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close this book Audio-Visual Communication Handbook
close this folder Basic production Techniques
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Basic production Techniques


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.



The effectiveness of instructional materials can be enhanced by the lettering used for verbal information accompanying illustrations. The lettering must be easy to read. Four factors should be considered.

- Size. Experiments have shown that to be readable, letters should be at least a half-inch high when the viewer's distance is 10 feet. They should be proportionately larger as the viewer's distance increases.

When giving presentations outdoors, groups are usually large and therefore viewing distance usually is much greater. Increase lettering size accordingly.

- Style. The style used also determines how easily the letters can be read. Letters in simple style are more easily read than those in a complex style. In long sentences or paragraphs, lower case letters combined with capitals are more legible than all capitals.

Difficult to read

Easy to read

- Spacing. Spacing refers to the amount of space left between the letters in a word, between the words themselves, and between lines. A neat lettering job can be ruined by improper spacing. There are two types of letter spacing, mechanical and optical.

In mechanical spacing the separate letters are treated as if they were in a box or rectangular block. The spacing is determined by the equalization of the distances between the blocks. This type of spacing, while relatively easy to do, is commonly used only by machine lettering, as exemplified by this printed page. With optical spacing, the space between the letters is equalized by considering the differences in the shapes of the various letters. The alphabet can be divided into three letter types.

The first category is the regular or rectangular letter such as E, H. I, M, N. and U. There is no problem in spacing between these letters.


In the second category are the circular letters - B. C, D, G. O. a R. and S. They should be placed closer to their neighbors to equalize the white space or area between the letters.


The third category of letters are the irregular letters such as A, F. J. K, L, P. T. W. X, Y. and Z. These letters are more difficult to space. The basic consideration is the equalization of the area or white space between the letters themselves.


Most people have a tendency to leave in sufficient space between letters which give them a squeezed appearance as shown in the example of the word, MINIMUM. Avoid crowding to improve legibility.



In addition to spacing carefully, avoid crowding between words and between lines. There are general rules for spacing lettering, but the best way to learn is through practice. Keep in mind that spacing is simply the arrangement of letters to form words so they can be read easily and look attractive to the eye.

- Contrast. The contrast between letters and their background is an important factor in readability. Light-colored letters should be used on a dark background or dark letters on a light-colored background. When using light-colored letters on a dark background, the lines should be slightly thicker than when using dark-colored letters on a light background.

Family Planning

Lettering may be the job of a highly skilled artist; however, anyone concerned with effective communication should be interested in the extent to which lettering transmits ideas more effectively. In addition to being neat and easily read, lettering should be easy to do. There are several lettering techniques.

Hand Lettering

Legible hand lettering is really quite easy to do. Keep in mind the basic rules. Use a simple style, space carefully, contrast the letters with the background, and make the lettering large enough to be read easily by all viewers. Draw guidelines and lightly sketch in the letters to get the proper spacing.

Lettering pens in a variety of sizes and styles are available from most book or stationery stores. These can be used with India ink or with colored drawing inks. The illustration shows one legible, hand-lettered alphabet.


Felt-point markers are particularly useful. They come in a variety of styles and colors, and will write on paper, cardboard, and many other surfaces. When planning to do lettering on plastic, be sure the purchased markers can be used on a plastic surface.


Markers can be made with a piece of bamboo and some absorbent cotton. Choose a piece of bamboo that has an inside diameter a bit smaller than the width of the intended line. Stuff cotton into the end of the bamboo and compress it rather tightly. Dip into ink or dye until a reasonable quantity has been absorbed. Wipe off the excess and start to letter. A piece of felt wrapped over the end of a flat stick such as a tongue depressor will work very well for large letters and can also be used with ink or dye.

An excellent lettering pen can be carved from a piece of bamboo. Use a yew, sharp knife or a razor blade to carve the pen, and make certain the end is flat and uniform in thickness. These pens can be used with a variety of inks.


Cutout Letters


Cutout letters are easy to make. Colorful sets of plastic or cardboard letters can be purchased at art supply stores or bookstores. They can also be cut from paper, cloth of various colors and textures, cardboard or from wood. The letters can be copied or traced from a child's alphabet book, from an art book or a newspaper. When cutting letters out of paper or thin card, use a single-edged razor blade and hold at a 30 degree angle to the paper. If you have to use a double-edged blade, wrap a piece of adhesive tape around the fingers and thumb to prevent getting cut.


For special purposes, cutout letters can be combined in various ways. Two similar letters cut from different materials and slightly overlapped create an interesting effect. Letters can be more easily cut from two or more sheets of paper or light cardboard by temporarily fastening them together with rubber cement before cutting.

Stencil Lettering

Stencils provide a method of making neat, legible letters at low cost. Stencils can be made of many materials such as oiled cardboard, plastic or metal. Letter sizes can range from as small as 1/8" to several inches in height. Some stencils are used with India ink and special pens. Some are used with a stencil brush, felt-point pen, pencil or colored pencils.


The unistencil is one of the simplest lettering devices for making large block letters or signs for posters, or for outlining letters which are to be cut from paper, cardboard or other materials. Three unistencils of different sizes are printed on a separate sheet in Appendix 7. These sheets can be mounted on cardboard and cut out for making two-, three- or four-inch letters.


The procedure is as follows:

1. With a pencil, trace the basic form for each of the desired letters. The letters will be incomplete at this stage. The following samples show how various kinds of letters can be formed.


2. Complete each letter by cutting off or rounding corners and by completing the missing lines.

The letters can be cut out; or, if they are on a sign or poster, they can be filled in with ink, a felt-point marking pen or colored pencils.

Cardboard and Metal Stencils


A wide variety of cardboard stencils are available at most bookstores. These vary in size from ½" to 2" or 3". They come in Gothic, Roman, Old English and other styles. Pick a style that is appropriate, but keep in mind that simple styles are usually more legible. To use cardboard stencils, follow these steps:

1. Draw guide lines lightly in pencil to mark the top and bottom of the letters.


2. Trace the letters lightly in pencil or use a marking pen or colored pencil.

3. Fill in with ink, paint, colored pencil or felt marking pen.


Large stencils are available in cardboard or in metal. These can be used in the same manner as smaller stencils, or they can be formed into words and painted with canned spray paint to create interesting lettering effects. Stencil brushes also can be used with these stencils.

Plastic Stencils

There are two basic types of plastic stencils: thin flat stencils intended for use with a stencil brush, and thicker stencils for use with special pens. The latter have some provision for raising them above the lettering surface.

Thin, plastic stencils are used with a stencil brush and block water color paints. To use these stencils, dampen the brush and rub it on the paint until the brush is well charged and nearly dry. Hold the brush perfectly upright and with a circular motion brush over the letter being careful not to move the stencil. Light pencil guide lines help to keep lettering straight.


There are several different brands of guides for using India ink in special pens to make neat small letters for a variety of purposes. The procedure varies with the type of guide, but the instruction sheets do an adequate job of describing the procedure.



Mounting and preserving pictures

Pictures cut from magazines or other sources, maps and charts printed on paper, and photographs are likely to get damaged when handled frequently. To make pictures and charts last longer, they can be mounted on cloth, cardboard or heavy paper. Pictures can also be protected by covering with glass or clear plastic and binding with cloth or paper tape.

In addition to providing protection, mounting makes pictures or small objects more attractive and easier to use. The method of mounting will be determined in part by the intended use. Is it to be held up in front of a small group? Is it to be handled extensively? Will its use be temporary or relatively permanent? These questions need to be answered before deciding the type of mounting to be used. If planning to mount many illustrations in a picture tile so they will last longer and can be handled without damage, try to standardize the size of the mount. This will make storage easier.

No matter what process is used to mount pictures, take the time and care necessary to make the mount neat and clean. The extra work is well worth the effort in its effect on an audience..

Paste or Gum Mounting

Paste or gum mounting is satisfactory for mounting magazine illustrations or photographs onto heavy paper or cardboard. Commercial white paste or gum arabic can be purchased in almost any book or stationery store. In the few cases where such adhesives are not readily available, a flour and water paste, of either commercial wheat or cassava flour, can be mixed for an equally good adhesive. When mixing paste, first, be sure all lumps are smoothed out. Second, since flour is a favorite food for insects, add a small quantity of insecticide to the paste an important precaution in areas where insects are prevalent. A safe insecticide powder works fine, but don't use a liquid insecticide because the petroleum base is likely to damage the picture. Exercise care when using and storing paste that has been treated with insecticide, particularly around children. They sometimes eat paste.

The steps for mounting with paste or gum are relatively easy.

1 With a pencil, mark the cardboard or paper lightly where the picture is to be located. As a general rule, side margins should be of equal width, and the bottom margin should be slightly wider than the top.

Mark the locate

2. Apply adhesive to the back of the picture with a wide brush or a piece of stiff cardboard. Use only enough to cover the back of the picture adequately.

Apply adhesive

3. Carefully place the picture on the mount. Cover it with a clean piece of paper and rub down carefully.

4. Remove any excess adhesive, allow it to dry, and erase any pencil lines that show.

Remove excess adhesive

Although using a paste or gum adhesive is a reasonably satisfactory method for mounting pictures, these adhesives may dry out in time which may cause the picture to come off the mount. Also, they change color with age, the result being some discoloration of the picture.

Rubber Cement Mounting

Rubber cement is one good adhesive for mounting pictures. Tire patching cement and shoe repair cement can also be used, and are available in most countries. These adhesives are relatively permanent and easy to use. If rubber cement cannot be purchased, it can be easily made in areas where raw rubber is available. The formula is given in Appendix 4.

For a temporary mount, the steps in rubber cement mounting are similar to those for paste mounting, but the procedure for a permanent mount is a bit different. For the latter, the adhesive must be applied to both the picture and the mount. The steps are:

1. On the cardboard or backing paper on which the picture is to be mounted, make light pencil marks to indicate where the picture is to be located on the mount.

2. Coat the back of the picture and the front of the mount with a thin layer of cement. Use a brush or piece of card. Be sure to cover both areas completely. Try to avoid excess amounts of cement beyond the picture area.

3. Allow the rubber cement to dry completely.

4. Before letting the picture touch the mount, be sure it is positioned accurately since the two rubber cemented surfaces will stick tight on contact. This step can be facilitated by using two pieces of waxed paper such as a waxed bread wrapper. Cover the cemented surface of the mount with the pieces of waxed paper and move the picture until it is in exactly the proper position on the mount. Then carefully slide out the waxed paper. Finally, cover the picture with a sheet of clean paper and rub down carefully, working from the center to the edges of the picture.


5. Remove any excess cement by rubbing the cement into a ball with a finger. Be certain fingers are clean to avoid smearing.

Dry Mounting

Dry Mounting is a simple, fast procedure for mounting pictures or photographs in countries where dry mounting tissue can be obtained.

In the dry mounting process, a sandwich is made of the picture, tissue, and mounting paper or cardboard. Then pressure and heat are applied. A regular household electric iron or an iron heated on a stove or with charcoal can supply the heat. The steps are:

1. With the tip of an iron, tack a sheet of mounting tissue to the back side of the picture. Tack in the center. Special tacking irons are sold for this purpose, but a household iron works equally well.


2. Trim picture with attached tissue to the desired size with a razor blade and ruler or straight-edge.

3. Position the pictures and tissue carefully on the mount. Lift tower left hand and upper right hand corners of the picture and tack the tissue at these points.


4. Cover the picture with a clean sheet of paper and rub it with the household iron. When an electric iron is used, set the temperature of the iron to rayon heat. Covering prevents direct contact of the iron and picture, which can cause the ink with which the picture was printed to melt and smear. The heat adheres the picture, tissue, and mount.


Heat can also be applied with a dry mounting press which is taster and more convenient, particularly when much dry mounting work is to be done.


Wet Mounting

The wet mounting process is useful for mounting paper maps, charts or other pictorial material onto cloth. The process is called wet mounting because a water-base paste is used as an adhesive. Materials that have been mounted on cloth can be handled repeatedly and rolled or folded for storage with little chance of damage. To wet mount, the following materials are needed:

1. Wheat, rice or cassava flour (or a similar substitute) to make a paste. Put the flour in a jar with holes punched in the lid. Crushed moth balls can be added to keep insects from eating the paste.

2. A wide paint brush for mixing and applying paste, and a shallow pan for mixing.

3. Unbleached muslin, baft or old flour sacks, for the cloth backing.

4. Thumb tacks or drawing pins for attaching the cloth to the mounting board.

5. A wooden rolling pin or a smooth bottle to roll the mount smooth.

6. A bowl or similar container for soaking the backing cloth.

A flat surface on which to do the mounting is needed. A table is ideal, but remember that paste and pins will damage the surface. A piece of thick plywood makes a good working surface. Two coats of waterproof varnish or shellac will prevent the cloth from sticking to the board. The following steps outline the wet mounting process:

1. Pour about one-halt cup of water into the mixing container. Sift in the flour, stirring it with the brush. Mix it carefully to prevent lumps from forming. Add flour until the paste is thick enough to spread easily.

2. Wet the cloth thoroughly. New cloth will resist water, so be sure it is completely wet. Wring out to remove excess water.

3. Lay the cloth on the working surface and smooth out the wrinkles. Fasten one corner with several thumb tacks or drawing pins. Stretch the cloth keeping the threads straight, and fasten two adjacent corners. Fasten the cloth at the middle of each side keeping it stretched tightly. Complete pinning of each side by working from the center to each corner. Space the pins about six inches apart.

4. Place the material to be mounted on the smoothly stretched cloth and mark the corners with pencil.

5. Next, place the material to be mounted face down on a smooth surface and moisten the back with water by using a sponge or piece of cloth. The material should be completely saturated so that it lies flat.

6. Apply paste with a wide brush to the surface of the stretched cloth, extending beyond the pencil marks. Be sure the paste is spread evenly and there are no lumps. Work rapidly so that neither paste nor material can dry out.


7. Carefully lift the material and place it in position on the cloth. It the material is large and difficult to handle, told it loosely, paste-covered sides out, before lifting it to the paste-covered cloth. Working from the center toward the edges, smooth carefully. Take care to avoid tearing the soft paper or getting paste on its surface.


8. Use a rolling pin or round bottle as a roller to smooth out excess paste and to make a permanent mount. A set pattern of rolling will reduce wrinkles and air bubbles. Roll from the center to one end of the mount. Then roll from the center to the opposite end and follow by rolling from the center to the top and from the center to the bottom.


9. Lift the corners to relieve tension built up during rolling.

10. Roll from the center to each corner. The rolling pattern should form an X. Roll carefully from the center toward the edges. As you roll the edges, avoid getting paste on the roller. Clean paper strips placed over the edges of the map or chart will prevent paste from getting on the roller. When the rolling is completed, remove the paper strips and wipe off any excess paste with a damp cloth.


11. Allow to dry completely before removing it from the working surface.

The edges of the cloth mount can be finished in several ways to make a neat edging. If cloth-backed charts are to be used outdoors, the edges can be strengthened by folding the edge over a piece of heavy string and sewing it in place.


Tape Framing

Flat pictures or small objects that need protection can be framed with glass or clear plastic and tape. Carefully done, this is an attractive way of displaying magazine pictures, photographs' or various kinds of certificates. Framing protects as well as improves the appearance of visuals. Materials needed are a piece of glass or plastic; a piece of cardboard slightly larger than the material to be framed; and paper or cloth tape at least a half-inch wide. The process of mounting a picture is as follows:

1. Mount the picture on the cardboard with paste or rubber cement.


2. Mark the glass with a crayon about a half-inch from each of the four edges.


3. Place the glass with the marked edges down. Apply face to each side, using the crayon marks as guides. A small, wet rag or sponge is good for moistening gummed paper tape.


4. Turn the glass over, trim the edges of the tape, and cut the corners as shown in the diagram. Then, wipe off the crayon marks.


5. Again turn the glass over, place the mounted picture face down on the glass, and carefully fold the tape around the edges of the glass onto the cardboard.


Colored tape can be used or paper tape can be painted with water colors. The finished mount can be displayed on an easel or, before framing, a string can be attached to the cardboard backing so the picture can be hung on the wall. To attach a string to the cardboard backing, follow this procedure:

1. With an awl or some other sharp tool, make two holes through the cardboard backing about two inches apart and a third of the way down from the top of the mount.


2. Thread string or cord through the holes and tie with a square knot on the back side of the backing. Make the loop short enough so it does not show above the backing. Cut off the excess cord and pull the knot tightly against one of the holes.


3. On the inside of the mount, flatten the cord with a coin or some other smooth. hard object.


4 Cover with tape to prevent the cord from slipping


A picture can be mounted on a separate piece of heavy paper or thin card. Since paper can be obtained in many colors, this permits a wider choice of backgrounds.

A frame that is open at one end can be made which makes it possible to remove and replace a picture. The procedure for making an open-ended mount is similar to that previously described. In addition to the glass cardboard backing, and tape, several strips of cardboard about 1/4" wide are needed:

1. Cover one end of the backing and one end of the glass with tape.

2. Glue strips of cardboard to the remaining three sides of the backing. These strips will act as spacers to separate the backing from the glass. Then, tape the glass and cardboard together on these three sides.


The finished frame can be displayed on an easel. Fasten a small piece of tape to the pictures to make them easier to remove from the frame through its open end.


Mounting three-dimensional objects such as seeds, butterflies, cloth or mineral samples is similar to mounting a flat picture. Wood or cardboard spacers must be placed between the glass and cardboard to make room for the objects or specimens being framed and to prevent cracking the glass. The cardboard spacers can be made by gluing or cementing several cardboard strips together. The thickness of the spacers will vary according to what is being framed. Cement the wood or cardboard spacers to the backing.

Absorbent cotton can be used under the objects or specimens to hold them in place. If specimens such as butterflies, moths, etc. are being framed, add a few moth crystals to prevent their being eaten by live insects. A cardboard mask can be used to frame the objects. Place the objects in position, cover with glass, and tape the mount by using the same procedure for framing flat pictures.

Many kinds of objects can be taped-framed. Use ingenuity to discover new materials to mount or new ways to make the mounts more attractive.




Color Choice

Color adds significantly to many visual materials. Bright colors attract attention and add interest to signs, posters, bulletin boards, displays, transparencies and other materials. Properly used, color can improve, identify and relate specific elements of a visual. Color choices depend on several factors:

- Personal preferences. Color usage depends to a large extent on personal preferences, which vary with age, sex and culture. In general, young children seem to prefer bright colors, but this may not be universal. One can run a simple test to determine color preferences. Take swatches of a half-dozen different common colors and ask a sampling of the audience to arrange them in order of preference.

- Color meanings. Different colors mean different things to different people. Consider carefully what these meanings are when making color choices. In most Western cultures, dark colors such as dark blue, purple or black tend to be related to grief or doom. Red, orange or yellow tend to be related to happiness. These associations may or may not hold true in other cultures. Colors may also be associated with political parties, geographic regions or social groups. Careful observation and a few questions are helpful to determine what associations an audience makes to various colors.

Choose colors with positive associations for the positive parts of a message and colors with negative associations for the negative parts of a message. For example, when contrasting the right and wrong way of doing something, use colors with positive associations when showing the right way.

- Color contrast. When emphasizing a particular part of a visual, use colors that contrast with other colors in the visual. For example, should a display be composed largely of gray tones, use a bright red or blue to emphasize the center of interest. Consider a color wheel such as this one:


Any color on the wheel will contrast with its opposite - green will contrast with red, orange with blue, and violet with yellow. To heighten the contrast, one of the colors should be much lighter than the other. For example, light red will stand out against dark violet. Although a simplified approach to color contrasts, it is adequate for general use. Research has shown that the following color combinations provide good contrast and legibility:

- Color harmony. To relate parts of a visual to each other, use colors that harmonize. Colors that are near each other on the color wheel, such as blue and blue-green, or red, orange, and yellow, usually go together well. The lightness or darkness of each color, as well as its saturation, also affects harmony, but such complications are not important for most teaching materials.

In summary, when choosing colors, pay attention to the audience's likes and dislikes and to its color associations. To separate elements in a visual or to emphasize a particular item, choose colors that contrast. To relate several elements of a visual, choose colors that harmonize. Color combinations, like illustrations, should be kept simple. A few colors carefully used will be more effective than quantities of color used haphazardly.

Coloring Techniques

Coloring materials used in making visual materials fall into two major categories: those for transparencies and those to' presentation and display media

Transparencies on clear acetate can be colored with felt-point markers Some varieties work better than others See what is available and try these on the materials being used

Perhaps the easiest dyes to obtain are food colors: however. most transparent water colors in liquid or dry form can be used Some transparent colors in cake form like children's watercoloring sets. have tine particles of clay in them that do not show when put on paper or cardboard d but do show as tiny specks when used on transparencies

Colors can be diluted with water and applied with a brush or with a cotton-tipped applicator When using clear photographic film. work on the coated or emulsion side of the film. Use enough dye and allow sufficient time for it to penetrate the emulsion. To prevent uneven coloring excess dye should be blotted with a piece of soft paper. A wide variety of colorants can be used for opaque materials The best choice will depend primarily on what is available Powdered solid or liquid water colors, colored inks. dyes crayons and colored pencils - all can be used for coloring posters signs flannel board materials elements of display and many other articles When visuals will be subjected to the- weather use oil or plastic-base paints


If commercial coloring materials are not readily available, use dyes and pigments obtainable in the market. They will often work equally well at less cost. Some suggestions for making dyes and paints are included in Appendix 4.


Brushes are the best way to apply paint or ink, but a dauber made by stuffing a wad of cotton into the end of a bamboo rod also can be used. Brushes can be made from raffia, bamboo or chicken feathers. Spray cans are great, if available, but they are expensive. A sponge or a toothbrush can be used for textured effects. The sponge is dipped into the colors and then daubed on the surface to be colored. With a toothbrush, dip the brush into the color and then draw a piece of cardboard across the bristles so that the paint or ink flies off creating a textured pattern.




Careful arrangement of the verbal and visual elements of an instructional material can focus the attention of the audience on the elements to be learned. There are five factors that should be considered with designing materials:

- Simplicity. Words that do not contribute to better understanding or pictures that are not related to the ideas being communicated should be eliminated.

- Pattern. The parts of visual materials should be arranged in a pleasing way. There are no absolute rules for making an attractive layout, but following a pattern of some kind is one guide. The layout can be based on a geometric shape, a letter, a number or even the shape of a map.

- Balance. Balance is the relationship between the various parts of a visual. Formal balance is achieved by placing similar materials in rows. Informal balance combines materials of various sizes and shapes.


Several small elements will balance a lame shape.


A small, dark object will balance a large, light object.


A small, textured area will balance a large, plain area.


A small, irregular shape will balance a large, regular shape.


A word is seen as a word because of the ratio of space between the letters as compared with the space around the group of letters. Sentences are seen as sentences and paragraphs as paragraphs because of the balance of space around them as compared with the space within them. Similarly, two or more closely related pictures or a picture and its caption should be seen and read together.

The balance of background space to illustration or to words is an important consideration in designing a display or poster or a printed page.

Generally, there would be more space at the bottom of a page, an illustration, or a group of illustrations than at the top.

- Emphasis. The more important elements of a visual should stand out. In placing key elements of a visual, follow the rule of thirds. Divide the page, bulletin board or poster area into thirds, horizontally and vertically. The intersections of these lines mark the points of greatest interest - the points where important words or visuals should be placed.


Important elements of a visual can be emphasized by making them stand out from their surroundings. This can be done by making such elements different in size, shape, color, texture or position.


- Harmony. The elements of visual materials should blend in a pleasing manner. Formal lettering should be used with formal layouts and informal lettering with informal layouts. A minimum number of colors that go together well should be used.

The shapes of the various elements should be harmonious. A good general guide to follow is to use related elements and then, by careful arrangement, relate the elements used.

Materials should be built around one idea, a few easily understood visuals, and a minimum of words, and these should be carefully arranged. In any area involving creativity, there . are no hard and fast rules based on research. This is especially true when working in cultures with highly developed traditional art forms.


The suggestions on design presented here are but a beginning on which to base decisions.




For duplicating instructional material there are many techniques ranging from processes that make one copy at a time to elaborate printing processes that produce thousands of copies per hour. Four relatively inexpensive basic processes will be described here.

Transfer Processes

In transfer processes a dye Image is produced on a master sheet by typing, writing or drawing. This image is then transferred to consecutive paper copies with a hectograph or spirit duplicator. Several different color dyes can be used on the same master for multiple color work. Copies are inexpensive to produce and are reasonably durable although the image will bleach if exposed to bright sunlight for extended periods of time.

Transfer processes are suitable for inexpensive production of limited quantities of newsletters, leaflets, instruction sheets, or classroom assignments or tests. They are also ideal for producing prototype copies of leaflets or pamphlets. The inexpensive copies can be used for field testing with a sample of the audience before going into mass production.



With the Hectograph process, a dye image is prepared on a master sheet, transferred to a gelatin surface, and then transferred to the copies. Twenty to thirty good copies can be made on paper or cardboard. There are four basic steps in the process.

1. Preparing the transfer pad. To make a transfer pad, a flat pan, such as a cookie sheet, or a shallow wooden box is needed. The pan should be slightly larger than the copies to be made. Prepare the transfer compound by combining one box of unflavored gelatin and one pint of glycerin. The mixture is boiled for about seven minutes. Any scum is then skimmed from the surface, and the mixture is poured into the pan and allowed to set for about 24 hours. Other formulas for preparing transfer pads are included in Appendix 4. Inexpensive kits that include a pan and the gelatin compound can be purchased in many places.

2. Preparing the master. Using Hectograph ink or special Hectograph pencils, draw what is to be duplicated on a sheet of paper. A glazed or hard-surfaced paper works best. Soft papers, like newsprint, absorb too much dye. Hectograph inks are available commercially or can be made as described in Appendix 4.

Hectograph "carbons," which strictly speaking are not carbons at all, also can be used.

They are made of paper-coated materials with a waxy substance impregnated with aniline dye. The most common colors used are purple, blue, red, green and black. When using a "carbon", place it face down on the master paper and write, draw or type on the back of the "carbon." This will form an image on the master that is right reading. Hectograph ribbons are also available for typing directly onto the master sheet.


3. Transfer the image to the transfer pad. Prepare the gelatin surface by wiping gently with a wet sponge that has had the excess water squeezed out. When the surface is thoroughly dampened, smooth the master sheet, dye side down, on the transfer pad. In four to six minutes, the dye image will have transferred to the gelatin. Then, carefully remove the master


4. Making the copies. Smooth a sheet of copy paper over the image on the gelatin, allow to transfer for five to ten seconds, and remove carefully. Continue making copies. allowing increasing transfer time as successive copies are produced. Any paper can be used as copy paper, but glazed surface works best because less dye is absorbed by the paper fibers.


When the desired number of copies are completed, wipe the surface of the gelatin with the damp sponge and cover with a piece of paper. Don't use hot water, because the gelatin surface will melt. The remaining dye image will transfer partially to the paper and the rest will be absorbed in the gelatin. The following day it can be used for duplicating another master. The gelatin compound can be recooked to destroy the old image or to remove surface blemishes

Spirit Duplication


Basically, spirit duplication is similar to hectograph but is a mechanical process employing a duplicating machine. It is faster and cleaner than hectograph. Over 100 copies can be made from one master sheet. To make copies, a master sheet is placed on the drum, image side out. the paper tray is loaded, alcohol and feed controls are turned on, and the drum is turned by a crank. Each time the drum revolves, a sheet of paper is picked up, dampened with alcohol, and pressed again the master to make a copy. The darkness of the copies can be controlled by regulating the flow of alcohol, the pressure of the copy paper against the master, and the speed of the machine. Specific instructions come with the machines; and, in most cases, are printed on the body of the machine or on one of the paper trays.

Preparation of masters for spirit duplicating is the same as for hectograph except for one important difference. The dye image must be wrong reading. Most masters for spirit duplication are made using "carbons." Place the master sheet on top of the carbon and write, type or draw on the master sheet. This produces a reverse-reading, dye image on the other side of the master sheet. When using hectograph ink or pencil, the image must be drawn in reverse.


There are several techniques that can be used to correct an error when preparing the master for either hectograph or spirit duplication. If, for example, extra letters or some unwanted materials have been typed on the master, they can be cut out with a razor blade or small scissors. Also, such errors can be covered with a small piece of thin tape. When an error needs to be corrected, use a razor blade to scrape off the dye image containing the error. Then, place a piece of unused "carbon" where the dye image has been scraped off (that is, where the error was), and type in the correction. Material that has been written or drawn on the master can be removed or corrected in the same manner.


Stencil Processes

The simplest method of stenciling involves cutting openings in a material such as oil stencil board, ordinary thin cardboard, wax paper or heavy wrapping paper, and brushing the ink or paint through the openings with a fairly dry stiff brush. A wet brush will allow the ink or paint to run under the edges of the openings. Stencil processes are limited to shapes or to large or bold letters because it is difficult to retain the center openings in letters such as A, B, D, O. P. Q. and R. The production of multiple copies is slow. More sophisticated stencil processes are stencil duplication and silk-screen printing.

Stencil Duplication

Stencil duplication is more commonly known as mimeograph or cyclostyle. In this process a stencil is prepared on a thin, open-fibered paper coated with a waxy substance. Ink is forced through the stencil to print multiple copies on paper. Several thousand copies can be made from a stencil. Different colors can be used by making a separate stencil for each color and rerunning copies through the duplicating equipment. Stencil duplication is ideal for making newsletters, leaflets, pamphlets or small newspapers when the quantity needed is limited to a few thousand copies. Basically, stencil duplication is a two-step process.

1. Prepare the stencil. Place a stencil on a hard smooth surface. Type, write or draw with a ball point pen or stylus. Stencils are available commercially at varying prices. The better stencils will produce more and sharper copies. Detailed instructions for use come with each box of stencils. Electronic stencil cutters have been introduced in recent years that are ideal for making special stencils from drawings or combinations of drawings and typing. These are, however, expensive and not readily available.


2. Make the copies. Copies can be made using a simple silk screen, a portable duplicator, or a duplicating machine. Plans for making a portable duplicator are included in Appendix 5. To make copies with a simple screen or portable duplicator, the stencil is taped to the screen and a paste duplicating ink is rolled across the surface with a soft rubber roller. This produces satisfactory copies, but is slow. For improved quality and speed, a stencil duplicating machine is ideal. Such machines resemble a spirit duplicator in outward appearance but are quite different in operation. Specific instructions for attaching the stencil and running copies come with each machine.


The paper for making copies by stencil duplication must have a soft, porous surface that will absorb ink. Such paper is sold under various brand names. Stencils can be saved for re-use by placing them in a folder or newspaper or other soft paper.

Silk-Screen Printing

The silk-screen process is an inexpensive, relatively simple printing method for producing posters, charts, signs, leaflet or booklet covers and similar materials. Printing can be on cheap paper, cardboard, cloth, plastic, wood or practically any other material. Multiple-colored images can be made by cutting separate stencils for different parts of a visual and printing each one with a different color paint.

All that is needed to do simple silk-screen printing is a silk-screen frame hinged to a plywood base, a squeegee, and a few readily available materials. Frames can be purchased ready to use from art supply stores or can be constructed following these general guides.

1. Construct a frame slightly larger than the largest poster you plan to make. Use pieces of hard wood about 1 1/4. inches square.


2. Cover the frame with silk, organdy or nylon. The cloth should be stretched tightly and stapled to the frame.


3. Cover the edges of the Silk and the staples with strips of gummed paper tape Painting the tape and the inside edges of the silk with shellac will make the screen last longer.


4. Make a base, slightly larger than the screen, from plywood and attach a wooden block at one end. This block should be the same height as the strips used to make the frame.


5. Fasten the frame to the base with pin hinges. This allows easy removal of the frame for cleaning, to change the cloth when it is damaged, or to use several different screens.


A squeegee can be purchased or made by bolting a piece of flat rubber 1/4 inch thick between two pieces of wood. The squeegee should be a little shorter than the inside width of the frame.


There are seven basic steps to making a one-color silk-screen poster:

1. On a sheet of waterproof paper such as the lining of a cement bag or heavy food wrapping paper make a pencil or ink drawing of the design to be silk-screened.


2. Cut the design out of the paper with a sharp knife or razor blade.


3. Attach the stencil to the underside of the screen wire tape. The centers of letters such as D and O can be attached to the screen with a small loop of tape. If there are any open areas of the screen showing at the edges, these can be covered with tape to block the paint.


4. Place a piece of paper or cardboard in position on the base and lower the screen.

5. Pour a small amount of thick water-base or oil-base paint at one end of the screen and spread the paint across the screen with the squeegee.


6. Raise the screen and remove the printed poster. By repeating the procedure additional copies can be quickly made. A paper stencil will make as many as 50 copies depending on the paper used for the stencil.


7. When the required number of copies has been run, remove and discard the stencil. Excess paint can be wiped off and the screen washed ready for use with another stencil. A solvent such as turpentine is used for washing oil-base paint off of a screen. Proper cleaning is essential if a screen is to be reused.


Stencils can also be made by the wax and glue method.

1. Make a pencil sketch of the poster to be printed. Trace this design on the silk with a soft pencil.

2. Paint the design on the silk with melted paraffin. A liquid wax called tusche is ideal for this purpose and is available from many art supply stores.

3. Paint a second coat of wax to assure a solid image.

4. Pour liquid glue at one end of the screen and spread it across the entire screen with a piece of cardboard.

5. When the screen is dry, turn it over and wash the wax or tusche out with turpentine or other wax solvent. The screen is then ready to print.

Since the liquid glue is not waterproof, such stencils should be printed with oil-base paints. Shellac can be substituted for glue for printing with water-base paints.

There are many other methods of making stencils for silk-screen printing. For high quality and large quantity runs, stencil films that are soluble in water or lacquer thinner are generally used. These are available in many places. Check with a local printer to see what he is using.

Silk-screen paint may be purchased commercially or Can be home made. Oil-base paint can be made by taking ordinary paint that has an oil base and thickening it with wood-filler, talc or powdered clay. Water-base paint can be made by mixing equal parts of cornstarch and soapflakes and coloring with tempera paint, food coloring or ink. Dissolve a half-cup of cornstarch in a little cold water, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of boiling water, boil and stir until thickened, cool and add a half-cup of soapflakes; then add coloring.

If the ink is too thin, it will run under the stencil; if too thick, it will clog the screen. The consistency should be halfway between that of heavy cream and pudding.

When using the silk-screen process, it is important to learn the compatibilities and incompatibilities of stencils, paints and solvents. The paint must not dissolve the stencil because the image will be destroyed. The stencil must have a solvent or the screen will be ruined. Two types of pain are generally used, water-base and oil-base. The chart shows combinations of stencil, paint, and solvent. There are exceptions to this general guide, but the instructions on paint can usually give detailed information.


Waterproof Paper

Wax and
Soluble Glue


Lacquer Soluble

Water-base paint Use indoors Solvent-water

Good for a limited
of copies

Do not

Do not


Oil-base paint
Use Indoors or outdoors





Solvent to adhere stencil and to remove stencil


Hot water to remove glue



Figure A

Figure B

Figure C


Relief Printing

Relief printing, ordinarily associated with printing presses and typesetting, is a useful process for small-scale duplication. In this case what is needed is some means of raising the surface to be printed above the surrounding surfaces. The raised image is then inked by rolling an ink-covered roller over it. Following that, the inked surface is pressed against the copy paper, or the copy paper is placed on top of the inked surface and brushed with a stiff brush or rubbed with the back of a spoon.

The printing surface may be made in many ways. With the traditional linoleum block or woodcut method, the background of the illustration is cut away to leave the raised original surface of the block as the printing surface. Similar results can be created by cutting the areas to be printed from cardboard or an inner tube and gluing them in place on a block of wood. The surfaces of the shapes may then be inked and printed the same as a woodcut. The roller used for inking the printing surface should have a rubber surface. A roller may be purchased for the job or may be made by fitting a wire handle to a wooden dowel covered with a piece of an inner tube.

The ink should be thick. Printing ink, mimeograph ink, or silk-screen ink will do. Roll the ink on a smooth surface, such as glass, to distribute the ink evenly on the roller. Then ink the printing surface with the roller.


One method of relief printing, called a potato print, uses fresh vegetables as the printing medium. This is a good way to make small, repetitive patterns on paper, cloth or board. Depending on the size of the desired image, cut a potato, carrot, or similar item in half, and carve the negative or background image in the flat surface. With vegetables, water-base inks work better, but for small symbols try using a stamp pad. Work rapidly in hot climates.


Thermal Duplication

Thermal duplication, as the name implies, is a heat process In operation, a master copy in combination with a specially treated copy paper, passes an infrared lamp in the copy machine. Areas on the master that block the passage of infrared radiation generate heat and transfer the heat to the accompanying copy paper to produce a black or brown image.


A master to be used with the thermal duplication process must have an image that will absorb infrared radiation. Ink containing carbon particles (India ink and some writing inks), graphic pencils, and specially made ball point pens will work. Most marking pens (Magic Marker, etc.) and dye images will not work.

Thermal duplication paper will produce acceptably sharp copies of images the size of ordinary typing and larger, but will not resolve or reproduce very fine lines or accurately reproduce intermediate shapes of gray. Copies can be damaged by long exposure to sunlight or intense heat.


The thermal duplicator can produce transparencies on several types of transparent film. The film designations vary from one manufacturer to another; but, in general, they are available as black line on clear background, black line on color background, and colored line on a clear background. In addition to paper copies, the thermal duplicator can be used to produce spirit masters on special master sheets that can then be run on the spirit duplicator, which reduces the cost of multiple copies. Several manufacturers have also developed stencil duplication masters that may be cut on the thermal duplicator.

The only real limit to duplication processes is the imagination and resourcefulness of the individual. If one process won't fill the bill, try combining processes. The number of variations of duplication processes that have been developed is nearly inexhaustible. To find out if something will work, try it.