Mapping the Pain

Sketchbook 16/11/17 ©Hollie Woodward 2017

This week, i haven’t been able to do as much drawing as I would’ve liked because of some extreme pain in my hands. To help me cope with this pain and turn it into something productive and informative towards this project, I decided to map where I was experiencing the pain, focusing on my right hand as this is my dominant hand.

Inspired by Basquiat’s use of symbols, I created a really simple method of describing the three kinds of pain that I experience in my hands. The crosses represent sharp, located and continuous pain. The vertical lines represent travelling pain that goes from one end to the other. The lines across represent where I have bound my hands because of what feels like trapped nerves in one finger, and needs support from another.

Mapping the Pain (animation) ©Hollie Woodward 2017

I tracked this pain over the course of a week, with one frame per day giving an average approximation of location and type of pain. I thought that this would look pretty cool as an animation. I wanted to play around with animation more and seeing the progress in this format could work well. I did this in Photoshop, with simple black outline on a white background, giving focus to the location and pain types.

Mapping the Pain (layered) ©Hollie Woodward 2017

I then layered each frame on top of each other to give a single image so all frames are visible in one viewing. Personally, I find this more effective in demonstrating the pain, as you can see what parts of the hand are affected the most. In expanding this idea in my sketchbook, I came up with the idea of mapping an entire body this way through segmenting parts of the body into separate pieces and then collaging them together, similar to David Hockney’s photo montages. I think doing this for an full figured portrait could be really effective in demonstrating this pain. I will more than likely have to come up with other symbols for different types of pain across the body. I will also have to consider external factors like weather, stress and activity, as these factors play heavily into the pain I experience.

That is my plan for this week, to map the pain I experience during the day and then layer them to get an overall picture at the end of the week.



  1. Aah… Don’t know if I’m allowed to say that, but this looks just awesome. And one knows at once what you are referring to, what the whole meaning could be to it, or at least I did. Yes, David Hockney, one of my favourites, have to check his photomontages. Great work!


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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