Exercise 13: Using metaphors


Collect as many examples of visual metaphor as you can find. Often metaphors are used within political and issue-based works to give complex or subtle ideas greater clarity. For this reason you are likely to trace them more easily within editorial contexts: newspapers and articles in magazines.

These are some of the visual metaphors that caught my eye.

Next I was asked to select and create a visual metaphor from a list of words.

  • Reaching retirement
  • Dreams of romance
  • Broken relationship
  • Censorship of the press
  • High achievement
  • Economic catastrophe

I decided to chose “Broken Relationship”, then I started sketching some ideas. I wasn’t sure how to approach this exercise. So I started drawing rough sketches of the concepts that came to my mind when I thought about a “broken relationship”, until I liked one of them:

I liked this idea because it represents how we do not see or know everything that is going on in other peoples life and relationships. And now a days, the majority of us, we put our lives on the internet using social media. But, consciously or not, we are creating a version of what we would like our lives to be like, including our relationships. Therefore, I created an illustration that represented the people standing (what we show the world) and their shadows (what I really going on).

After staring at this drawing I came to the conclusion that, at the same time, this illustration could represent domestic violence. And how it is something that occurs behind doors, that most likely no one knows a bout. What people see is the couple standing together holding hands and not the abusive behaviour that is represented in the shadows.

Then I started creating the final illustration:

#4 – I started adding the shadows, and I wanted them to be the main focus of the illustration so I moved the couple to a corner and added the shadows in the center.
#7 – Defining the shadows so there is a more detailed understanding of their actions/expressions
#8 – I decided to add a red background to represent and enhance the abusive behaviour that the woman is suffering, I choose this color because it is connected to intensity and pain.
#9 – I decided to add a yellow reflection to the figures and shadows.
#10 – I didn’t like the yellow light in the corner so I added a lamp (that represents the light that creates the shadows, I imagined it as the “true light”)
#11 – I added some actual light to the “true light”
#12 – I decided to add some yellow contrast to the shadows to help the eye focus on them as the main object of the illustration
#13 – I blurted the red background and the yellow figures together
FINAL VISUAL METAPHOR for “Broken relationship”


I really enjoyed this exercise, even tough at the beginning I was a little bit confused, once I started developing the sketch I couldn’t stop. In the process of developing many ideas came to my head about how it could be represented and views by different people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s