Exercise 15: Reading an image


“Look carefully at this image.

Mark Oliver

Then in your learning log list the content of the picture – breaking the image into its constituent parts and answer the following questions:”

  • What the image is about. What is it saying?

Personally, I think that this image represents a common conception that your actions always have consequences (also known as ”karma”). Because as you can see, there is a throne, but if the children decide to sit on it (even though it isn’t theirs) they will awaken the big dragon by sitting on its tail. Therefore, its a metaphor that represents how you need to be accountable for your own actions and be careful and accept the consequences.

But at the same time, it also represents how you always have an option and that you can always choose to do the right thing. Because as we can see, the girl is pointing to the dragon and its throne but the boy is pointing to the exit.

  • Work out the narrative and identify the story.

This image reminds me a little to the famous tale of “Hansel and Gretel”, I imagine these two kids to be siblings that just moved to a new village because their parents found better jobs there. And the first day of school, they decide they will take the path that goes through the forest, but they take the wrong turn without knowing it and they end up lost in the middle of the forest. It’s getting late and dark quickly but when they suddenly hear a voice that says “Kids are you lost? Do you need help?”. They quickly turn around and see an old and creepy lady that is dressed in long dark clothes and a pointed hat That lets them know she is a witch. They tell her everything and she says that she can help them get back home safely if the do something in return, the kids agree without hesitation. She asks them to go inside a cave an bring her a throne that belongs to a creature that lives inside this cave. The kids are scared to go inside, but even more scared of never getting back home so they decide to head into the cave and get the jewels. Once they are inside they see the huge dragon and all the jewels, the brother suggests that they leave immediately but her sister says that she isn’t scared and that she will get the jewels. As she approaches the big scary dragon she realizes that up close the creature is not that scary, and she suddenly has an idea. She gets real close to the dragon, and whispers in a soft and calm voice “Hello there, I am Sky and this is my brother Luke, we are lost and don’t know how to get home… Can you help us?”. The dragon quickly starts moving and the entire cave creates an echo for each one of its moves. They are both so scared but suddenly the dragon kneels down and smiles. Then, they know that they are safe and they decide to tell the creature everything about the witch. The dragon tells them that she has been trying to steal her jewels for years because they have magic powers that keep the village safe from the witches evil powers. Afterwards, the dragon tells them to hop on top of its back and as they all come out of the cave the witch gets so terrified of the big dragon that starts flying away, but the dragon follows her and makes sure she will never come back. Then, while they are on top of the dragon flying through the little village, they see their parents sitting on the porch of their brand new little house talking to the police while tears are rolling down their faces. Then they yell “There! That’s our house!!”, then the dragon starts to approach it and lands softly. “Hi mom hi dad!” Yell the siblings, as their parents run quickly towards them and start hugging and kissing them. “We were so scared…” then they look up to the dragon and say “We can not thank you enough… you saved our children’s life’s!”. “Your happiness is a reward enough for me, I’ll see you soon” and flies away into the moonlight.

  • Describe the palette and tonal range which has been used. Note if the colours are hot or cold, whether the elements are detailed or textural, and where these approaches are used.

The colors in this image are cold (blues) and warm (reds), it is a very colorful and busy image. Due to the fact that it has many details and a large variety of colors. Therefore, the amount of colors goes accordingly with the amount of detail.

  • Is there any connection between hot colour and the importance of the element in telling the story?

I believe that there is a connection between the hot colors and their importance, because the largest warm color (red) issued to make the main character (the dragon) stand out more.


Begin to identify the hierarchy within the image. Which are the most important elements in terms of carrying the narrative or conveying the ideas and how have these been treated?

As I previously said, I believe that the main character is the dragon, due to its size and bright color. Then, the hierarchy is continued by the throne and its jewels, then by the fire and its big and bright reflection on the wall, which leads to the two kids, and finally there is the cold tone background and swords.


I liked this exercise, because even though I didn’t create an illustration i got to create a story which I also really enjoy. I actually had to shorten the story I originally created because I get lost in details and ideas that keep coming to my head. I also enjoyed breaking down the image and its composition.

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