… meaning lies in the total fabric formed by the interwoven threads,… communicative purpose, visual languages and design logic participate simultaneously in the formation of the graphic figure. Bowman 1968, viii
As Bowman (1968) notes in the epigraph above, the development of graphics has drawn on a number of independent disciplines, referring to and creating different visual experiences, acting as different sources of principles and values for designing more articulate forms. Bowman’s Graphic Communication (1968) provides a starting place and basic framework for the analysis of graphic communication as a way to present technical ideas. While accepting graphics as a technical craft for practical communication, the Kuchka also creates space for graphic images as experimental and personal expressions. In this essay we invite the reader to bring their own experiences to bear, and extend this work to our mutual benefit, and possibly to the benefit of the broader public’s graphic literacy.
The Double Language of the Brush
Long ago, near the beginning of Civilization, humanity had what the ancient Chinese referred to as the Language of the Brush, a means of expression (with ink and paper) simultaneously descriptive and emotive. In the West we had the cursive and uncial styles, and later the hand-printed script. With Modernity came colored pencils (added to pens, brushes, stamps and glue), Gutenberg printing and photographs; and with Post Modernity came photocopiers, scanners, and computer printers. An accumulation of the work of centuries, we also have a myriad of visual imageries and text forms to work with. These technological developments did not exclude simultaneous descriptive and emotive expressions. But now in the Machine age, the expressive duality of the Double language is facing extinction as computer graphics create the illusion of visual objectivity. Conceptual graphics requires more than attempts at “visual objectivity”, however. It requires a combination of a relatively free mind, and a free hand. So let’s see what we can do, entering into the field of graphics with our revelatory intent and the cloak of the artificer. Let us explore some of the language of graphics that is easily within our grasp. Goal… Creating Graphic Communications of Wondrous and Complex Ideas. Motivation… Motivated By Total Communication (incl. Text, Theater, and the Experience of Checking It Out for Yourself): The Graphic Is One Part of Total Communication. Challenge… Challenged By What We Can Do With Marks On A Piece of Paper
or a Wacom Tablet, WITHOUT LOSING SIGHT OF THE DOUBLE LANGUAGE OF THE BRUSH.