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Monday, 22 August 2011

The "Spork" in WallE and our Image Symbol System

I bought some fruit in a plastic container which had a plastic fork in it. 
Actually it wasn't just a fork it happened also to be partly a spoon. 
Therefore I gave it the name "Spork".

In WallE by Pixar there is a wonderful part where he collects odds and ends whilst on cleaning duty outside his container home. One item is a "Spork. 

On return he wants to put it in one of two containers which hold forks or spoons. WallE however cannot decide which one to put it in, as it is neither one nor the other , and so places it slightly frustrated in between. 
Now this was beautifully observed by the director of this animation and shows something very significant about our own image / shape recognition.

What I want to do is how this relates to the way we see and how this affects how we draw.

 A fork is an everyday utensil that we can recognise easily through common usage. However without an understanding of what it is it would be merely regarded as a  piece of metal, plastic or wood fashioned into a particular shape. Someone who has never seen or used a fork would not have a label for it or see any reason to use it in a particular way.

Observational Drawings (Drawing things from life ) as we see them requires a form of dissengagement from this "labelling mind" in order to "really" see what is "actually" in front of us...

Now I have been reading Betty Edwards book carefully this week and she appears to have encountered the presumption from students  that merely "looking at something" with your eyes you actually "see it"

Actually what is really happening is your mind tends to  image  / shape /  form / Label ...and once recognition takes place there is no further need to "look" However "seeing" is a completely different matter ...going beyond the taking it for granted phase.

Take "The Mona Lisa" by Leonardo Da Vinci as an example of something you think you have seen. Think about the painting for a minute.

OK which hand rests on which?

Yes you can guess but can you clearly visualise it ...?

I got it wrong and I have studied art for 25 years.

I guess you were expecting a question about the smile ....

So what does that have to do with a "Spork"? 
Well its about seeing things closely as they are, without placing importance in a specific part. If you want to draw accurately rather than "realistically" then"turning off" this automatic response mechanism which wants to immediately label and categorise is the way "to see"

This is NOT easy to do . However the method of seeing that I want to follow up with should in time start to delay and ultimately reduce this natural tendency transforming your visual sense into a way of seeing  things incredibly clearly. 

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