Reportage Illustration

Atmospheric Gigs

Brief / Location
The gig I went to was at Alexandra Palace in London, which has a capacity of 10,000 people. It was evident that I would not be able to take an A1 sketchbook with me, as drawing in this size would be impossible, which meant I only took a small A5 sketchbook and a few pens and coloured chalk. I also brought my iPad with me as a backup, because digital drawings are easy to manipulate.


◊ Capturing the atmosphere at a concert.
◊ Depicting a shared communal event in which strangers unite together to share a certain excitement and energy like no other.


My first drawings looked absolutely dreadful. The venue was completely packed, and it was difficult to get a good place to stand, let alone to draw in. The gig was held in low light too, which meant I could barely see my sketchbook or any subjects. As there was minimal light throughout the entirety of the gig I came to the conclusion that my drawings would have to focus on the outlines of the people in the crowd over anything else. I was too far away to draw the main act in any form of detail, so I decided on capturing the atmosphere at the concert instead.


The difficulties surrounding Reportage Illustration at an event combine many elements including being in a large crowd, being surrounded by intoxicated people, not having a secluded space to draw in etc. Drawing from life can be a challenge as everyone is constantly moving so your subject is never in the same position. This is even worse when you’re in a confined space trying to draw something and you have nothing to lean onto. Rather than focusing on any great detail, I aimed more towards simplicity and the outlines of subjects. This turned out much more successful as I could do it quickly and be less intricate.