2.6 Word processing

The purpose of this research task was to experiment with using a set of rules to generate an illustration so that any lessons could be taken forward in later work.

Key words from the brief:

  • The starting point for this exercise is an automated word association game
  • Once you have reached a 20-30 word text or ‘poem’, draw pictures or take photographs of each of the words in the sequence
  • Combine all these single images into one composite picture

List of words

I used the key words I highlighted from the Brookwood Cemetery ideas map from 2.4 Word associations as my starting point for this exercise. I tried a number of words that either gave circular results quite quickly or came to dead ends before reaching the 20-word list.

I was successful using the word ‘peaceful’:

Peaceful diplomatic embassy legation group assemblage collection assembly gathering crowd horde gang clique set traditional outmoded out-dated dated square quadrangular

Word sketches

Following the instructions, I sketched out each word using reference images sourced from search engine results. I wasn’t particularly discerning about what images I used.

EPSON MFP image
Page 1 sketches – Fountain pen, A2 sized
EPSON MFP image
Page 2 sketches – Fountain pen, A2 sized

Thumbnails to test composition

Thinking about how to combine all 20-images into a single picture was quite perplexing and I came up with the concept of a curiosity cabinet. This would allow me to bundle the disparate objects into a single image.

The other challenge was to try and design an image that was visually interesting with some kind of narrative.

I thumbnailed out some different compositions.

EPSON MFP image
Thumbnails to test composition

Composite image

I worked up the final image using a fountain pen and black ink. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about visual style because I saw the primary purpose of the exercise was to think about process and composition.

The following sequence of photographs shows the drawing at different stages.

The final drawing:

Composite image01
Composite drawing that contains all 20 of the word sketches. Fountain pen, black ink, A2 sized

Reflections

Although the final image is absurd the different elements within it provide a rich source of content/combinations to spark off new areas of investigation. This would be a particularly inventive way to develop a narrative arc.

Drawing the words and combining them into a single image helped to bring to life the story telling potential. For example, the group of photographs in the foreground could become characters in a story. The demonstration going on outside the window provides a strong context. The plastic gnome and robot indicate someone with a quirky personality etc.