Exercise: A Subjective Drawing

Exploring a Shoe

Think of this as an exploration… just writing down things about shoes.


A Shoe as a Home

After my first explore around the concept of a shoe and it’s presence in our world I thought about the idea of a shoe as a home. Inspired by the nursery rhyme “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”.

Shoes are a home for our feet – good shoes offer comfort and pain-free walking. A good shoe is close fitting, but not too tight, and fits our foot like a glove… well… like a shoe… but we would say like a glove about anything else that fitted that well.

In this instance I feel like there are lots of ‘home’ ideas that could be used visually upon a shoe so that it is ‘celebrated’ in the same visual manner that we regard an abode.


The adjective form of home is ‘Homely’. Homely shoes. Shoes you feel at home in. Welcome. Relaxed. Casual (maybe). Familiar

Using Google Images to find visual references to for some of these words – I’m finding that after getting a few images I see a connection or get a new word idea, which is then something to search for. The creation of a moodboard by searching in this way is very powerful it seems because of the instant access to a global variety of images.

There are also drawbacks… google tries to tailor your search results according to what it thinks you (personally) like. A way around this is to use ‘Incognito’ browsing which hides your identity from the search engine.

Some of the key images that have popped up are… shoes (very important it seems for putting your feet up and being fur lined for comfort); tea; warm yellow/orange (firelight, incandescent bulbs); wooly clothing; soft furnishings.


I’m finding it quite difficult to collect images ‘in real life’ – I don’t naturally have access to a lot of magazines and periodicals and other printed matter, so I decided to start this one from Google images and see how it goes. This moodboard so far is curated from searches for comort and warmth – home-comfort, fur-lined, relaxing, soft furnishings and putting feet up. Interesting how feet and comfort are linked white strongly because of the idea of ‘putting you feet up’ is a ‘relaxing’ activity.

I was also interested in the colours of ‘warmth’. This tends to pull almost exclusively towards the glow of an open fire and the warm colour temperature of incandescent lighting. I left the snow scene in next to the sauna as it offered a nice contrast.


To grow from here I enlarged the canvass and carried on adding around the outside. I found some tartan clothing that I find familiar and homely. The cat and wool both seem to be uniquely at-home experiences rather than work, shopping or holiday – they have a connotation of the house. The hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows is a hot treat inspired by my own daughter’s preferences after swimming in the winter… it’s a warming winter drink. The old books I looked for deliberately as I had this idea that books and a private library, especially in older times, were like ‘trophies’ of the good home – aspirational, reassuring.

There is a slight tendency for all ‘comfort’ and ‘homely’ things to be antique. At a guess perhaps this is an association with the familiar, immutable (and romanticized) imagery of history… where lighting was candles (orange), fabrics were treasured and wood dominated in the absence of plastic. Plastic sometimes holds disappointment through breaking, mass production, being a symbol of globalization and ‘cheap imports’. Wood is more secure – a carpenter’s craft, established methods and a literal ‘warmth to the touch’ contrasted with metal.


It’s not exactly obvious… but cats have cropped up a couple of times in the moodboards. I think they have qualities of both bestowing comfort as well as partaking in it. It’s an exchange… they get the best spots – they take their comfort and create an aura of satisfaction. They pur, which is soothing, and take their time to wash and stretch.

A5_Page_53 A5_Page_62 A5_Page_61 A5_Page_60 A5_Page_59 A5_Page_58 A5_Page_57 A5_Page_56 A5_Page_55

In recent weeks I’ve made these sketchbook entries exploring how smudging coloured charcoal (or not) can be used to show the softness of cats’ fur and so the comfort of home by way of that.

I’m reasonably happy with the way that the fur work – it’s a but like making a mess and hard to do badly in some cases. Connecting it to the shoe is a little less obvious. I have two things in mind – a cat curled up in a shoe-shape and/or a show that wears a cats’ clothing.

02 Furry Shoe 1 Pallet 03 Furry shoe 1

I had a go rendering the shoe shape using the coloured charcoal on black paper. I chose black for the benefit of the charcoal and to try to ellicit the ‘evening’ sense of a home… the relaxing part (in many housholds).

01 Furry fire shoe



04 Nesting Shoe


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