Interpreting Nature Reference Photographs

For the second half of the brief I went around my garden placing it in scenes surrounded by nature and where the red would stand out, though this was pretty much everywhere. I found that the can belonged more when I placed it in a flower bed rather than precariously in some of the plant pots or on the side of trees. It looked like it had always been there intentionally rather than just placed for the picture.

These three were the ones I based the outdoor painting on. The one on the left had too much empty space on it so I went back out and took a few more pictures zoomed in until I got the composition I liked.


‘Interpreting Nature’ Mid Year Assessment Stage


So this is where I got to with my interpreting nature piece before our mid year assessment point. This piece has always been a lot easier in my head, it started out as a simple idea that I told myself would take a week maybe to actually create but ended up being something I redrew different parts of multiple times.
I think part of the problem with this has been doing each section half individually and then trying to fit it on. I have gone through plans of how the final piece should look that I use as templates but it doesn’t seem to translate how I want it to in illustrator. For now here is a sort of layout containing final vectors that I made and need adding too.

Interpreting Nature: Progress

Since last time I have gone through a couple of different ways of texturing the vectors I have to make them look more natural, as is fitting of the brief. I did these tests using water colour masking layers and the scatter tool to add images over the top of them.


I also tried more extensive uses of only the pattern spray tool with no background vector to build up the shades through just masses of overlapping leaves. I made a couple of different shaped leaves to add variation. I then looked at applying different patterns into the vectors I had but it kind of looked a little unnatural without any further editing.


With some editing however you get the hints of individual leaves and a solid shape that won’t let a lot of the background through. This was made with pretty much all of the methods above. It was taken into photoshop and messed around with until I got this. It combines the random elements of the scatter tool, the cleanness of vectors and the texture¬†of water colour masks.


This is where the piece is now. I haven’t added any of the texture into this yet as I want to have all of the shapes in place before I spend time changing them. I still feel like there is a bit of a disconnect between the ground piece and the objects. Think maybe I need to add some mounds here and there and continue it down a little. It works as a good marker line for now.


I also mocked this up earlier on to see what it might look like with text. The idea would be for the root systems of the trees to wrap around the ‘rocks’ that the text would be made of. Obviously its position, size and font need more consideration.

‘Interpreting Nature’ Seasons Piece Development

For the Batsford ‘Interpreting Nature’ competition brief I am doing a piece to represent the four seasons and the transition between them.


The left two images are the ones that the idea I am running with is being drawn from. The early one had the seasons being represented on each quarter of the Earth. Because I see a lot of this imagery and I myself have used this before I have gone away from it. The bottom left piece is a line quartered up with each quarter representing spring, summer autumn and winter, transitioning into each other. To add life and interest to the piece I plan to add things unique to each season as well as more obvious background pieces.


I did a couple of rough drawings of what I wanted where then added watercolour to one of them to quickly block in the colours I wanted for each season. We have spring on the left which will be greens with flowers that begin to show in spring being the main colour of the piece. Summer I went with a woodland theme and later, after doing this decided that summer fruits could be a good thing to go along the forest floor. The transition of the summer piece to autumn are cherry blossom trees. Autumn I felt needed to have the brown and golden leaves. I would like the floor to also be covered in leaves and have animals going into hibernation. Winter will have just branch trees and evergreens which survive with the leaves through winter. The sky between Autumn and Winter will transition from rain to sleet to snow.

illustrate progress 2 2.png

This was a quick piece on illustrator to block in colour and shapes so I knew what it would look like. I’m reasonably happy with how spring and summer have turned out but I think the autumn trees look a bit weird. This is partially because in the drawing I did this section shifted down to the right so I had to raise that section up in illustrator meaning it is more freehand than the rest. It may be an idea to design each section individually so this doesn’t happen.

These are some of the blossom effects and other textures I plan to add over the top. The left piece is the original that I did. The right was shown to me by my tutor as a more natural method to do this. It uses illustrators symbol and symbol spray tools to create a varied composition using the symbol.
For the final image I also plan on playing around with adding watercolour texture over the top of the illustrator shapes. I’ve done this in the past using masking layers in photoshop so may look at ways to refine that and take the piece over there when the vectors are done.


I also tried looking at more subtle ways to add the sun and background colours to the piece using gradients. I like how the sun looks on this one compared to the watercolour piece as it is more of a background feature rather than the main focus.
Other suggestions I have had for the sun are to have a lunar cycle sort of thing in the sky. To add to this idea I thought this could change my composition to be a floating platform with the lunar cycle going around it similar to the diagrams you see of them.

My piece would follow the line to the left of the earth and the moon phases would go around it. 


Finally, after I made the watercolour layout I did these just because it was topical and because I hadn’t done it in a while. I thought I could do these and shrink them down really small and repeat them for things like flowers, leaves etc. for the details in the piece. Either that or do them so the textures aren’t random and follow the lines that would be onn the actual flowers.