Exercise 13 – Visual Metaphors

For this exercise, we were asked to create a variety of rough drawings depicting visual metaphors for a chosen topic.  Out of the list given, I chose to try and depict the theme of ‘Reaching Retirement’.

Some of my drawings are from the perspective of a pensioner who is not happy about reaching retirement and does not want to leave the world of work.

There are also some of the expected type of drawings such as pictures of golfing items etc. Despite doing research beforehand, I had trouble thinking of items that clearly depicted retirement.  I think developing any of these ideas further would require concentration on illustrating a person over 65 and doing that really well, plus anything in the environment that supports the idea of retirement. I think that would require much more research.

Here are some of the images I found online that were relevant to the topic:



My final image concentrates on the ‘Reaching’ part of the topic because when I focused on the word, I thought of running a race.   So I drew an old man running on a racetrack away from Work and towards Retirement, which is at the finish line.

I’m not entirely sure how successfully this drawing is as a visual metaphor. Especially because I used words. Does using words make a visual metaphor less successful? Possibly.

When I asked a friend to look at my drawings to see if she could figure out what theme I was trying to portray, she told me that the pictures made her think of ‘finishing work’ or ‘retirement’. I was pleased that she was able to glean some meaning from my rough drawings, but when I asked her if she would have been able to interpret the drawings without any text, she didnt think that she could have done.

I think my drawings don’t actually look like older people, the elderly or pensioners and adding some colour and more details may have helped with this.  For example, if I had coloured the hair with gray or streaks of gray, then it may have been one way to communicate age as the lines on the face may not have been sufficient.

Overall I’m pleased that I was able to convey my topic with drawings and a little text, but I’m not sure if the drawings could be classed as successful visual metaphors.  Some of the best examples I’ve seen have conveyed their meaning with little or no words.



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