ISO Illustrations with prominant foreground person in front of big space
October 12, 2021 7:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out the perspective/layout of some illustrations I'd like to do and I need to see some examples. The basic layout is a person in the foreground (interested in both full body and just upper body/head) in front of a large space. Ideally with lots of stuff going on in the large space. So think a person standing in front of a playground with kids playing, a zoo with animals, a store with people shopping etc. Some with a fence or barrier between person/background would be good.

Since I'll be doing illustrations and illustrations give you a little more freedom to fudge perspective or whatever, I'm mainly interested in illustrations, but no harm in looking at photos if you know of some.

Also, I will be making many such illustrations, some will have tall things, some will have things that might block the view behind them (so maybe would want a high point of view to see over), some I will want facial expressions and some I will want body basically I'm happy to have lots of examples and it's not like if I find one then I'm if people have suggested some, it's ok to suggest more/others.

And yes, as per my previous questions, some of these will be in a zoo, but not all, so all different kind of scenes are helpful, not just zoos.

If there's a name or keywords for this kind of composition, that would be helpful to know too.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
The fit isn't perfect, but I'd recommend looking at illustrations by Julia Rothman. Her work is really detailed and often includes outdoor spaces. She does a series for the New York Times featuring people and issues around the city and sometimes uses a composition similar to what you described.

Summer Streets
An American Dream
Holiday books
Making Work Accessible

Her website
posted by violetish at 7:48 AM on October 12

I think it will be easier to find photos like this, so here goes:
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
posted by XtineHutch at 7:51 AM on October 12

Your description made me think of Gordon Willis photographing the Washington Post newsroom for All the President's Men.

One example here, and another here, but you can see a whole bunch if you do an image search for "All the President's Men Newsroom".
posted by rd45 at 7:56 AM on October 12

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. Some of these are great. I just want to clarify that the background scene is a focal part of the picture, not just background. So need compositions where the foreground person is noticeable prominent but not blocking the view and ideally it needs to be possible to see throughout the background space (so an object in the front of the open space doesn't block everything behind), which is why I was thinking it might have to drawn/photographed from a higher point of view.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:31 AM on October 12

You might some find some inspiration from photographer Garry Winogrand's work at the Central Park Zoo, since the perspective is about the visitors vs. the animals.
posted by xo at 9:25 AM on October 12

Imogene's Last Stand does this with mid-sized spaces, if that might help. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures has a couple others like that too, and also a wider farm scene at 5:07 of the linked video. The Bear and the Piano also has some nice ones of city scenes. (Videos chosen because they show the photos; I didn't actually watch/listen to them.)
posted by teremala at 9:29 AM on October 12

Caspar David Friedrich was known for painting figures looking out onto various landscapes, so his work might be worth checking out, although you're probably familiar with it already.
posted by pipeski at 1:24 PM on October 12

how bout some breug(h)els?
landscape with skaters and a bird trap (the elder)
hunters in the snow (the elder)
the skaters (the younger)
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:14 PM on October 12

Photos area easy - breaking news reporting and propaganda are exactly in that genre. Typing “kim jong un factory” yields some hits. Like this one. Lenin is pretty good too! (for actual pictures – socrealistic posters, like here and here.)

Of course, there a lots of photos of kids harassing (excuse me - "interacting with") animals in zoos.

Incidentally, during my searching I discovered there was a Lenin statue in Seattle. Pictures of Lenin marching along while normal American life goes on behind are delightful too.
posted by Dotty at 6:12 AM on October 13

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