Building Characters: Using Shapes to Communicate Emotion and Story in Narrative Art

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Heck, Kelsi
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
The use of shape in the early stages of the creative process allows for artistic products to be built as a whole rather than separate parts sitting on a one-dimensional plane or appearing without form. Regardless of style, the ability to comprehend and find meaning in an artwork is often based on the individual experiences of the viewer. Using shape as a foundation of the creation of one’s work creates possible common ground among viewers, resulting in a more comprehensive experience. My thesis investigates how shapes psychologically impact viewer interpretation of narrative art. The ten illustrations I completed focus on using shapes to portray different insects in a stylistic interpretation and their anecdotal qualities rather than just literal anatomical subject matter. These illustrations emphasize the importance of shape-building as an integral part of unification, personality, and the communication of character to an audience.