Art for Non-Artists: Creating text messages as art: Avery’s First Text

Avery's first text
Avery’s First Text Message to Olivia


Today I am going to discuss using text messages as an art form.


Olivia (Year of the Numen) has a lot going on in her life which she keeps to herself.  Because of the format, I have to write short, compelling conversations. This will force me, as the author, to not get side tracked for too  long into these side stories and yet fill in some background about the main characters. I plan to sprinkle the text of the story with snippets of Olivia’s text exchanges.

Looking over several Fake Text apps that are available, I came up with this design for her text messages. Then I created it in Artrage using the text tool, masking tool, and paint fill. I also used several layers so that I can create many more fake text messages without having to redraw the basic image each time.

I was a little disappointed that each gray area around the texts don’t have a more rounded look as real phone messaging systems do – but that would take a lot of work in this paint program. It might be easier in Photoshop (or I might need to upgrade to Artrage 5), but it’s still not worth the extra time it would take.  This is a simple design which looks enough like a cell phone message screen that it gets across the sense of what I want to achieve.

This form also challenges the writer to come up with a minimal number of words to tell a short “cell phone story.”  Keep it to one screen and hopefully you will be able to draw readers into the larger story you are creating. With practice, it’s also a good writing skill to put into your bag of writing tricks.

Someone who does this well in the WordPress community is Peter Edward who writes the blog, Little Fears. Click on his story links to see how he combines pictures and puns into interesting little stories.

We live in a visual culture. Adding visual clues to your stories can help draw your reader’s attention to your words.  The cell phone is a familiar, comforting image yet, at the same time, harbors all kinds of secrets. Who isn’t curious about other people’s text messages? It’s a lot like reading someone else’s diary.

And we all love secrets, don’t we?


For more on posts on Art for Non Artists (AFNA), go HERE.



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