‘I Had a Black Dog’ is a well known book about depression, written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone. Many people have found it useful to understand more about depression and be more understanding of those who suffer from it. Personally, I found the book to be well-intentioned and filled with helpful advice, though I found the sequel ‘Living With a Black Dog’, which was co-written with his wife Ainsley Johnstone, to be more useful (or at least to me) as it was aimed towards people who live with depressed people and gives some good insights into how to help, including do’s and don’ts of what to say, do and how to empathise with depressed people. While the advice is good, I disliked the art style. It fulfills its intended purpose to a degree, but as an illustrator I found that the quality of the art was poor and uninspired a lot of the time; body proportions vary wildly, the text is often interpreted VERY literally and the people look too stiff.

Saying all that, the art quality doesn’t ruin the book and most people I’ve shown it to haven’t disliked the art, so perhaps it’s a personal preference.

Below is a video of the illustrations in ‘I Had a Black Dog’ accompanied by a voice-over of the text (which I believe is being read out by the author).


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