Essay – What is the Best Way to Tell a Story?

How do you tell a story? 

The best way to tell a story has forever been subject to personal opinions, views, upbringing and culture. Whether you like books, magazines or listening to people’s tales, they are all different forms of getting the same information and depending on your opinion, some are better than others. I shall be looking past personal belief and what is popular to find the real, logical choice. This meals discarding what I like best to look into the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, atmosphere, even how much of a reaction can be produced by using certain methods.

Let’s start right at the beginning when stories were exactly that – stories, legends and myths told from one person to another, passed down through generations via verbal communication. Words weren’t just used as a form of fictional storytelling before other mediums, they were also used to give messages and pass down knowledge, though there is one huge flaw with this method, being that mistakes can often be made. Such mistakes could be caused by missing out details, forgetting certain points or maybe people even change the original story on purpose to make things more interesting, this behaviour has a knock-on effect on the people listening to the altered version, as they believe it to be the original. The same tale will be told over and over, each person telling it in a slightly different way, resulting in not only a belief of the story, but also differentiating versions depending where in the world you travel. I think one of the most controversial, yet solid examples of this is religion. If you look at all the different religions in the world, many contain different depictions of the same/similar events – in my opinion, this is due the reasons previously described, and this story has changed from one into many as it has been passed down in time.

Looking a bit further forward, we have expressive arts such as dance, singing and chants. Though some expressive arts (mainly dance) are still commonly used today, they often have less meaning and tend to be purely for entertainment purposes, unlike the ones used way back when the arts were used for storytelling, or the reenactment of historical events. This is where plays originated, morphing through time and places depending on what has to be told, this also affected whether the performances/rituals include dance, singing, props, also whether the location is sacred or not. Though a lot less popular, some traditional dances and performances are still performed today, mainly at historical locations for tourists and visitors.

Dancing and the physical arts are all beautiful, expressive ways of telling a story, though in my opinion, they are not the best. They have too many flaws – one of which being a cultural barrier meaning people from different cultures may not appreciate or recognise the meaning of each story, therefore destroying the impact it is meant to create. Language barriers are also a problem when it comes to chants, singing and narrators, again, the narrative can be easily lost and if so, the performance cannot be shared or repeated elsewhere to deliver the same message. These are just a couple of things wrong with the arts, making them easily one of the most ineffective ways of telling a story or allowing it to spread and be retold.

Methods of relaying a story/event such as scrolls, tapestries and columns are by all means beautiful, but all share the same fatal flaw: time. Whether or not such beautiful works of art can withstand the test of time depends on the environment, weather and of course, the material of which they were created. The thing I like about these mediums is that they are almost universal, they use pictures to depict their tales, something most humans can recognise as a scene and figure out the story to. One of my favourites, though unfortunately not the best. 

When it comes to storytelling, books are certainly the first thing that comes to mind for most people, be it the fairytales we were told as children, or a factual murder mystery book we picked up to read on the beach. Certainly they are the most popular way of storytelling in the modern day and age but in older times, books were very expensive ways of telling stories and were rather hard to come by. The first book was most likely created on papyrus in Egypt around 2400 BC (a long, long time ago!) – In Europe and most of the world books were reserved mainly for universities, factual information, biographies and the like… in other words, fiction was scarce and even when used, it wasn’t what we’d see as an imaginative tale today. Possibly one of the biggest breakthroughs in storytelling related to books and mass-printing is Lewis Carroll’s 1865 hit ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, the reason being was because Carroll challenged the issue of books being informative by creating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, something that was considered complete nonsense at the time. Little does the deceased Carroll know now, this book helped shape modern storytelling by showing people it’s okay to be different.

Nowadays some of the most popular books come in either series or trilogies, enhanced by the movie versions created of them. Some examples of these kinds of books are The Hunger Games trilogy, Harry Potter series, Divergent trilogy and The Twilight Saga. The fact that making these kinds of books into movies has become a trend is helpful to me because I can very easily compare how the book and story translate as I have both read and watched quite a few of these.

What I like about books over most other story telling mediums is the freedom of creativity and imagination, the power to make the reader feel like either part of the story or just an observer and most of all – how description paired with creating personality has the ability to rope people in and make them emotionally attached to a certain person, place or object that they haven’t the ability to touch in real life.
Just as a book has the ability to build relationships, it also has the power to tear them down in a heartbeat, to render characters without hope and thus, the reader too.
Of course no two novels are the same, there are true stories, romantic, action, mystery, crime and utterly heartbreaking ones too – and it doesn’t stop there. To create a book is to have complete control and creative freedom of whatever subject you choose, the only limitation is your imagination – it is up to you to plan and execute how you want your characters and readers to feel, to create a climax – an embarrassing moment… it’s endless.

Something I find interesting about books is the tenses and person in which they are written… for example, writing in first person and past tense may give the sense that someone is telling a story, whereas writing in third person, present tense gives the impression of a limitless observer.  That being said, tenses can also exist (in a manner of speaking) within videography, often portrayed by narration or simply using camera angles to show different people’s perspective on a situation or even show you how the world would look through the eyes of a different species all together.

There are many pros and cons as explained, though books will always be one of the most traditional and well loved methods of storytelling that could easily be the best if it weren’t for it’s rival: Videography.

The main differences between Videography and Books are definitely the usage of human senses. Videos use sight, sound and are able to immerse you almost completely in the right atmosphere, feeding you instant information of shocks, events that are happening all within the blink of an eye. This is something that books can’t do without using the imagination of the reader – they factor in the cognitive function of the brain – relying on each individual reader’s ability to process information at a certain pace and also, the language and grammar they understand. These limitations are what knock books down for me – they are amazing and classic and can easily be immersed in, though they do not possess the raw events, instead they are masked by the readers themselves.
Whether the above makes sense to you or not may indeed be reliant on if you have read a book and watched the movie version of it. One of the most popular things you hear with these is “Oh, the book was better.” And in my opinion, yes, in a lot of cases they are though the reason for this I find is less because of the storytelling method, but more because the films are limited in time and often have to cut out vital parts of the storyline to be within the time constraint they have been given. This aggravates viewers and readers because the book has all the time in the world to go into great detail about a character, a scene, a dark past… whereas the video version of this may only take seconds to deduce an elaborately written scene in the worded version.

To look deeper into both Videography and books, I decided to create my own literature and footage:

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While my writing is focused on creating suspense, my video is just to get across what my website is about without sound. I think they both successfully pull off their jobs, however, videography trounces writing by just a little. Let me explain.
There is a reason movies are the most popular in modern day society – they are quick, immersive (they use sight, sound to engage with you) and most of all, they can deliver super amazing visuals that would take so much more effort to read about and probably not visualise to it’s full potential in word form. They are flashy, they create suspense, emotion, fear and joy at the switch of a scene, also they often include dialogue and music which are beautiful storytellers in their own right and allow viewers to bond better with a certain character or relate more to a situation.

This research informs my practice as a designer, photographer, artist and writer because one of the main components of all these practices is to get a message, story, event or certain appeal across to viewers, essentially this is telling a story in very different ways. Knowing the ins and outs of each practice I have researched both within this essay and on my blog will help me make future decisions mainly about communicating my subject to my audience using whatever medium turns out to suit the ‘storyline’ best.

Videography and modern cinema is the winner. Thankyou for reading.


What is the best way to tell a story? Pt 3

Firstly I shall be looking at scripts and storyboards as they are two very vital components to the first word, and the word I shall be focusing on most: Videography.

Scripts & Storyboards
Scripts are basically lines to be read out or acted out according to the directors choice. The most common use of scripts in the modern age is for movies where actors and actresses will read their lines and perform actions according to said script. Scripts are also used across all kinds of performances from Chinese Shadow puppets to ballet, opera, comedy shows, plays, audio books and much, much more. I chose to look into this topic because I feel scripts are the ‘in-between’ that allows any form of creative writing or idea to be transferred over into a movie or a play – it is the very thing that brings any idea to life in whichever form they are planning to portray the story.
Storyboards are either the stage before, during or after a script when it comes to directing for a movie etc, this is entirely dependent on what is being created and, of course, the creators preference of working. For example when I created a short comic book for a project, the first thing I did was brainstorm ideas in my own, very messy and sometimes considered ‘wrong’ way. Secondly I jumped straight into the storyboard and created the script along the way… but as I mentioned, that is just my preference. People like Hayao Miyazaki are famous for creating the story as they go along (I’m kinda guilty of this haha…) whereas the ‘proper’ way is to go in stages.
Looking at both of these as the person who has not created them can be interesting because they are neither a finished product nor a beginning stage – their story may not be clear to the reader because you are virtually looking at the inner workings of somebody’s creative process. This is the interesting part though – seeing a work in progress leaves more open to interpretation, therefore the story is subject to change depending on who is reading it and what stage the script/storyboard is at.

Newspaper & Magazines:
Newspapers are very literal, they are told mainly to inform whilst still making the story interesting – essentially making them more ‘boring’ than a book for example which goes into great detail. The pros of a Newspaper are that they can spread the word fast and they are straight to the point – no fancy language, meaning almost anyone who can read is able to figure out what they are trying to get across. Their headlines, although often misleading, are also to be congratulated as they can attract the attention of passers to the stories inside with such a short ammount of text.

Magazines are similar to Newspapers, apart from the fact they are generally less about factual news stories and more about gossip. Not only is the language used less formal and leaning more towards keeping people intrigued, but the content itself is not necessarily factual. Also there are many different types of magazines that are truthful and informative, less story based such as health magazines but still, they always rely on people wanting something (ie gossip, glamour secrets, weight loss) to reel people in, using the same ‘WOW!’ kind of language that isn’t realistically seen anywhere else in storytelling. The other issue is that both magazines and newspapers can’t stray too far from the truth, only stretch it slightly or quote speculations. This limits the storytelling potential further.

Comic Books
There are many different types of ‘comic books’ and graphic novels on the market today. Some popular ones are The Walking Dead, The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Death Note, Bleach etc.
Comic books are, in my opinion, sometimes better at portraying stories than a lot of books. The reason I say this is because they are a hybrid of both visual and verbal, containing (depending on the book in question, of course) written sound effects, character dialogue, a great storyline all accompanied by visuals which in my humble opinion, create a better representation of the story than a book alone. The only reason I still regard books to be better than comic books and graphic novels is because for a graphic novel, everything is handed to you (the scenes acted out, the character’s appearances, etc) whereas a book leaves much more to the imagination.

Thank you for reading!
Part 4 shall focus on the two main candidates for the best way to tell a story: Videography and Books.

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What is the best way to tell a story? Pt 2

So far we have covered the pros and cons of Columns and Tapestries.
Not straying too far from these ancient techniques of storytelling, I shall be focusing on the next topic:


Traditional Hula dancers dance to Hawaiian chants and songs rather than to an actual beat, this gives the dances meaning and essentially a storyline that wouldn’t be as prevalent if these words were taken away. Most of the stories are of ancient mythology, gods and tales of creation and wonder.


Chinese Shadow Puppetry
This interesting art of shadow puppetry is often seen at traditional Chinese festivals and weddings and consists of manipulating cutouts of characters in front of a light to use their shadow as the characters instead of the cutouts themselves. This method of storytelling can cover anything from confronting issues to moral teachings and of course, mythical tales too. For smaller shows the puppeteer often sings or talks, telling the tale as he/she goes, though for more fancy events the puppeteer is usually accompanied by musicians.



Drawn from Greek Theatre, this ancient way of storytelling alternates between singing and speaking, performed on a platform. Each story usually includes a single (or no) prop and a marionette, often consisting of virtuous battles and tales of daily Sicilian life alike.


Rakugo is a traditional Japanese comedy of sorts, told by one storyteller alone who takes tales of modern day situations of everyday life, and uses history as a way of enforcing a moral lesson in an amusing way.


Griots are the traditional keepers of cultural history in West Africa. These storytellers often accompany their words with instruments too, alongside their duties to preserve family histories.


Bharatanatyam originated in Tamil Nadu, South India many thousands of years ago. Devadasis (Indian Temple dancers) are the ones who perform this sacred dance as it is considered a prayer to the gods, Bharatanatyam consists of stories based around these gods and deities and is different depending on the gods that are being worshipped and the temple in which this dance of worship and storytelling takes place.


Modern Theatre:

When I say modern theatre, I’m talking about the type found in New York, London… everywhere across Europe and some other parts of the world of course. Theatres are home to many different types of performances, a few I shall be focusing on specifically: Ballet, Opera and musicals as these are very story – orientated.

Ballet dancing originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries, later spreading to France before the rest of the world. It is a formalised version of dance, focused mainly on poise and elegance of both the male and female dancers. Ofen Ballet can be just a theatricle dance, but the majority of the time it portrays a story, a couple you may have heard of being The Nutcracker and Swan Lake (more recently adapted as Black Swan in the movie).


Flashy, amazing and very over the top (in all the best ways) musicals such as Wicked, Lion King and We Will Rock You have taken modern theatres by storm. Having seen Queen’s We Will Rock You in person, the feeling you get from seeing such a flashy performance is overwhelming, their songs incorporating the audience making you feel part of the performance itself. Some may think the story itself can sometimes seemed swamped amongst all the singing and dancing, though having experienced the pantomime every christmas and a few West End performances, I think as a generalisation the story is key to the supporting music, props and dancing.


Focused mainly around period themes, beautiful vocals and orchestral music, Opera tells a story almost entirely through singing instead of speaking, often accompanied by props and background dancers (mainly ballet) since the early 1500’s. One of the most famous operas in modern times is the Phantom of the Opera movie.


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What is the best way to tell a story?

This is a question that has webbed its way throughout history as different cultures have used many different ways of story telling over the years.

I have decided to look at many of the different methods that have been used from hundreds of years ago to present day.

Let’s start:

I have decided to look at columns, more specifically the 40m tall Trajan Column located in Rome. This amazing column tells a story of battle, construction, overcoming obstacles and is over an astounding 1,900 years old! Estimated to have been built in 113AD, the column has been preserved beautifully.
I think Trajan Column is almost like an ancient comic strip… only a little too high for people to see. To see an astounding 360 degree view of this column click on this link or copy and paste the url below into your browser:

Another variant of a ‘column’ type story telling format is a totem pole. Native to northwestern United States and Canada’s western province, British Columbia, these unique wooden columns carved from tall trees can be used in a variety of different ways including storytelling of important events and portraying certain characteristics of the clan who carved them.

Columns aren’t always used for storytelling however, in fact their most common use is within structures either for decoration or structural reasons. I’ve seen them used for war statues and memorials too, they are basically there to make things look important.
One of the best known examples of a column is the one that stands in Trafalgar Square, London.

Makes for a beautiful landmark
The story will last for a ‘long’ time before it’s eroded
Displays the cultures craftsmanship

Sometimes only the people who made them can interpret their meaning
You have to walk around the column to read it, resulting in dizziness
It’s too tall to read without the aid of a cherry picker
The stone could erode over time
Should the pillar fall down there will be no way of telling which order the events depicted happened

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Tapestries are basically stories/scenes sewn onto fabric using coloured thread, sewn by hand, that will eventually make a picture.
There have been many historical tapestries discovered from around the world
Scotland, even as seen in the movie Brave by Disney features the main character and her mother creating a tapestry together, this tapestry symbolises family and is very important to them, thus emphasising how their meanings vary & that they can represent very important personal meanings. The kind of tapestries I’ve been looking at in particular are medievil tapestries as these are some of the most decorative ones used to depict a scene from our history.
In Britain, Scotland and all around the world people used tapestries as a decorative story board, often the rich families would hang these in their homes to show their importance as the time, money and skill required to create one of these wasn’t cheap, even back then.

Quite often the tapestries were used to show imaginary scenes or gods such as the one with the unicorn (goaticorn?) which shows they weren’t only used to show historical events, they were also used to tell stories.
To find out about a few different types of medieval tapestries such as King Arthur and Camelot tapestries, click this link.

Religious events and symbols are commonly found on tapestries in churches, chapels etc. As you can see below DaVinci’s painting of “the last supper” has been transferred to a tapestry, most likely so it can be hung on a religious site.

A few famous tapestries that I have looked at are the Cloth of St Gereon, the Hestia Tapestry and the Beyeux Tapestry.

^ Hestia Tapestry

^ Bayeux Tapestry (shows the events leading up to the Norman conquest of Englandconcerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.)

^ Cloth of St Gereon (Second oldest tapestry in existence within Europe, it’s a motif of a bull being attacked by a griffin)

Looking into the modern age Tapestries are only really used as an alternative to pictures when it comes to decorative art, below are a couple of examples:

There aren’t any meanings to these tapestries other than being purely aesthetic. These can be bought for fairly cheap on places like Etsy, Not on the highstreet etc.
When it comes to modern art, tapestries are few and far between. Whilst on the hunt for modern tapestries with a meaning/story behind them I came across a rather interesting artist named Grayson Perry, he has created what is said to be a spin off of the Bayeux Tapestry that I mentioned previously :

Of course this has nothing to do with the battle of hastings, instead this tapestry is named “Walthamstow Tapestry” and depicts the journey of life and death itself via the brands we use throughout our lives. This tapestry is scarily accurate, it even made me a little emotional when I saw some of the brands my Nannan uses towards the end of the tapestry. This beautiful work of art is almost telling us that we are all the same, we all live, consume, give back then die eventually.

Beautiful pieces or artwork
Shows care about the topic being shown
Display of craftsmanship

Very time consuming
Has to be big to fit some stories on
Takes a long time to figure out what the story is about/story can be mistaken
Erodes over time
Expensive to make (the old way)

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Deciding on a topic

So far I have come up with the following ideas for my essay topic:

Explore all media – Pick a topic and portray it several different ways using creative media of my choice, eg sound, video, photo, art, writing, design and maybe typography.
Explore what is dearest to people/what makes a person
People’s personal wonder cabinets/how life experiences changes what’s inside them
Finding myself/my style
Life story/short biographies/my biography?
Short story of a thing/creative writing
Earth – everything in one place
Exploration of the unknown/supernatural/death
How different people see the same subject/topic
Why we perceive things as scary/inviting/beautiful
Exploration of emotions
Exploring videography & directing (links to the video in the homepage of my site – could help improve this
Character design/story structure
Digital Painting

It’s pretty safe to say that these needed narrowing down… a lot. I have put the few that interest me the most below for you to see:

  • Exploring videography & directing (links to the video in the homepage of my site – could help improve this)
  • Explore all media – Pick a topic and portray it several different ways using creative media of my choice, eg sound, video, photo, art, writing, design and maybe typography.
  • Short stories/creative writing

The reason I have chosen the above topics is mainly because I feel as if Video and Creative Writing are the topics I am lacking most when it comes to the portfolio of my website. Completing any of these briefs will help expand not only my portfolio but also my knowledge and skills within an area that will be of use to me.

Exploring videography & directing” Has always been something I would like to explore more, one of the main reasons being that my website’s homepage is a giant video, and a rather amateur one to say the least. Exploring video will allow me to discover new editing and filming techniques to really portray beauty and a story through just a simple video that contains no sound.

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Short stories/creative writing” This doesn’t have a very broad spectrum, though as I mentioned before I would really like to work on my story telling/writing skills.

Explore all media” will let me improve my skills throughout all media, though I think doing this subject for the sake of it will be a little pointless, that’s when I had the idea to incorporate all three ideas I am interested into what at first, seemed a little messy.
What is the best way to tell a story? – this is the question I shall be basing my essay and research upon.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Self Directed Final Brief

Here begins another new project for the Contextual Studies Module. We have been given the challenge of doing… well, whatever we like which can be a scarier prospect than actually being given a brief. This research is to be concluded with a 3,000 word essay and a visual response of our choice.
I think the underlying message of this brief is “find yourself”… something I have tried before, failing epically of course. I’ve been putting this project off for a while now and I think the issue I’m having is that I don’t know my style properly, nor do I know where my allegiance lies when it comes to Design, Photography, Creative Writing and Art/Illustration… Though I guess this is a good opportunity to find out.

Alas, the most difficult part of any project. Because of my scattered nature I figured there would be no better place to start than something abstract and disorderly. I hope you enjoy my response to this project. Let us begin.

Inspiration and the collection of material is something I do frequently so I have decided to take a look at this to begin with. I have listed some sources of inspiration below, I use most of these on a regular basis:

. Art (all forms) is one of the best things to look at as it contains composition,color, and expression which is good for jogging the mind.
. Conversations with people on and offline Talking and discussing ideas is one of my favourite ways to elaborate on an idea/come up with new ones. Never underestimate the power of communication and opinion.
. Television whether it be a show or the adverts in between.
. Magazine Design
 is inspirational both because of the magazines content (you can choose a specific magazine that has content of your interest), and the layout of the zine itself.
. Music stimulates the brain in so many different ways. The lyrics, composure or tone can inspire you, even listening to music when your trying to think can be helpful for some (myself included).
. Architecture
is good way to see solutions for space and structure.
. Works of Fiction are often “out there” – helping to inspire both your grammar, word use and idea stimulation.
. Works of Non-fiction are a good place if your looking to learn something new/improve your knowledge of a certain subject.
Nature is our foundation and is one of the easiest forms of inspiration to access.

Drawing inspiration from around the world is something I am interested in also – it helps me see how the rest of the world perceive different aspects of art, fashion, design etc. To read my posts on each separate area of Earth, please select a post from the list below:
Central America
European Union
Middle East
Eastern Europe
North America
The Carribbean

Online Methods of collecting inspiration:


The above are just a couple of the many out there, they are basically online apps with the purpose of being a ‘hub’ of sorts for any images/quotes/art/design work etc you might want to collect. The one out of these I use is Pinterest, my account has over 10.7k pins… Which is terrible and obsessive to say the least. Honestly Pinterest is my holy grail of inspiration, I use this when I need inspiration for anything at all, whether it be makeup, fashion, diet tips, recipes, design, art etc. That is the beauty of these applications, they allow ‘hoarders’ like me to have anything and everything in one place whether it be work related or otherwise.

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Above is my Pinterest page. As you can see there are many different boards that contain things I like – none of these have anything to do with each other and that’s the beauty of this app.

Pinterest and the other sites I mentioned are a very low key, organised way of collection. On the other hand, there is the action of hoarding that can be classed (in some cases) a way of collecting what’s of interest to you/what inspires you. As you can see above, hoarding is a more messy, less work focused way of keeping everything you like in one place.
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Hoarding in this manner looks somewhat unappealing to someone like me as I love everything to be in once place, but to be organised at the same time. This site almost made hoarding look like an art form , it reminded me somewhat of a museum or an art gallery and that’s when it hit me – places like galleries, exhibitions and museums are essentially giant hoarding closets put on display.

Looking at Museums, they are like gigantic cabinets/closets containing anything imaginable from any place in the world. Almost like the whole map of the world packed into a small (or not so small) area. I like the idea of the world being in one place, it makes it’s entirety seem somewhat smaller and accessible to the public – curators are the ones who put together these wondrous locations and I think it must be a very interesting job to be able to make displays of anything they like. Below are some visuals of museums:


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A smaller version of a more personalised ‘museum’ is something called a wonder cabinet or “cabinet of curiosities”. Basically wonder cabinets are exactly what they sound like – little cabinets filled with what people deem valuable/interesting/wondrous. There can be anything like creatures, paintings, artefacts, toys, makeup, statues, religious icons or wings in these cabinets – it depends on what the person is collecting. Something that seems to be somewhat consistent throghout a lot of wondercabinets (and museums too) is

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As for what I’d put in my wonder cabinet… there would be a lot of things haha. In a different post I was having the similar issue of where to start so I created a list of things/topics that appeal to me.. here is that list again, only amended and containing a few bold words. The worlds in  bold font represent the topics I feel might be good to look into. Whether this be to fill a wonder cabinet, write about or draw… whatever I decide to do.

Rock/Metal music
Wispy stuff
The world
Curly hair
Angels/mythical beings
Digital Art
Creative writing/stories
Drained colour
Black and white
League of Legends (ehehehehe)
Death (not a liking, just a curiosity and no, I’m not suicidal lol)
Night sky
Candy floss

From the small ammount of research I have come up with the following:
Explore all media – Pick a topic and portray it several different ways using creative media of my choice, eg sound, video, photo, art, writing, design and maybe typography.
Explore what is dearest to people/what makes a person
People’s personal wonder cabinets/how life experiences changes what’s inside them
Finding myself
Life story/short biographies
short story of a thing/person that’s actually a thing?
earth – everything in one place
Exploration of the unknown
How different people see the same subject/topic
Exploration of emotions
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An Idea I had is to write my essay as a story more than an essay, this excludes the visual outcome for the topic I decide to do of course. It’s a good way to make the essay interesting and easily readable, also writing is something that interests me greatly so it will be good to both practice and include this in my project.

Thats is all for now:)

Self – Directed Research Topic

The next step for Contextual Studies we have our own in depth research topic.
The topic I have chosen to look at is design, photography, typography and illustration within different cultures and time periods. I have chosen this topic because I think it will benefit me greatly to gain knowledge of different crafts from all around the world.

First of all I have found the different areas of the world. The design styles of all these will differ greatly I’m sure, but the only way to find out what each of them holds is to research them all in depth, one by one starting with Africa.



Central America

Eastern Europe

European Union

Middle East

North America


The Caribbean

The continuation of this post shall be in the next post.

Central America

  1. Interactive map of the countries in Central America and the Caribbean. Central America is the southernmost part of North America on the Isthmus of Panama, that links the continent to South America and consists of the countries south of Mexico: Belize,Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras,Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

First of all I’d like to start with the architecture of Central America. Because of the variety of countries, some of the architecture is rather different from the other styles. I like how Central America is mixed, like mashing many cultures into one – I love the versatility and the ‘clashing’ effect it has.

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The style of art is quite loud and bright with lots of patterns, it almost reminds me of some styles of cubism but without the angular part (cubism without the cubes… Makes sense haha). I have come across quite a few mandalas which are very beautiful and colourful, to contradict this there is also a lot of street art following the same brightly coloured style as the other pieces. When it comes to fabrics, many different coloured twines are visible on top of one bright block colour to create beautiful patterns. It reminds me of African art somewhat.
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I have included a map of Central America for reference.


Eastern Europe

  1. In this collection, the following ten countries were classified as Eastern Europe: Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

The architecture within Eastern Europe varies from country to country, though mostly stone is used. The contrast between building styles is really interesting, most structures are of neutral colours, then there are some really flamboyant and vibrant buildings sprinkled throughout the majority. It really makes for an interesting contrast.

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The style of art is pretty much the same throughout Eastern Europe they seem to have many traditional, realistic oil paintings of rich families alongside brightly coloured patterns that resemble mandalas. These patterns are painted amongst many different items, below you can see a box bearing these patterns as well as eggs. I have noticed these eggs scattered throughout my research into Eastern Europe, if I choose Eastern Europe to research in further depth I would like to find out what these represent. There are a lot of pieces that are carved from wood by hand, such as decorative spoons, bowls, sculptures, dolls and much more. Russian dolls are a prime example of both woodwork and the bright painting style in one, they really are something unique to Eastern Europe.


The clothing within Eastern Europe reminds me of that within Germany (I witnessed this on my holiday) They consist of beautiful fabrics of neutral (mainly) colours, embellished with different brightly coloured features.


Below is a map of Eastern Europe.


European Union

The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The dress code within the European Union varies. My favourite is old Victorian formalwear from England, I love how these dresses are tailored to create a completely elegant and royal appearance. In comparison to the other countries within the European Union, I think the British clothes are much less colourful, but they look more expensive and classy. I love the colours within a lot of these garments, this pairs perfectly with the floral embroidery and patterns that are paired with these colours. I have noticed the use of white and black is used quite regularly throughout the colourful outfits, it looks really interesting, almost provides a breather that breaks up the bright colours apart, creating the perfect balance.

Art within the European Union is mainly focused around painting and sculptures, all of which have a very elegant air about them. Particularly within France and England, the painting is very realistic yet peaceful and beautiful, even if the scenery within holds battle and gore, many of the colours are muted and deep. There are also many interesting ways of creating scenery such as mosaics.

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Some of the architecture in the European Union is purely beautiful. In my opinion Cathedrals and Churches are the best example of this, alongside Middle Eastern Temples and Asian Temples, they are one of my favourite structures in the entire world.  Most of the European structures I come across are very boxy – they don’t usually contain many other types of shapes, brick and wood being the primary material used.

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