When I first read the text that I am supposed to do a visual response to, I didn’t know how I would do it. The story is called Walkies by Jack Houston and it is about a man walking his dog along the river Lea in East London. He describes everything he sees and experiences and the people he meets during the walk. The story is so full of little events and details that I didn’t know which part of it I would base my visual response on.
My first thoughts were that I could use collage or maps in the response but I still didn’t know what exactly I would make. But when we had a letterpress workshop with Kim my idea became clearer. We were told to choose a short sentence from our text and just experiment with it and see what we could get out of it. I chose “running like a river parallel to time”. And I arrange the letters in a way that resembled a river. I talked about the outcome with Kim and she thought I should definitely keep working on this idea, and I agreed. I thought that this idea would be great to develop into the visual response. (See my blog post about the letterpress workshop here: Letterpress workshop.)
The next step for me was to go to the uni library and start experimenting with the idea on a computer. I started by going over the text and picking out all the different things that the man sees and experiences and collated those into a mood board. That gave me a visual understanding of the key elements in the story. Also it was a good process also when it comes to researching the area where the story happens.
I still hadn’t decided whether I should choose short sentences from the text or use the whole text. But just to try something, I used the whole text to see how that would look. I tried to pick the important words from the story and make them bigger and construct the river shape from those, and place the rest of the text around that. However, it proved to be way to difficult. So, next I copied and pasted the whole text into a text box, size of the whole page. I also cut the river out of a map and placed that in the document too. Then I started to make the words bigger that just happened to be on top of the river shape, so that they would also create the same river shape. I did two versions: one where the red river was visible under the letters and one without it. I wasn’t sure yet which would be better, so I thought I’d wait to hear what my teacher thinks. This is where I got to: