2.1 Multi-dimensional thinking

The purpose of this research task was to provide a practical example of what visual thinking means by moving a drawing through points and lines into planes through carrying out a simple set of instructions.

Key words from the brief:

  • Begin with a blank sheet of A2 paper
  • Start by making random dots across the paper
  • Connect them to make shapes and forms like squares, triangles and rectangles
  • Start to think three-dimensionally and in round and non-linear shapes
  • Slowly start to think visually
  • From your map of points, try to create the territory within that map

How I did the work

I began with an A1 sheet of heavy cartridge paper and made as many dots on it as I could in a 2-minute music track using a soft pencil. The dots were fairy evenly distributed across the paper but there were concentrations in some places.

I decided before starting the drawing that I was going to use a bamboo pen and Indian Ink to make the drawing after being inspired by the André Masson automatic drawing in 1.4 Flow and play.

I found it very easy to get lost in the process of joining dots and quickly started to form shapes that suggested objects. I worked across the page jumping from area to area adding cross hatching to suggest three dimensional space.

At some point in time I decided to start filling some of the negative spaces around the objects with a black wash of Indian Ink using a paintbrush.

The complete picture took about 2-hours to complete. I listened to music the whole time.

Automatic drawing
Automatic drawing – Bamboo dip pen and Indian Ink, A1 sized

What the experience was like?

Enjoyable. Working using bamboo dip pen and Indian Ink added expression to my marks and I had a feeling of moulding something into shape. The image flowed out of the pen and ink.


This rapid way of working suited my ways of working.

I like the visual style of the imagery and it will interesting to develop some of these – perhaps as part of Assignment 2.

Using words was interesting – ‘Chicken liver, bladder wrack’ has a nice feel to it.

Question: How is it possible to use this direct, rapid, automatic drawing approach in a more controlled way i.e. with predefined subjects?

Illustrator test
A test ‘placing’ the drawing in Illustrator and using it as a template to recreate a new version of the character