As always, I started the process by sketching out mini compositions. Since the location was not fictional, I looked to source imagery for reference. Fortunately, the area is quite popular with tourists and is therefore well documented enough to build up an idea of what the environment is like without needing to visit.
These compositions didnʼt make the cut sadly. The first thumbnail described the tranquility well but felt like it was more about the destination rather than the journey.
The ideas I sent over focused on two sections. The first being the initial run down the river. The second more about the climb and the hills beyond. Both ideas had the option to show the writer encountering her younger self.
The writer’s description ‘a sun dappled broadleaf woodland’ was of particular inspiration to me and presented an opportunity to produce some dynamic lighting. I started experimenting with colours that could communicate warmer areas in the light and cooler shadows, aiming to give the impression of an early morning run.
Once everything was in place, I went into the final illustration. I kept the the woods abstract for two reasons. One was time restrictions (it was an editorial brief after all), the other was that I didnʼt want to distract from the figures.
The end result felt like a cohesive set of images that complimented the serentity of the article well.