Exercise 2.3 / 2.4: Turning words into Pictures & Making a Moodboard

As these two exercises both follow a similar theme and use the same prompt lists as a starting point, I have combined them into one log entry here so I can more easily compare what I have learned from them together.

Exercise 2.3: Turning Words to Pictures

The first of the two exercises asked me to draw everything that came to mind using one of the prompts from below.

Childhood | Exotic | Destruction | Kitchen | Wild | Fashion | Travel

Unlike a spider diagram, the focus here was on images alone rather than words. There were no pressures to make the drawings accurate either, as quantity was more valuable than quality at this early stage. The word Exotic stood out to me as the option that provoked the most distinctive imagery for me that I could draw from.

It was recommended that I used a variety of different materials here, but I found that using a ballpoint pen for the lines eliminated my need to edit and erase that I often feel when I use graphite pencils. My initial colours were recorded using marker pens, but they had to be swapped for pencil crayons to avoid bleeding through the paper. Despite this, I actually found this combination allowed me to work really efficiently once I got going without the need to concern myself with what material to use.

Aside from a note about the page bleeding, I managed to fill these sketchbook pages with as many images that came to mind.

I started in the left hand corner and after the first few scribbles I found myself instinctively creating a small scene with several elements working together in context. This actually turned out to be unhelpful as the exercise did ask me to break down my ideas into separate drawings. Once I had realised that I was jumping ahead, I adjusted my approach and sketched out many more objects that came to mind without directly linking them together and soon I was producing drawings at a much quicker rate, spreading out from left to right across the two pages.

I still found myself wanting to group and connect similar ideas into rough categories on the page by orbiting them around each other and in some areas I've made some images very small as I've tried to squeeze things in. Through pacing out my space and not filling large areas from the start I would gain the same benefit I had from the more careful word spacing that I used in the spider diagram exercise.

Looking back at the completed pages, I feel that I've made a good start at loosening up my drawing style when generating ideas and I can reflect on my thoughts in a way that isn't always accessible with words alone. I also want to keep using this method of sketching more often to keep improving my visual shorthand.

Exercise 2.4: Making a moodboard

The next exercise returned to the first list of prompts, I chose Kitchen as my subject for a mood board as I knew that I already had easy access to a range of related images from a number of different types of sources from media close by.

From cooking and home furnishing magazines and leaflets I found around the house (and the recycling bin!), I sourced a collection of clippings which I then added to using printouts from pinterest boards. Although pinterest does a great job at quickly gathering ideas in a digital environment, I still prefer physical collaging for its tactility and ease for arranging.

Finally, I took some photos of my own kitchen to try and capture angles and objects that I had not found in the other clippings. When looking at how some other students had approached this exercise, I found that some people had taken surface rubbings relating to their words and I tried this myself to get some distinctive patterns from worktops and chopping boards that represent a range of textures.

Clipping out and sorting the images into categories.

After trimming and mixing the images together, I enjoyed arranging them into categories across an A3 sheet. The previous two exercises needed me to generate ideas from scratch, whereas this time I could take the role of an image curator, with the freedom to edit and arrange the existing content as I pleased. I had more clippings printed out than I had space to fill, so I omitted some of the pictures that communicated similar ideas. Instead of having several images of similar looking toasters for example, I could communicate the same idea with just one.

Some of the trends I discovered included collections of images relating to food preparation, kitchen appliances and storage solutions. One section in particular looks at commercial kitchens in a restaurant setting. This was an unexpected area for me as at first I was only thinking with a domestic kitchen in mind before discovering this area through related results from my online searches.

Although I have still placed my images together in related groups, this has become less visually apparent on the final page than I first intended as the images crowd together and cross over into other areas. This may still makes sense to me as the creator but if I was collaborating with others then I would either space out the images over a larger area or add text to indicate the trends and patterns in a clearer way.

I've enjoyed both these tasks and along with the previous spider diagram exercise I'm starting to understand the benefits of using using alternate types of visual research to make use of the strengths and weaknesses of each method. It's good to have a variety of approaches and I think that being able to selectively mix and match techniques within the same task would bring out the most advantages overall for generating ideas.

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