Exercise 6 – Paper circus

Brief: Create a poster for a circus using paper cutting as the form.  Following on from my research on paper cutting I will attempt to make a poster for a circus, as per the brief.

Key words:   whats on, where, when, coming to town, circus, paper, cutting, paper sculpting, text.

Responding to words:  Circus – juggling, ring, elephants, lions, aerial displays, knife throwing, circles, red and white stripes, big tent, flags, lights, blue, variety, travelling.  What/where/when – cost/location/date.


From the quick sketches I wanted to pick 3 that could be potentially developed.  The trapeze artists, the elephant and the ringmaster were chosen.  However, once I started to cut paper out, I found that I went for the elephant image and used the paper I had along with a mix of other materials to enhance the image.  I used the paper cutting as a jumping off point but found that the image was developed further once scanned in.  That was simply because the card I was using was all in pastel colours and I hadn’t been able to source brighter versions.  So scanning them in created the options of using more colours.

Was it helpful or a hindrance using only one material?

It was a lovely material to work with but I’m not very experienced with it so it wasn’t easy.  I chose to cut into shapes that represented the objects within the circus but I’m sure there were plenty of other ways to explore the material and elaborate on it. 

Origami or creating more details might have been the way to go but not for this exercise as I was conscious of my deadline.  I did try to create a handmade effect for the text but in the long run, it was important that the poster was legible so scanning it in and ensuring text was used was important.

I’m happy with the way it turned out, but using paper exclusively wasn’t for me.  I’m happy to merge it with digital work as it has a beautiful finish when scanned in and it definitely adds a noise to the image that wouldn’t be achieved with just working in PS or Procreate.


Circus images


[Accessed 17.10.21]

Wikipedia (2021) Dumbo


[Accessed 17.10.21]