Lamb to the slaughter

24 Jul

The following images are from a project brief I was given at University in my 2nd year. The brief was to create 4 inside illustrations and a front cover for a book from a story of our choice. I chose Lamb to the Slaughter.

The main part that stood out to me in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ was Mary Maloney’s sudden mood changes. There were 4 major emotional changes throughout the story, and I felt that these four moods were appropriate to concentrate on because I had to design four final inside illustrations. But I did not fully worry about the final pieces until the last week, where I eventually brought all my varied body of work together.

fulll body front cover

This is from one of the workshops, where we were given 3 hours to create a life-size character from our chosen story, because I had chosen to concentrate on the psychological state of Mary, it was the obvious choice to go with her. I used my finger prints for the whole piece. I think the end result made her look quite distorted and creepy, which suited the overall mood I was trying to create. I have edited this photograph to make her more out of focus and blurry.


collage natural paper


old dirty paper

jammed paper collageThis collage is a result from my printer jamming and goes to show that even mistakes can be still made into something. Don’t waste anything, horde everything, but don’t let your hording habit get the best of you… to the point where you keep all your rubbish thinking, “I could use this cardboard box for something later, in five years”. But still, keep your mistakes or unfortunate mishaps.

woman with mask collage



Creating collages from existing images is a really helpful and quick way to experiment with ideas and compositions. I always like to work with collages before I go onto doing my final images; it’s a great warm-up to doing any type of work.

Lino Printing


crowsThe bad printing was intentional for this project. It makes a repeat pattern look more interesting, rather than every lino print turning out perfect. Sometimes perfection can be boring.

Final Illustrations

Mary starts off as a happy housewife, to heartbroken, to a murderer and then a grieving but manipulative widow. I took all Mary’s emotions into consideration and imagined what colours and objects would represent them. I researched the different colours that are associated with the moods, and found objects that represented things such as death, for example, a clock or hourglass. From this research I made myself visual references, where I drew all of the different objects in my sketchbook. This helped me in a way that I could keep referring back to these images to make sure I would not forget or miss out anything.

At this point, I had come to the conclusion that I was going to mainly concentrate on the pies. I had originally begun drawing the pies because I thought they were a stereotypical object that could be associated with a 1950’s housewife. While the man is at work, the wife stays at home, while all she can do is make the house tidy and make dinner for her husband. The pies are now the main aspect of my illustrations, where the pies change in each image that relates to her moods. The first pie is perfect, to show when she is happy. Second is the Autopsy pie, when her husband leaves her. The third pie is much messier, where she has tried to put the pie together, representing that once she has killed her husband she instantly tries to fix the problem. The last pie is nothing more than an empty pie dish, which relates to the detectives eating the leg of lamb. I think it was a subtle way to show this event in the book without giving anything away to the reader.

illustration 1 correct size

Mary Maloney starts off as a happy, content housewife. She obviously loves her husband, waiting for him to come home from work, checking the clock every now and then. She is pregnant. It describes that once her husband arrives home that she sunbathes in his warm male glow. So from what seems a normal woman, who is content with her relationship, no sign of miss trust or worry quickly changes once he tells her he wants to leave her.

illustration 2

From being happy, she quickly turns into a heartbroken, confused and in denial woman. Instead of accepting what has just happened, she instead denies it all, thinking that it never actually happened, telling herself that maybe if she ignored it, it would all go away. She also explains how she cannot feel anything, not even the floor.

illustration 3

Once she kills her husband, without even a moment of consideration, she is surprisingly calm. She talks herself in the mirror to make sure she sounds okay, planning to carry on as normal, as if her husband isn’t dead, that she will go to the shops and he will be home, waiting for her. She knows what the punishment for murder is, and she is using the detective skills she learned from her husband to avoid this.

illustration 4

Returning home, she then turns again, into an emotional wife, who has just lost her husband, grieving over him (even though she killed him) and remembering all the old love she once had for him. She finishes off being quite a manipulative and persuasive, fooling the police and detectives that she is innocent of the crime. In the end, she is free.



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