Can You Add Meanings to Socks? — A Practice on Denotative and Connotative Images


I did some interesting practice on making denotative images and connotative images. A denotative image is a direct representation of an object from real life, whether it be cartoonized or realistic, made by pen or something else. A connotative image added an extra layer of “meaning” to the denotative image.

To start, I needed to choose an object. I chose a sock. My mission was to quickly do 10 denotative images (using different ways) and 3 connotative images on paper. A lot, huh? I thought so, too. After all, how can socks be sketched differently into that many images? But I decided to give it a try.

At first, it was easy to limit my tools only to pens. After using up markers, pencil and brush, my mind drained a little bit. Then, I saw my box of post-its — ah ha, I cut them into pieces and made a “post-it” sock. Next, I searched my closet and found some construction paper and ribbons. I cut and pasted them into socks. Lastly, I used a combination of these tools to make a few others. Mission completed. There are many other ways to make images, such as cutting a potato in half and make prints — I thought about this… Given I only had one potato left and needed to use it for cooking, I skipped this idea.



Next, make connotative images. What in the world can socks have meanings?!?!

I figured it’s hard to just think of meanings the object itself naturally represents, I had to put this object into context: Who use it? Who do they use it for? When do they use it? Where do they use it? How do they use it?

Suddenly, a sock can represent a story. The first thing coming to my mind was a Christmas sock hat hung over the fireplace on Christmas Eve. When I thought about this, I felt warm and an image of sweet home came to mind: “it’s that sweet time again”. Boom! There you go, that’s the meaning.

What else? I’ve seen people wearing different socks, I thought it was pretty cool. I didn’t realize socks as a way to represent personalities, but in fact, it really does. So there went my second message “be yourself” (wearing different socks).

Lastly, I remember how much I didn’t like dirty and stinky socks. They made me frown. So there I had my third message “dirty socks make people unhappy”.



It’s fun! I really enjoyed this thought process.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *