We sat and wept When we remembered There was an unbroken link Weakened, but never superceded There was a steadfast pride And spiritual agitation After carrying the burden for seven years.
This was a wonderfully creative exercise in blackout poetry that I made with an entirely digital process using Procreate and my iPad. Blackout poetry is made by taking an existing page of text and redacting all the words but a few that catch your eye or soul for some reason. I found it best to scan the page quickly rather than read the whole thing and circle words or phrases that jump out at you, then cover up the rest by whatever means you like. Some people scribble, collage, or paint over words, or completely black them out.
For this image, I took a photo of a book page and imported it to Procreate. I identified the words I wanted to keep and used the eraser tool to obliterate the rest.
I then added two more layers, one with an AI generated image of myself (I wish I looked that good) and one with a faint pattern that reminded me of a faded old Persian carpet. Of course, I messed with one eye of the portrait, because that’s just what I do. Lastly, I played with blend modes and opacity until I got an effect that I liked where the images were layered nicely, but the text was still visible.
What exactly does the poem mean? I don’t know and I’m ok with that. It does have a poignancy about it that makes me feel a bit wistful. I do think her sad/worried expression reflects the words I chose to keep and the faded pattern/texture helps elicit a feeling of the passage of time, over that seven years.
This was great fun to make and I urge to to give it a try.
Do it with a newspaper, magazine, or thrift store book.
Try it with pen and paper or digitally.
Add art or just black out the text you don’t want.
I know you’ll come up with something terrific.
Maybe you’ll even share it in a comment here:
Maybe you’ll even share this idea with a friend:
Here’s a cool TedX talk with Austin Klein (of Steal Like an Artist fame) that talks more about the origins of this:
Turns out there’s a 250 year history of this! How cool is that?
I *really* like this piece. The process reminds me of what we called "found" poetry back when I was writing poetry. Same general idea — you took a piece of writing and re-lined it to modify or magnify the original intent. Either way, it's a great way to explore layers and levels. Nice work, MB!
It’s a beautiful poem, I’m going to have to try this and doing it digitally is brilliant!