book arts, calligraphy, illustration, writing

Symbols over realism

Alright, so the rest of this is just a note to myself about the uses of pictograms, ideograms, written language, and their relations to drawing.

(Apologies, I’m being distracted by something in the next room.)

My discovery the other night is that I realized that a lot of my draw to writing is because of the nature of using graphics to symbolize ideas. I discovered this partially via copying over the ideograms that I’d designed for this comic project (which, to be clear, I’m not as of yet set on illustrating in comic format — it could well translate to an entirely written, or written and partially illustrated work — only it would not be for children).

There are a lot of things in drawing that I haven’t been exposed to yet, and trying to realistically represent a place and give a sense of it is one of those things that I’m not sure I wholly enjoy. I get a lot out of it, in the sense of being pushed to visualize places I’ve never been; I know that. But I’m not sure I want to spend a lot of time on drawing a lot of irrelevant detail.

There’s something about the ideograms, though — I’m not sure if it’s their graphic simplicity and boldness, or if it’s because they’re representing an idea for which there are no words (the latter of which is very possible), but they appeal to me more than realism.

I suppose right now I’m just finding my place in the world of books, and that place is squarely not in the “realism” camp. I can see this from my last entry and from what I’m writing here now. I think I’ve just got to find a way to reconnect with it…what it was before college tried to train me away from mystical thought and to ground me in this reality.

Last night, I was thinking of creating at least a good number of pictograms and/or ideograms and incorporating them into my writing as text. I don’t know what publisher would go for that, though. Or how I’d do this, other than creating a font whose characters were my own symbols.

But it is pretty fun to try and use a calligraphic line while drawing kanji or kana. I ended up using rollerball and felt nib for most of the latter part of it, but I am slowly recovering my ability to write in Japanese.

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