My first test run with the general public to draw three words as ideograms - "love," "take," and "universe." These shots took place outside of the Ink People Gallery on 2nd Street in Eureka, Ca as a part of the Arts Alive! art walk. The results were delightfully random, but some interesting issues came up.
1. Herd Behavior. Many people did not like having other drawings directly in front of them, saying they were distracting and influenced what they drew. Two participants asked that I give an "anonymous" option, either on a post-it note or on a form via the web. Creating a worksheet with an explanation, that participants can fill out alone, might resolve this.
2. Drawing Angst. I have had artists do this experiment before, and they had mentioned that randomly chosen individuals would be turned off by being put on the spot to draw. "I can't draw" was heard quite often from passersby, along with "Will it take long?" I need to find a way to best emphasize that these are simple and straightforward to be better understood. What term should use instead of "draw?"
3. Reproducability. Simply saying "try to make it simple" didn't seem to cut it. I really needed to emphasize that these drawings had to be reproducable for others. I tried using the phrase "it's actually better if you can't draw, because that means it's more likely that others can draw it!" But I suspect that resulted in only more complicated images.
4. Ideogram vs. Pictogram. I keep getting these terms mixed up, which I believe added to confusion. The UPL is mainly an experiment in ideograms. As Jim Grossmann from the Conlang Facebook Group Explained: "Strictly speaking, you can't draw a pictogram (picture-depiction) of the universe, because the whole is unpicturable, if only because spacetime has more than three dimensions. You could draw an ideogram (symbol-for-idea) of the universe."
The next step for this first set is to translate these ideograms into my own hand, and then run group debates over which to chose for each word. Then, that image will be uploaded onto my website and temporarily "confirmed" as a UPL symbol, along with notes on its debate process. Stay turned for more on this page and others.