Thursday, August 29, 2019

DIY Rorschach-Style Ink Blots

Will recently studied the Rorschach test as part of her AP Psychology curriculum, and revealed to me that it's not actually WHAT you identify in the ink blot that is analyzed, but HOW you come to that identification. Apparently, psychologists are more interested in your thought process, perceptions, decision making, and communication than whether or not you think everything is a guitar or two dogs playing poker or whatever.

Which is all really cool, but while Will was telling me all this, I was mostly thinking, "OOH, we should make ink blots again!"

Syd went through a major symmetry obsession back when she was five or six, so in those days we spent a LOT of time making ink blots together.

Here, I'll let her explain to you how ink blots are made:

It's only fitting, then, that I dug out the remainder of those seven-year-old BioColor paints on a recent lovely afternoon so that the kids and I could revisit this long-ago beloved craft.

Can you believe that Syd didn't even remember that we'd done this before?!? How the passage of time can fade the memories of that which we once loved...

In order to avoid having that crease in the middle of the prints, we tried out a different technique this time. I'll once again let Syd demonstrate:

1. Cut a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper to size, then crease vertically. Add paint:

2. Fold the foil or wax paper along the crease:

3. Open it up to reveal the symmetrical image!

4. Lay a piece of heavyweight paper on top of the paint. We used this watercolor paper:

5. Use a brayer (or rolling pin meant for play dough) to smooth the paper, making sure it has good contact with the paint:

6. Carefully lift the paper straight up and admire (or be disappointed in) your art!

It was a quite relaxing, and rather fun way to spend part of a nice afternoon!

Although honestly, I don't think that the end result of a page with no vertical crease was worth the extra time and materials involved in making the aluminum foil print first:

A traditional set of ink blots has some that are black ink on white paper, some that are red and black ink on white paper--

--and some that are multi-colored. The kids were mostly interested in making the multi-colored blots:

It would be fun to make a correct set of these and then have a go at analyzing each other!

If you're interested in Rorschach and his ink blot test, here are a couple of other resources:

Surprisingly, there aren't many good ones, and no living books for children, although if you were super into it, you could definitely access the official test materials to play with.

And what this really tells you is that if you're an aspiring children's book author, there's plenty of room in the market to start with a picture book bio of Rorschach!

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