I use watercolour to draw and speculate, and consider it a useful research method in design. A material that bleeds, watercolour enables me to speculate and critically play with concepts. I embrace the irregularity in the way the pigment and water move around the paper, encouraging me to abandon control of the creative process and become comfortable with uncertainty. Drawing is thinking in action as ideas mutate, evolve and merge in playful, unpredictable ways. Watercolour enables me to make sense of the material world I explore, populated by bodies and machines.
Machines and artefacts, traditionally drawn in clean thin straight lines that reflect the rationales of manufacturing processes, become defamiliarised when hand painted in watercolour, a medium usually associated with art and illustration and characterised by diluted, hazy and evocative strokes. I find that drawing machines in watercolour provides me another way of understanding them, through a fluidity that is usually associated with organic bodies and forms, rendering artefacts as uncanny: strange yet familiar. Watercolour concepts exist in unfinished, open ended suspension, moving between the known and the unknown, inviting other possibilities.
Watercolour is a medium that, unlike pencil, does not allow for marks to be erased. This encourages an acceptance that creative and investigative processes are uncertain and deal with the unknown: no mark is a mistake; it is just another way of attempting to describe that which we are trying to understand better. The fluidity and watery quality of watercolour drawing can defy precision but invite narrative, allowing speculations of possible scenarios to emerge into the research space.
More can be read in my paper PYurman Fluid Ideations: Defamiliarising and Speculating with Watercolour