Drawing out Dragons

June, 2014

We were sitting in class trying to construct a diagram of our research. We were encouraged to think through a dissatisfying experience we had with a product or service, and map the separate layers of our experience simultaneously. From our perspective - what happened, our emotional graph, and ruminate on why we felt this way. The presentation was not that immediately engaging, (and vaguely condescending) and certainly not as exciting the array of toys that we had provided in front of us.  A massive box was filled with lego pieces, feathers, glue, paper, pens - a craft box of goodness. We were encouraged to use our imagination in which to create an imaginary object that would solve the problems of the negative experience. 


We constructed this lego thing, a multi dimensional problem solver. It solved the vague problems, and sure it was valuable - But more interestingly, and parallel to this experience, we were drawing. Drawing communally, secretively. Between myself and Alexey we had an unspoken design communication that was happening extremely quickly, and very fun. It started with a duck.

This duck was in danger, and so sprouted arms, then super powers. He was a Super Duck. Therefore, he must have had a Super Vehicle, and a super logo. Since we had only red and green pens, the siren on the top of the Super Vehicle was red and green, therefore it must be located in Italy. Mario was then drawn, but without hands, and his ‘fallen off’ hands turned into crabs which ran up and got eaten by - a Dragon?

This Dragon seemed to be interesting to me, and so - without talking I inquired of Alexey further - does this dragon equal a Stegosaurus plus a Tunnel? Yes, drew Alexey. Also, he drew that trains would come out of this tunnel. I drew further - can there be two dragons connected to each other with train tracks? Yes, drew Alexey. They can also throw up train tracks at each other. 

This I found hilarious, and sticky. Something about this playful drawing inspired me to immediately go and make a preliminary Unity sketch exploring these dragons. In the same week I had been playing and thinking about the game Bubble Bobble, by Taito - and this quick, candy sketch was one I became excited about, and quickly produced. 

Euphoric hyperactive production. Dragons, Train, Tracks, Logic. Peow. Peow. I made and painted the assets in Sculptris. If I spent time doing things the normal production route I would’ve lost the euphoric tail, and probably wouldn’t have continued the thing.

I tried lots of variations - dragons throwing up tracks, and dragons throwing up dragons, and found that there was much more exploration to be had with this thing, possibly as some sort of drawing tool. Actually this sketch marks my first attempt to collapse the three seemingly disconnected worlds of me into related space/ The text I write, the abstract paintings I make, and the candy unity sketches I produce. In presenting this diagram as part of the Serious Play talks I remarked that this play is like taking cross sections of self, and a portrait of sorts. 

You can play the final sketch here.

Phil James