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close this bookAudio-visual Communication Handbook (Peace Corps; 1989; 134 pages)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPlanning instructional materials
Open this folder and view contentsUsing media
Open this folder and view contentsPresentation methods and materials
close this folderBasic production Techniques
View the documentIllustrations
View the documentLettering
View the documentMounting and preserving pictures
View the documentColoring
View the documentDesign
View the documentDuplication
Open this folder and view contentsWriting
View the documentAppendix 1 - An example of the four steps in planning
View the documentAppendix 2 - Evaluation procedures
View the documentAppendix 3 - Communication factors in family planning
View the documentAppendix 4 - Formulas
View the documentAppendix 5 - Equipment construction plans
View the documentAppendix 6 - Sample illustrations
View the documentAppendix 7 - Lettering patterns
View the documentAppendix 8 - Media comparison chart
View the documentAppendix 9 - Notes on the use of audio-visual equipment
View the documentAppendix 10 - Sources of information


A single illustration, well conceived and well designed, can be an effective message conveyor. An illustration can bring meaning and enrichment to verbal information. To communicate effectively, an illustration must be:

Factually accurate.
Attractive to catch the attention of the audience.
Appropriate to the idea being expressed visually so that it does communicate the idea to the audience.

The basis for conceiving and designing good illustrations is a collection of visual materials. Newspapers and magazines are valuable sources. The embassies and consulates in most countries have literature attractively illustrated and representative of their country. The information services within a country usually have a variety of materials available upon request. Often, commercial stores or concerns have travel folders and other pictorial materials. Also, calendars and catalogs are good sources of illustrative materials.

Each picture, considered a potentially useful one, should be clipped and filed. A pile of unsorted pictures will likely be useless. A picture file should be organized so that an illustration can be found when it is needed.

A cardboard box and some old file folders will do as a starter. Label each folder clearly with a title that designates the category of pictures to be filed in it. For agriculture, appropriate category titles might be ANIMALS, PLANTS, FERTILIZERS. For health, the titles might be FOODS, DISEASES, HEALTH HABITS.

Should the folder of pictures collected for any one category become too full, break major categories into sub-classifications: ANIMALS, Diseases; ANIMALS, Brooding; FOODS, Proteins; FOODS, Carbohydrates; etc. Select a category and sub-classification system appropriate to the need for illustrative materials. There is but one criterion for determining whether or not a filing system is good - in a minimum amount of time, the needed picture can be found.

Pictures from a file can be used in many ways. They may be shown individually, placed on bulletin boards, or used in displays. They can be backed with coarse sandpaper for use on a flannel board. They may be used to make charts or posters. Additionally, the pictures in the file will serve as excellent sources of examples or newsprint for flip charts, and on paper to photograph for slides.


There are several ways to copy or to transfer an illustration to a chalkboard or to a sheet of cardboard or paper. One way is the squaring method. This method requires no special skill or equipment to enlarge or reduce the size of any picture:

1. Lightly draw a series of squares on the picture to be copied or transferred.

2. Draw a series of squares on the copy paper, cardboard or chalkboard. These squares should be made proportionately larger or smaller depending on whether the final drawing is to be enlarged or reduced.

3. Draw the lines of the original picture, one square at a time, on the copy paper until the picture is completed. The lines making the squares on the copy paper should be erased after the drawing is completed.

Detail in the original picture that is not appropriate to the idea being communicated can be eliminated. To save time, a grid can be made on tracing paper or acetate. This grid can be placed on top of the picture to be copied, thus eliminating Step 1.


The pantograph is a device that provides another useful way to transfer a drawing for a chart, poster or other visual.

Pantographs can be purchased or easily made. The pantograph shown in the illustration was made from four strips of wood about 1/4 " x 3/4 " x 16".

1. Holes were drilled at one-inch intervals.

2. Bolts were inserted in the holes to hold the strips together. The holes must be drilled large enough so that the joints will move easily, but without "play."

The position of the bolts determines the relative sizes of the copy.

To use a pantograph:

1. Fix the pantograph to a table or drawing board with a wood screw at point X.
2. Pass a pointed stick or pencil through both sticks at point Y. and a second pencil through the hole at point Z.
3. Fasten the picture to be copied under the pointed stick at point Y.
4. Fasten a larger piece of paper under the pencil at point Z.
5. Carefully move the pointed stick over the outline of the picture to be copied. The pencil at point Z will make a large copy of the picture or map.

Although using the pantograph takes practice, It is a convenient device for enlarging or reducing drawings, or reproducing a drawing in its original size.

Projection Tracing

It a projector that will project opaque materials is available, it can be used to enlarge pictures from the file for a chart, a poster or a display, or onto a chalkboard.

Use the projector to cast an image onto the chalkboard or other surface. Trace the important elements of the picture carefully. Although the illustrations should be accurate in detail, only the essential lines need to be traced. Details not related to the teaching needs should be eliminated.

To enlarge a picture onto a piece of cardboard or heavy paper, trace the necessary lines with a soft pencil. Then go over them with ink, paint or a felt-point pen. When projecting a picture onto a blackboard, trace lightly in white chalk; then go over the lines with colored chalk where color is needed.

Simple Drawing

Drawing pictures that communicate effectively is not as difficult as many people seem to think. Some teachers have found that stick figures and simplified drawings communicate better than detailed drawings or photographs. The real problem in drawing is to visualize the subject in a simplified form. Nearly all objects can be viewed as geometric shapes or a combination of such shapes.

A building is composed of rectangles and triangles.

A vehicle is composed of rectangles, triangles and circles.

Similarly, a camera or a bicycle can be formed from combinations of basic geometric shapes.

Drawing figures to represent people is a bit more complicated; however, they are still formed from basic shapes. There are three major factors to consider when making either stick figures or figures based on simple geometric shapes proportions, distinguishing features such as faces or dress, and body movement.

- Proportions. There are many guides for drawing a human body. One good guide is based on Tio Cabeza de Peso or Uncle Penny Head. This character is seven coins tall with proportions as shown in the illustration. The relative sizes of parts of the body would be different for children, with the body being proportionately shorter. As skill in drawing stick figures is developed, try drawing more shape to the figure. A variety of characters can be represented by a few simple combinations of rectangles and triangles. In general, the female figure is characterized by greater width at the hips, the male figure by greater width at the shoulders. Test the effectiveness of the drawings by showing them to a sample of the intended audience and by asking questions.

- Distinguishing features. To distinguish one figure from another, draw different facial features. A variety of facial expressions can be drawn by a few simple lines. Expressions vary with:

the shape of the eyes and the position of the pupils;

the shape and position of the eyebrows;

the shape and position of the mouth and other facial features.

Try making some simplified faces. Vary the shape of the face, the expression, the hair, the kind of hat, etc.

- Body movements The human body moves continually. To show motion in drawings, consider where and how legs and arms bend. Consider balance. Follow this simple rule - the weight on the left of the backbone should balance the weight on the right. The illustrations shown will serve as examples that can be adapted.

As skill is developed in drawing, try making some drawings that show perspective. When making perspective drawings, a first consideration is the difference between reality of the object and the illusion that is being put down on paper. Following are some guides applicable to all perspective drawing.

- When viewing an object such as a box or a building, horizontal lines appear to converge as the distance from the viewer's eye increases. Vertical lines appear shorter as distance increases. Consequently, in a perspective drawing, vertical lines forming the back of a building will be shorter than vertical lines forming the front of the building.

This is the way one's eyes perceive the building even though, in reality, the height is the same at the front as at the back.

- As vertical lines decrease in length with distance, so do any spaces which occur between those lines. For example, the space between bars of a cage decrease as the distance from the viewer increases. Similarly, the cross ties on a railroad track or the heads of men standing in line seem to overlap in the distance.

- When the length of an object is great enough or when any set of parallel lines is extended indefinitely, the lines appear to converge into a single point on the horizon. That point is called the vanishing point.

- One, two, or three vanishing points are possible in perspective drawings. One or two points are most commonly used.

- In one-point perspective drawings, the front view of the object is drawn with no distortion, and all lines of the object that indicate depth run from the front view to the vanishing point on the horizon or eye line.

- In two-point perspective drawings, there are two vanishing points. one on the right and one on the left of the object. The lines representing depth start from the vertical line representing the nearest corner of the object and converge at the vanishing points. Horizontal lines on the right of the object converge at the right vanishing point, and horizontal lines on the left of the object converge at the left vanishing point. In two-point perspective there is no head-on view of the object. There is a view of two sides, and the horizontal lines forming these sides converge at their respective vanishing points.

- The vanishing point will always rest on the horizon line as the eye perceives it. When looking down on an object, the object will be below the horizon line. Conversely, when looking up toward an object, the object will be above the horizon line. The viewpoint will determine whether the perspective view of the object being drawn will include the top of the object, the bottom, or just two sides. In an exact head-on view, only one side of an object would be seen, and, in effect, there would be no perspective.

- Just about anything that is drawn in perspective can be described initially within the framework of a rectangle. Therefore, when drawing the rectangle in perspective, use the lines of the rectangle to determine the perspective and the proportions for the object being drawn.

Practice is needed to be able to make drawings of a variety of objects, animals, and people suitable for illustrations in leaflets or pamphlets or on flip charts, posters or chalkboards. Appendix 6 contains a number of drawings that might be adapted for such uses.

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