Giving Instructions

(Part 3/Working it out/Diagrammatic illustration/Giving instructions)

Giving Instructions

Of the options offered, I decided on ‘Getting to my house’ and have extended it to ‘Getting to my house from Giggleswick Station’.  Obviously there has to be a starting point!

Right from the outset I have found this a difficult exercise. The obvious way to describe a route is my drawing a map. I didn’t want to draw a map as that was too predictable so I had to come up with a different idea.

Initially, I was going to do the whole thing on a large sheet of paper (A1 maybe). It would consisted of a series of drawings of things to be seen along the journey from the station to home. This would be sketches of 5 buildings with a background of Yorkshire Dales scenery.

I rejected the above idea after day as it is so much like loads of other diagrams  of its type. It was around Halloween so I then thought about the name Giggleswick and decided to put a sinister spin on it. Instead of the five buildings, I might draw people or animals looking ‘sinister’.

I was still not happy with this and Halloween passed. I liked the idea of using Giggleswick and thought maybe if I used the people and animals looking happy or giggling somehow, that could be better.

Nevertheless, I was still basing it on the idea of a chart with pictures to show the progress of the route – something which has been done so many times before.

I took a few days off and did a lot of thinking. I do not draw every idea as I am  able to visualise very clearly. This is probably why I do not have so many thumbnails.

I was busy preparing a slide show about ‘How to make a slide show’ for the local Photographic Group, and that gave me a different idea. Instead of one large piece of paper, I could use several sheets and join them together to create a wall frieze effect. (Sort of like a set of slides).

This fitted better with the shape of my journey as there are few corners and it is long and straight. (See map below, right.)

I gave a lot of thought how to do the task with no words at all. I had to give some idea of distance between the various elements and the whole journey. I did not want to use conventional measurements so made the decision to use ‘footsteps’.

I was going to draw lots of tiny footprints to show the route with added sketches. Then I woke up one morning with a better inspiration. I would do the drawings inside footprints!

So, first I chose a pair of boots and drew around one.

I put a photo of it on top of the Google Earth map of the journey.


I cut out the footprint with the map in it and placed it on a tarmac sort of texture.


Then I added the only lettering which is the title page and also showed the route of the journey.

Finally, I removed the map and put in the ‘key’ to the project. All measurements are in ‘footsteps’ and a ‘footstep is shown to be on the right foot only (ie. movement of the left foot does not get counted). The number on the top right corner shows the total distance of the journey.



The number on the top right corner shows the total distance of the journey.

The final step in this part of the work was to produce several copies of the page with the empty footprint on paper suitable for both printing and painting as I intended to colour my drawings with acrylic paint. I decided these should be at A4 as that would make the finished frieze over 2m long.


I continued to plan out the pictures and what I would draw where. By this point I had decided that I wanted to draw both a building and a second image with people/animals.

Once I had decided to use a footprint to draw in this became a more feasible idea as the footprint is long and narrow with room for 2 sketches.

On this plan I also worked out the actual distances between buildings using footsteps as measurements. I intended to put these on each picture to show how far along the way it was.


I continued to practice what drawings I would use. I reverted to the idea of making everyone happy with a big smile. I had to practice the animals as I am not really accustomed the drawing them.

I prepared 5 ideas – one for each of the buildings;
drinkers = pub,
sheep dog = farm,
sheep = sheep-shed,
owl and rabbits = next-doors’ garden,
two dogs and cat = my house

Finally I did the sketches, two in each of the footprints. I did them faintly in pencil and then went over them in drawing pens so the preliminary drawings disappear.

1 The pub and Drinkers


2 The Farm and sheep dog

3 The sheep shed and sheep

4 Next-door house with rabbits and owl

5 Our house with dogs and cat

At this point I had a look at how the frieze will fit together.
It looks ok but I am  wondering if there should be a sort of blank right foot alternating with each  step.

I also considered the drawings on a single sheet (A0) to see how that looks.

I think I prefer the frieze idea, although there are a couple of further steps which could follow on.
Left, the drawings end to end.

Right; the drawings and title page arranged on a sheet or A0 paper. I have added a few arrows to provide continuity but it has lost the pictorial continuity of the straight line walk.


The next stage was to colour the drawings. I used acrylic paint.


The final artwork, now definitely aimed at children with smiley semi-personified animals, needsto hold theatention with each ‘frame’ but also provide continuity as there is to be eye or even physical movement to take in the whole piece.

In order to get a unity of colour and style throughout the drawings, I painted the five pictures at the same time using the same mix of paint for buildings, grass, tree etc. I felt this to be important.

When I had completed the set and added the photographed ‘cover’ page and key page, I did think it was more like a book. Obviously it could be a book. It could be a book cut out in the shape of a footprint.

The finished colour pictures follow below. The originals are on A4 paper – a scale with which I am not really happy as I am used to working on canvasses at least 5 times this size. I had to buy new paint brushes to do it!

This is the frieze spread along the floor as it would appear on a wall.
Having seen it like this and as it is aimed at a young viewer, I feel the right footprint should be there. It would give a better picture and create more sense to the child who needs to understand that you have to make two footprints using both feet both feet to create ‘1 footstep’. Therefore, I have made 6 intermediate footprints. I have created continuity by using the gravel/tarmac pattern and simply added different colour backgrounds for interest. I have used similar colour tines to the paintings. Below is the final piece for this exercise which has probably taken far too long but was enjoyable. The finished wall frieze is now 3.7m long ( just less than 13 sheets of A4) Putting the intermediate footprints has lightened it up as the tarmac print on every page was too much and made it look dark.

I have shown it to my husband and a friend. She liked the colours and the general interest. He liked the way the number of footsteps to reach each picture is written in the top right corner and the position of that place is indicated on the diagram of the walk at the bottom. Both are exteachers and thought it was a useful visual aid and could be used as inspiration for a class project – praise indeed! My final thought is, it would make a great mini slide show with music added!