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.

Page 1 sketches – Fountain pen, A2 sized
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.

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


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.