Sketch 4: Self-Destruction


Her skin


I could feel

her whisper

at the funeral.





“I hate


Black-out poetry is difficult the many times I’ve attempted it. The most difficult part is just trying to find the proper words to circle, while still maintaining a message. There is also the difficulty in deciding to either continue with the original author’s message or just go the opposite route. This was one such question I had to constantly ask myself throughout this assignment. I was tempted to go down a happy route, but I couldn’t find the words to make it happen. I have no doubt the tools were there, but I just couldn’t find it.

I decided to go down the path of keeping the same general tone, and I ended up making a somewhat sad message. The art is sloppy; I realized that halfway through me attempting this that I didn’t know how to draw blood drawing from skin, so I did as I imagined.

I have the constant struggle of imagining something HUGE in my head, and then my artistic ability just simply doesn’t allow for it. So I don’t really know how to handle this conflict. Hopefully, as I continue to exercise my creative mind more and more each week, I will be able to come to terms with this issue.

Sketch 4: Human Document

Screenshot of Google image search results for "tom phillips human document"

Due: 2/18

Tag: sk4

The British artist Tom Phillips is probably best known for a project that he began in 1966 and which he has continued ever since–he set himself the challenge to buy the first book he could find at a secondhand bookstore for threepence and to alter every page using drawing, painting, collage, and cut-up techniques to create an entirely new version.

First page of the 1970 edition of Humument.

First page of the 1970 edition of Humument.

He found W.H. Mallock’s A Human Document and combined the words in the title to create A Humument. Phillips not only created new art works from each of the 367 pages but has now completed five different editions of this altered book.

You can view pretty much the complete series of pages on Tom Phillips site here. You can choose pages, view the original and then view different versions of that page.

For this week’s assignment, I want you to create your own visual poem-thing. You can find your own page to alter if you’d like, but I’ll bring in an old used book that you can take pages from too. Think of it as sort of a collaboration between yourself and the book’s original author or think of it as a game where you get to create new text but within the strict confines of the text available on the page.

Obviously, Tom Phillips has been doing this for almost 50 years and I’m not expecting you to produce work that is as polished or complex as his–nor that is necessarily as visually compelling. And it will probably feel very strange to you as you begin, but just let yourself be playful and experiment with your task. You do not need to be a professional artist to make these pages, but you probably do need to be able to relax your desire to be in control of what you produce and you probably need to turn off the self-critical voice that will tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

Alter your page using whatever methods or tools you prefer, then scan the page in color at a high resolution as a JPG or PNG file and load it to your site. You might include in your post the text of your altered page.