Exercise: Visual distortion


Begin by drawing a cat or dog. Use reference from any source – life, photos or images from the internet. Draw the animal in a way that makes it ‘real’. Remember to describe some aspect of its appearance or personality“.

Below is my drawing of a dog next to the reference used. Using photoshop, I created an outline then shaded with greys until I was happy with the likeness.

“Do a second drawing using no more than five lines. These lines can join up with each other and overlap or can be less connected; they can be straight or fluid”.

Below is my first attempt which I found difficult to work with so went back to the drawing board and created a more intricate set of 5 lines that overlapped more, allowing me to break the image down in segments better.

“Now make a collage from bits cut from magazines and printouts. Let the texture of a tree be the fur for example. Have fun introducing surreal elements. Deliberately distort. How far can you bend reality?

I found some interesting patterns, material, textures and images on the internet and have collated them below. I had the idea of some sort of mechanism (engine, cogs) depicting the brain and also elements of nature and other animals being used for the body.

Below are my chosen textures clipped in my 5 line drawing. I thought the Aligator skin provided a beautiful blend from the leg to the upper body with a nice transition between surfaces. I think the leaves work well as the ears and I purposely rotated them to follow the natural direction. I used the wood effects to create the back, and one of the eyes, the rings of the wood give a nice directional twist. I was initially going to use the owl for the chest area but opted for the scales and in the end, used the eye which sits nicely within the engine parts. The sponge texture was quite fitting or the nose and the same for the cracked wall I used for the legs, I thought this looked quite interesting as if they were cracked from overuse.

“Produce a drawn version (not a tracing) of your collage. When drawing, edit and select from the collage being aware of the properties you want to create a strong character. Review the distorted version and decide how you can refine the image.

Working from the brief I created a drawn version of my collage creation.

Progressing my idea for the head, I thought it interesting to create an almost cyborg character with exposed wiring. I added leaves new leaves to the ears to make them seem to be growing and also a branch for a tail. In the original, I used a tree set up for an eye, progressing from that, I decided to create a wooden fence eyepatch. When drawing the body, I thought it a good idea to transform the foot into that of an alligator to fit the rest of the upper body. I left the cracked legs the same as at this point, I was getting a Frankenstein creature, and they fitted quite well in my proposed narrative.

“This image can now be incorporated into a bigger image. Use your imagination and introduce at least one other element that introduces a narrative. Be creative but consistent in the development and rendering of this additional content.

Before I incorporated another image, I decided to shade my drawing to give it some shape.

Below is my larger image with my distorted dog character. My idea behind this image was that of an experiment gone wrong. I wanted to create an ominous object that the Frankenstein dog could sit next to. My second drawing pushed the dog to look very alert and calculating which I thought would work well alongside a creepy old door and warning signs.