So as I mentioned in the last post, things hadn’t been going so well. I’d lost my motivation, my inspiration and I wasn’t making any real progress in my work. Around the Easter holidays, I had almost lost hope of succeeding at all with this project and was honestly considering just giving up and quitting the course. I knew something was wrong so I had signed up to counselling in the Uni and had been talking to my parents, letting them know I wasn’t in a particularly good state; I’d come to the conclusion that I was possibly depressed*, maybe I’d been depressed for quite some time and hadn’t ntoiced it, but I was fairly sure that working on this project was making it worse.
I’m writing all of this in my reflective journal as it gives some context to the work, as it may help to explain some of my actions and decisions in this project, and because the subject of the project itself is depression then this very personal issue is highly relevant.
Close to the end of the Easter holidays, I made one last push to try and salvage my project. I’d decided that I could no longer carry on with my idea of creating a book for children about depression, or at least not one that was well written, clear and instructional. So instead, I decided to have another go at simply creating a story that could be interpreted as a metaphor for depression. I don’t know why I thought writing another story would help when I had failed so dismally in my previous attempt, but I tried anyway.
The general gist of the story was that someone is being pursued through a forest by something. Turns out that they’re shadows, manifestations of their depression; they constantly whisper all the self-loathing thoughts they have, the mistakes they made, the doubts they have etc. They run but they can’t get away and so eventually they’re caught. The world fades to black and they end up back where they started, doomed to repeat the cycle over and over again. Oh, and the manifestations of depression would be wearing dog-skulls on their heads because I wanted a lazy way of making them look menacing and also relating them back to the metaphor of ‘The Black Dog’. What can I say, I was panicking and rushing the idea (which I thought of during the course of 3 days, during which I still didn’t feel that motivated) so I didn’t really think it out that much.
There were alternates such as possibly having the manifestation of depression being a single person who is hunting the main character and they both beat the crap out of each other, then it turns out that it’s just themselves wearing a mask. However, I figured that a) it would probably be a terrible/problematic metaphor for depression that’d do more harm than good and b) it’d be a pretty boring cliche (you are your own enemy! Humanity is just the worst! etc.)
Ignoring the alternative ideas, I think the core idea could be an interesting one, but after a tutorial I decided that it was not the way to go for this project. For one, it still has the main problem that I was trying to get away from before; trying to write a story at the same time as drawing it. In the small time I had left, potentially getting myself stuck again would not be a smart idea. I was also uncertain about the story, as I think the core of it is good but it needs more consideration to make sure that it’s not problematic; plus, knowing me, I’d end up changing the story half-way through and then I’d render most of my illustrations unusable.
So instead, my tutor advised that I look into illustrating an article, which I’ll talk about in the next post.
*I’m still currently seeing a counsellor about this. I don’t know if I was/am depressed, I just know that I have never felt quite so immensely low, unmotivated and uninspired. I’m glad I went to get help before it got any worse and I’m doing much better now.
All Final Major Project related posts (in order):