Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Julia Romberger

Committee Member

David Metzger

Committee Member

Danielle Devoss


The field of writing studies continues to be expanded by new mediums of text and new methods of composing. Though rhetorical theory is recognized as being dynamic (Brooke, 2009; McKeon, 1987), it has yet to be remediated to fully account for texts composed collaboratively or visual rhetoric. This dissertation study explores the composing process of tattoos as an intersection of visual rhetoric, invention, and collaborative writing in order to provide to writing studies a remediation of the rhetorical canon of invention that accounts for visual texts composed collaboratively. Data collected included interviews with five tattoo artists and five clients, observations of the tattoo composing and tattooing processes, and photographs of completed tattoos. The findings suggest that authorship, a concept intimately connected to invention, remains complicated and rooted in the Platonic foundations of rhetoric and the Romantic notion of authorship as a profession, both of which privilege the solitary author, even when a text such as a tattoo can only come to fruition through a collaborative composing process. Relative to invention, which deals with the process of creating communication, which is often considered an invisible process (Jasinski, “Invention,” 2001; Lauer, 2004), the findings also illuminate the invention strategies and associated actions a tattoo artist and client utilize during the composing of a tattoo. Significant to this study and the identification of the invention strategies utilized during the composing process of a tattoo is the finding that the invention strategies termed negotiation and integration are similar to stasis theory, a heuristic for invention with roots in classical theories of rhetoric. Identifying the invention strategies and associated actions employed in the collaborative composing process of a visual text suggest pedagogical implications for how teachers can invite collaboration and encourage creative conflict when students are asked to produce visual texts collaboratively. Also in relation to pedagogical implications, the invention strategy of reflection in particular provides another method for participants to evaluate themselves and the contributions of collaborators when asked to compose visual texts collaboratively.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).