We were given this brief as an opportunity to enter the 2014 Folio Society competition to illustrate Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I used a dip pen to draw the images of a ink wash background and then added some light and colour with bleach and watercolours. I found starting this project very difficult at first because I was unsure how I wanted to produce the work, so I used a dip pen and ink as a starting point and to just get some composition ideas.
After reading the book I composed a few scenes that stood out to me and have posted them below. One scene, which involves two women knitting really stood out to much and I produced two different compositions for it. I pictured the black wool they are using to knit with as a representation of the dark Congo river and wanted it to be the main focus of the image so in the first composition I had the black wool weaving in between the two women in a fluid way to foretell the journey of the story. I wanted to emphasise this even more with the second composition with the hands knitting and the wool and the river merging into one.
Here are some more images showing the journey through the Congo river and jungle. I really wanted to play around with using the jungle in the foreground to create depth to the image and give the audience different perspectives and interesting view points into the story.
The final two images depict the moment Kurtz’s African mistress and the natives emerge along the shoreline, another stand out moment of the story for me, and Marlow visiting Kurtz’s fiancée and the end of the book. I like these images because of the contrast between the two and the focus on the two women who were involved in Kurtz’s life.
I wasn’t too happy with the final outcome of these images because I think the style of them doesn’t suit the source material. I found my critique on them very helpful and was told to try not too use so much outlines and work with shapes more and to try to depict a more realistic style and to work with fluidity to fit in with the book more, but I was told that the colour scheme and composition was working very well, particularly in the image with Kurtz’s mistress.