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Design, illustration and visual story telling
April 18, 2003 12:12 AM   Subscribe

The Visual Telling of Stories Archive is a database used to train illustrators and designers. It's a deep, rich resource spanning centuries, and a very fun site to explore. I enjoyed puzzle pictures, the section on poses which includes a wife's grateful gestures and the Neapolitan language of gestures, a group of woodcuts of Boccacio's women from 1473, the hidden language of sex, and far too many other things to cite.
posted by madamjujujive (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This is cool. Oh, I remember this! It's where the Alphabet of Illustrators is.
posted by y2karl at 1:08 AM on April 18, 2003


WOW!

[This is magniwonderfulicious!]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:00 AM on April 18, 2003


[This alphabet is cool]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:01 AM on April 18, 2003


Don't miss Death In A Bathroom, Part 1 and sequel either!

[This is an almighty whole-weekend-occupier]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:08 AM on April 18, 2003


[fabulous]
posted by plep at 2:27 AM on April 18, 2003


This is a fantastic resource, mjjj. Wow. Of course I clicked on The Hidden Language of Sex first, to see if I was familiar with the language. I'm still looking for the flying penises that I was promised in the intro ;)

And the picture puzzles section is fantastic, too! The rebus and the "There are at least a dozen things wrong with this picture..." bring back a lot of memories. They're as much fun to make up as they are to solve. Thanks for this great link - I can't wait to investigate further.
posted by iconomy at 5:03 AM on April 18, 2003


This is great. I only wish there were more examples on each page, and more things linked rather than merely referred to (e.g. on that sex page - I was intrigued a while back to find an image of a centuries-old French print with flying cocks in it, and I'm still curious as to whether the slang of "cock" extends beyond these two languages -anyone?).

I'm also a little curious about "The shave lotion with that 'come-heather' aroma!" I mean, I get that it's a play on "come-hither," and so there must be some "heather" smell in it, but that would mean that the rest of it smells like... ?
posted by soyjoy at 7:30 AM on April 18, 2003


I'm completely confused. The site is very pleasurable but some sections are also pomo-headed, purposely obfuscatory, and at times totally without meaning. I have the same issue with the "visual language of number" site. Click on 7, you get a choice between essays on short term memory and some odd way of dividing the body? What does that have to do with any sort of visual language and numbers?

I'm probably being too serious. These sites are totally cool, and I love roaming them, and I love having this kind of source material around. But totally frustrating: their index is the alphabet with a text table of contents. For a site purporting to be a training center (maybe that's a metaphor) on visual language, that's kind of ludicrous.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2003


Yes, it is labyrinthine, and rather bizarre. In fact, it kind of reminds me of most of my dreams.

I feel like this.
posted by taz at 10:19 AM on April 18, 2003


RJ Reynolds, you're right - it is a rather frustrating layout unless you just give in to it and explore. There surely would be a better way to organize information; some pages yield little or disappointing info along the lines of soyjoy's comments about things just not going far enough...it sure ain't the best usability.

It seems to have evolved over many years with many contributors. In reading the parent site, it says that professors at the art school use pages as reference for student exercises.

Like an onion you keep peeling it, and seems to go on and on. Maybe that is part of the point - is creativity linear, does this semi-organized chaos encourage exploration and free association? As a reference tool, it fails, but as a creative playground, it's rather fun.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:58 AM on April 18, 2003


wonderful link.

check out the beautiful, almost blake-like "theosophy and color" illustrations.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:45 PM on April 18, 2003


I didn't delve into the whole site due to navigation/content frustration. To me, 'visual telling of stories' implies pictures, not words, of which there seemed no shortage. There's always the non-sequitor application, I suppose.
posted by yoga at 11:52 AM on April 19, 2003


Well there's no doubt that the navigation leaves quite a bit to be desired. There certainly are an enormous amount of images, but in many cases you have to keep digging to get to them.

I was trying to recall how I stumbled on this site, and remembered that I came upon some images for German alphabet books. Those pages are pretty cool so I will post them for any latecomers or future travelers: Wilhem Busch, Rudolph Geikler (gorgeous), and also a menu for other alphabet samples.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:11 PM on April 19, 2003


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