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Pandemic Projects

In the blog post titled Project: Embroider, I had mentioned throwing myself into a bunch of different projects when the lockdown was imposed back in March 2020, and these next couple of projects are examples of what I ended up doing in response to the global pandemic.

 

Project 1


The inception of my first project was in response to both the government and the World Health Organisation’s guidance on hygiene amid efforts to contain the virus - a simple yet crucial message: catch it, bin it, kill it.


Typically, when brainstorming ideas, my mind gravitates towards Disney characters and their potential to connect to a given topic. While my usual subjects are far less serious, I believed that introducing a cheerier perspective to an otherwise serious and bleak situation was necessary.

Choosing the character was an easy decision - it had to be Sneezy. He practically personified the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' message, or at least he would in this instance. Moreover, to convey ideas of kindness and unity, I selected Snow White herself as the ideal companion.


Once the characters and concept were established, the narrative began taking shape. However, creating a single image to encapsulate the theme proved challenging. Consequently, I set about crafting a sequence of images. - firstly depicting the symptoms of Sneezy's sneeze, followed by Snow White's efforts to contain it, and concluding with them disposing of/eliminating the germs.


Knowing this project would take time to make, I decided to use my tablet. Below are the (slightly) tidied initial sketches…


The final stage was to add colour, shading and highlights...


 

Project 2


At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a surge in people understandably wanting to show their support and gratitude for all essential workers. Most notably was the “clap for our carers'“ movement, which began 26th March 2020 and continued each Thursday night for ten weeks, ending 28th May 2020.


Another trend saw drawings of rainbows popping up in windows acr in a bid to show unification amongst communities, as well as being a “mood-booster” for people out on their one-a-day walk. In certain regions, a fun trend emerged with  teddy bears/toys  displayed in windows, inspired by Michael Rosen's children's book, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt."



These uplifting gestures inspired me to create a social media post that encapsulated these trends, and I chose to convey it through the lens of a Disney drawing.


Almost immediately, Woody and Buzz from Toy Story became my chosen characters, nodding to the "toys in windows" trend. However, integrating a rainbow into the composition presented a challenge. Placing it in the background seemed too simplistic; I wanted each element to hold its own significance.

The arrangement of Woody and Buzz became a priority. Given the lockdown and stringent social distancing rules, positioning the friends at a safe distance seemed apt. However, this left a considerable gap between them, prompting the idea of incorporating a rainbow.


Initially, I considered recreating Andy's iconic cloud wallpaper with the rainbow in the centre. However, the challenge of accurately replicating the pattern, especially freehand, proved difficult. Additionally, the application of colour using pencil crayons over a large area would be time-consuming, and paint presented issues with wetness on paper.


It was back to the drawing board.


Given the Toy Story theme, I explored rainbow-coloured toys, and the slinky immediately came to mind - a cherished childhood toy. This seamlessly aligned with the Toy Story theme, allowing me to include Slinky Dog. I envisioned colouring his spring as the rainbow, cleverly stretching his body from one end of the page to the other, embracing the social distance element.


Gathering reference images, I sketched the three characters on my tablet, then printed them to trace onto the final paper using my light-box.


The final stage involved refining the sketch by adding tone, shading, and highlights. I opted to colour only the spring to make the rainbow stand out, maintaining my preferred Disney drawing style - grayscale/pencil sketches.

And here is the final piece…


“We stick together and can see it through, ‘cause you’ve got a friend in me”

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