Monumental Portraits

As an element of the ‘Image’ module, we were taught how to create patterns in Photoshop. By creating our own pattern we were asked to take a photo of an object that related to a portrait of a person we had taken.

We took a photo of an object and cropped in on an element of the photo to use in our final piece. By taking the crop of the photo we then started to copy and paste the same cropped image into the same document by mirroring the image to form multiple tiles that fitted together.


The image I decided to use to relate to the person in the portrait was an Atlas Moth with vibrantly large patterned wings. These beautiful wings related to the beauty of the girl in the portrait and the fact that she had a keen interest in butterflies and moths. The photo I took of the girl was from a photo shoot I conducted in the summer. We used different coloured powder paint to convey emotion or an alter-ego, for the project I was exploring.

I took a small section of the photo of the Atlas Moth and started to put together a pattern.


I decided I wanted the final piece to be the size of A4, so I continued with the pattern in a new A4 document.

After completing the pattern I edited the photo by adjusting the Brightness, contrast, levels, exposure, and saturation in Photoshop. I also used filters I had downloaded off the internet called ‘Nik filters’. The style of the pattern reminded me of art nouveau styles from the 1920’s. I edited the photo with the filters to make it look older. Some of the filters I experimented with made the photo look less saturated, more grainy, and darker  or faded in some areas. After editing the photo, I added a burgundy coloured frame around the photo. This would enhance the brown colours in the pattern and balance the composition so that the photo would stand out from the background.



I placed the final edited portrait onto the pattern.

What I wanted to experiment with now were changing the colours in the final piece. I reopened the document as JPEG image so I could change the hue and saturation of the final image in one layer. I first increased the saturation of the image so I could notice a difference between the modifications of hue I made. When adjusting the hue, the saturation made a significant impact on the vibrancy of the colours in the image. I also experimented with increasing the saturation to 100% which made the portrait and pattern look extremely psychedelic. It reminded me of work that would be found from the 60/70’s. This made the portrait look extravagant but peculiar.

I went back to the original photo that had not been modified with hue and saturation. I converted the mode from CMYK to Grayscale. After changing it to Grayscale it reminded me even more of art nouveau work. An example of an artist it reminded me of was the French filmmaker, George Méliès. I increased the contrast in my image to further outline the difference between the shades of greys.



Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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