Line? (Part 1)

After done with my initial sketches, I decided to make this illustration more experimental, even the whole progress of execution itself. I would like to kick start it with several visual experiments, which would precisely help me to narrow down my ideas.

Instead of keeping the positive space or negative space unpainted, an idea of utilizing multiple ‘units’ comes across my mind. Every unit itself would be a part of whole illustration. Max Wertheimer (1924, p. 2) suggests that we should perceive the objects as component parts of organization and examine the organization’s integrated or unified behavior as a whole. He also emphasizes that Gestalt theory is not merely a theory about an outcome but also “a mean toward further discoveries” (Wertheimer, 1924, p. 3). Therefore, I tried to sketch some strokes (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2) and (Fig. 2 to Fig. 9) dots spontaneously on sketchbook, by using both inking pen and watercolor. According to Wertheimer’s law of similarity and law of proximity, these dots and strokes could be perceived as a group object when painted in similar shapes and proximal distance (Wertheimer, 1923, p. 301).

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Fig. 1. Dot experiments with the law of similarity, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 2. Stroke and dot experiment with the law of similarity, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 3. Stroke experiments with the law of similarity, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

My next challenge is to keep all units placing in a linear movement. I paint all the short strokes in different direction (Fig. 4 to Fig. 9), in accordance with the law of direction. Wertheimer (1923, p. 301) asserts that a grouping objects show their attribute of direction perceptually, and sometimes might even overcome other Gestalt laws (i.e. law of proximity and law of similarity) despite the other laws are found at the same time.

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Fig. 4. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity and the law of direction, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 5. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity and the law of direction, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 6. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity and the law of direction, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 7. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity and the law of direction, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 8. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity and the law of direction, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 9. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity and the law of direction, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

After watching Christopher Nolan’s Momento, I would like to enhance the pianist’s struggles by using two opposite ‘tracks’. A forward sequence shows the attraction from devil; another backward sequence indicates the resistance from the pianist. According to the law of common fate, the two opposite orientation of sequences are perceived as two opposite groups (Wertheimer, 1923, p. 301). Beside of using facing directions and body postures (Fig. 10 and Fig. 11), I also tried enhancing the orientations by filling certain groups of stokes with colors (Fig. 12 and Fig. 13). The sequence’s perception seems comparatively stronger than before.

Fig. 10. Several visual experiments with the law of similarity, law of direction and law of common fate, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 11. Several visual experiments with the law of similarity, law of direction and law of common fate, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

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Fig. 12. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity, law of direction and law of common fate, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

Fig. 13. Stroke experiment with the law of similarity, law of direction and law of common fate, sketched on 17 Dec 2013

You might also want to find part 2, part 3 and part 4 of my line experiments respectively.

References:
Wertheimer, Max (1950) ‘Gestalt Theory’, in Ellis, Willis (ed.) A Source Book of Gestalt Psychology. New York: The Humanities Press

Wertheimer, Max (1923) Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms. Untersuchungen zur Lehre von der Gestalt 2 (4), 301-350, available at https://artstrokez.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/max-wertheimer-laws-of-organization-in-perceptual-form-part-1/ (visited 15/10/13)

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