Dreamworlds: Creating your own surreal figure
You will need:
Several sheets of A4 paper for the preparatory sketches
Paper for final painting
Magazines, newspapers or books, including pictures of landscapes or cities
Paints, and all necessary painting equipment (See Getting Started)
Small brushes for detail and medium-sized brushes for larger areas
Somewhere – perhaps in a dream landscape – there exists a strange figure from a surreal world. You are about to bring this figure into existence.
How will this work
First, you will create a montage of cut out parts of pictures
from different sources – perhaps from magazines, or from your
Then, you will make a pencil drawing of that entire montage.
Finally, you will make a painting from the pencil drawing.
Start by quickly looking through magazines or books, and tearing out photographs as reference for your paintings to come. Don’t feel restricted by what you happen to find: freely take elements from different pictures, simply responding quickly to whatever seems interesting to you.
Choose a number of objects – perhaps kitchen appliances, clocks, bottles. Make a number of realistic drawings of the objects. Experiment with the viewpoints or angles, and the scale.
You will then cut out parts of these and rearrange them, before using them to draw your final image from. If you plan to have a place or setting, begin with pieces of scenes from nature or cities, to form a background.
These can then be filled with incongruity and unexpected features.
Once your background setting is fully worked out, it is time to place a composite figure into it. Who is that? He or she will be “constructed” of normal things that together become utterly abnormal. Imagine, for example, a semi-human-part-animal-tree with a zip in its side, opening itself to reveal a clock inside. Or a human-high-rise-building that has a hair-dryer for a head.
Unrealistic scale can also make an incongruous object look even stranger.
But scale is not the only way to create a surreal image. Look at the images on these pages, and think of your own.
The final painting
When you are happy with your completed drawing, begin to paint it. You can still make slight changes as you go – as long as you do not lose the strangeness of the (unplanned) conjunctions that occurred at the start