Unconventional Playground


This piece was made for my Concepts and Metaphors class final, based on the theme of “Playground”. After considering a range of different nature themed ideas, I thought about trying to take something that most people would consider NOT playful, like a decomposing body, and turn it into something beautiful that brings life.

Decomposing human bodies actually provide nourishment and nutrients to the environment. They create their own ecosystem consisting of various fungi, bacteria, insects, and animals. The soil formed by decomposition of a body remains nutrient rich for many years afterwards.

I wanted to show the intricate beauty and balance involved in this process and how life changes from one form to another. I aimed to create something not gross or repulsive, but accurate and representative. To do this, I first created a Research Board with the artists and references that I wanted to draw from.

Unconventional Playground: Research Board

Next, I created some concept sketches and thumbnails, developed those thumbnails into larger sketches, and finally inked a full size (26″x13″) version of the lines.


Finally, I scanned the inked drawing and then colored it digitally using Adobe Photoshop. After that I added a few finishing touches and printed a full size version! Below are a few detail shots of my favorite sections:

"Unconventional Playground" Detail 1

"Unconventional Playground" Detail 2

"Unconventional Playground" Detail 3

"Unconventional Playground" Detail 4

"Unconventional Playground" Detail 5