As I mentioned in the previous post, I ran into a few problems. My first was that I’d been feeling decidedly unmotivated as the project went on. I’d felt like this before, but I’d attributed it to simply being ‘stuck in a rut’. Now it was back, and more serious. There were some weeks when I did almost nothing at all, so time flew by and I wasn’t nearing an end-product. Fay tried to help, but she had problems of her own to deal with, so we both made very little progress.
My second problem was that I had various ideas for how to do this project, but I couldn’t decide between them all. As soon as I tried one idea, I would find problems with it, attempt to edit it and then run into even more problems which I couldn’t figure out how to tackle. Mostly these were issues about how to present the book and the problematic issues that surround both depression and illustration such as:
How should we represent depression? If we make it too sinister, how will that affectthe way people view the problem? If we don’t make it seem dangerous enough are we in danger if making it seem like less of an issue than it is? What kind of people should we feature? Do we want to avoid or tackle stereotypes? In this landscape of depression, how does everything work? Am I accidentally portraying depressed people in a damaging way?
…and so on.
I kept on questioning myself, second-guessing my decisions until I was paralysed into almost complete inaction. I knew that many of these were good questions, which I wanted to address, but I also wanted to draw and so at the same time I’d try to develop and refine my ideas, but they’d end up generating more ideas which seemed to lead to more problems rather than nailing down my thoughts. I was also having trouble thinking of anything interesting to draw, or how to draw it; I didn’t feel enthused enough to put in a lot of effort and thinking imaginatively felt incredibly draining. I still really wanted to make this project, it was just that I felt stuck in the ideas stage.
My tutors suggested that perhaps my problem was not enough experimentation, so I should try something different that might inspire me, so they suggested that since I mostly used balck and white pen, pencil or charcoal, I should a) try colour and b) try different mediums that involved colour.
This had varied results. As you can see, I did get some stuff done, but it wasn’t much, and it didn’t really help me feel any more motivated than I was before.
Still, I pressed on, trying to hammer down ideas and really work out the content of the book.
Still, none of this made me more enthusiastic about the project. During all this, myself and Fay decided to do two separate projects instead of a single joint project, as we realised that my lack of motivation was hampering Fay’s efforts to progress with the book and that we both had drastically different ideas in mind for what the book would be. I wanted to make a metaphorical story that would be more appropriate for Secondary schoolers than the original 7+ target audience, and Fay wanted to make an illustrated book of scenarios similar to ‘I Had a Black Dog’ and ‘Living With a Black Dog’. We would still share the research we’d done, and discuss the project on occasion, but from here on we’d be making our own book rather than a collaboration.
So, tried to continue but I still wasn’t feeling anything. I tried exercises to get my creative juices flowing, but while they made some interesting/amusing drawings there was very little that was of any use to the project.
I tried an exercise in imagination. Draw a random shape, then turn it into something like a character or creature or object or whatever. It was an exercise that I remember seeing on tumblr.com, but I don’t remember exactly whereabouts it was.
It’s an enjoyable exercise, but unfortunately, nothing particularly useful.
I did particularly like the one with the hippo though:
Then I tried simply drawing various characters. I tried googling people and using this site in an attempt to portray some body, sex and racial diversity in the book. Surely if I drew lots of people, I would suddenly get inspiration for how to do my project?
Some very nice drawings, some which I could potentially use as characters for the book, but I was still left with no idea as to how to continue with the book, a problem that I’ll talk more about in the next post.
All Final Major Project related posts (in order):