After some feedback from friends, I decided that the style of the illustrations from the last page spread featured in the previous post would work well for the whole article. It’s a technique I’ve used throughout the article, but it’s at its most prominent and most effective here. I’d draw rough sketches of the figure, then lower the opacity and create a new layer to draw on, so I would have a guide to draw over. If I didn’t like the new sketch, then I’d change the opacity on that, create a new layer and carry on, sometimes deleting the oldest layer if the drawing felt too cluttered. Originally, this was just to give myself a guide and improve the accuracy of my drawing, so that I could delete the old layer and be left with a clean drawing, but after a few sketches I realised that I liked the way the layers underneath added to the drawing and that I could increase the scruffiness and scribbliness of the bottom sketch to suggest at an inner turmoil. When presented along with the text, this works well as a way to communicate to the reader that a character is depressed without just making the character sad. The style reminds me of Jonathon Edwards‘ work, as he does a similar thing of sketching with one colour and defining with another:
I felt that it was important to portray a multi-faceted view of depression as many people don’t really consider people with mental illnesses as people who have lives to live, with all the normal/mundane things that come with it; all of which is made more difficult not only by their mental illness but also by the ways in which they are treated by society.
However, looking back at this project as a whole, I’m not sure that I’ve accomplished this; I think in fact I may have managed to fall into the trap of portraying depressed people as mostly sad. This is something which I would definitely try to improve in future, though I hope that perhaps I’m wrong and I also managed to get across more, such as how lonely, hopless and tired depression can make people feel.
I’d quickly added a cover, as I’d removed this image from another page and felt that maybe it could be used elsewhere. The text placement and relationship with the image has not been thought through at all and as a result it looks terrible, but I thought it would be a good idea to at least have a cover there so I could play around with it.
Same as before, not much else to say about it.
I edited the image just a little bit, as I felt that while I was being a bit too heavy-handed when the message could be subtler and more effective. I wanted to get across that feeling of isolation and of being out of place, but I had made it so that this person was VERY different. I’d rendered her in a single colour that was difficult to miss in comparison with her companions who had more or less faded into the background, which was not quite what I was going for. Here, the difference between the depressed character and her friends is that her scribbles on the lower layer are more pronounced than theirs, which I think works well as a symbol that something is wrong.
Still couldn’t get this page to work. I drew someone poking their head out of a bathtub like with the previous version of this page, but it doesn’t look that good. For one, it doesn’t look like she’s lying down in a bath, it looks more like she’s standing up/treading water in a swimming pool or something. It also needs something else on second page at least so that it looks less empty.
This page feels a lot more balanced horizontally than the previous version, but it now feels a bit top heavy. I did try and experiment with placing the images in positions that would balance it, but this is the best I was able to do.
So after thinking about this page, I decided to focus on communication, as the text talks about a letter in “For Esme with Love and Squalor,” by J.D. Salinger’s, and beforehand advises:
“If you are, yourself, depressed right now, send a signal to someone, anyone you trust.”
I’d referenced isolation in my other drawings so this seemed like a good way to balance the tone/message of the drawings and article by visually reinforcing the advice.
All Final Major Project related posts (in order):