copies. Scenes with action with a background and foreground can be most useful for this kind of exercise. Use the ‘L’s to create edited versions of each image. Retain the content but try presenting it in different ways in different formats. Repeat this using all of your photocopies. Do some images seem to have more drama because of the way you have cropped them? Has the focus changed – have you made the original subject of the image seem more or less important?”

Below is my chosen image.  This was a family holiday photo of my daughter and son playing in the waves.

From this image, I used Photoshop to crop and create ten different views. The brief also asked me to choose a word for each image that relates in some way to the content. I have inserted these into each photograph.

I felt like this was a good picture to use. In the cropping process, I was able to move away from the main subjects and create a very different narrative with each crop. Cropping the subjects and water into the frame gave a sense of people in a moment/action while including the cliffs and beachhead gave an enormous sense of scale and distance. I tried rotating the crop to experiment with every angle and found that the water almost looks like it is flowing into the scene.

Focusing on some aspects of the image allowed me to portray a different story each time. From calm seas, crashing waves, seaweed, cliffs and a busy beachhead, the subjects are surrounded by so many different elements of nature.


“Using one of the images as a basis for an illustration, draw up your artwork to make a poster. Add colours and textures to emphasise your message. Use the word you selected as the title and reproduce it in a typeface you feel suggests or reflects the meaning of the word itself. Position the text alongside the image.”

For this part of the exercise, I have chosen the angled image (labelled “Jump!) of the subjects getting ready to jump the waves as the basis for my poster.

Below are some quick sketches I created with the word “Jump!” in mind.

Below is the 1st draft of my chosen layout:

1st Draft, Line art
1st Draft, Block colour

Once I had the items in place, scaled to size with the angle I wanted, I began to create my final illustration.

Below are the process images:

Final Piece:

I created the final piece at a poster size of 18″x24″ @ 140dpi.  This was a nice size to work at and allowed me plenty of detail for the wave and the subject.


I was pleased with the final illustration. The image portrays a very common activity of jumping waves on a beach with my chosen word highlighted in the background. The cropping exercise earlier on, made me think to rotate the canvas, giving the image another level of motion. Almost as if the water is running to one side, enhancing the subject’s action of jumping the wave.

This was the first exercise in which I felt my workflow improved dramatically. My tutors feedback allowed me to start the final piece with much more confidence in what I was creating. By brainstorming ideas into sketches, I was able to see what was going to work for the exercise.