This observation journal page is a variation a previous activity.
The week before, I’d been playing with the concept of a story behind a story, as a way to strengthen a draft or unfold an existing story. Here, I was trying to apply that to illustration.
I adapted the activity by instead asking: If I remove the [primary/obvious] purpose, what remains?
Of course, I discovered I’d simply reinvented “breaking an image down into its component shapes”.
But doing that does create a basis for building something back up into new shapes and possibilities, and revealing alternative, less-obvious purposes.
A more directly creative (as in, I made things out of it) activity was: Drawing the people glimpsed from the corner of your eye. But the mental exercise of this approach felt like a (mild) workout, and it was an intriguing way to hold an object in mind and at arm’s length, and look beyond the obvious.
- Choose an object in your line of sight.
- Identify its main/obvious purpose.
- Now ignore that purpose. What remains? A collection of shapes? Secondary or tertiary uses?
- What could you build up with those residual aspects? What type of story might it have come out of (fictional or real)? Could you create something with those shapes and textures, or redesign the object to better fit a less-obvious use?
- Do a quick sketch (written or drawn).
- Bonus round: Repeat a few times. Then notice what was easy or hard, what tactics you defaulted to, what objects or features regularly charmed you.
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