For the Creative Conscious live brief, I have created two characters called Dave and Steve to act as a platform to talk about mens mental health; superficially how important it is to talk to your friends when they are struggling and to show them your support by being a goo friend and a shoulder to lean on.
From the Most recent feed back that I got from my peers and tutor during crit, I knew that I had to do a character design rethink on my two characters, they where not perceived as relatable enough and didn’t hold enough of a personality; in short Dave and Steve needed to be rethought and further developed as characters if they where going to be successful.
In order to do this, I took their designs pretty much straight back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was going to be home for a month over Easter and the deadline for the brief was going to be during that period, it meant that I also had to change mediums. Not having access to Photoshop, Illustrator or any other digital drawing tech, I had to also take Dave and Steve back into a traditional media; in this case I chose Water colour, for both vibrancy of colour and because of my large amount of practise in using this medium. It was a little disappointing that I had to do this because simply my limited technology, but I felt that if I was going to submit to the brief then I wanted to do so with a stronger piece of work, and therefore this was my best and only option.
I started out with a really basic redesign, where I took into account the feedback about making my characters appear older by changing their face/head shapes and by giving them hair, getting rid of the too simplistic circular head shapes that I’d previously given them. I kept them easy to replicate, but gave their faces more structure and added in a simple hair design, this has definitely aged them up and given them a clearer design.
Once I’d done that I looked at how I might want them to interact and the kind of message that I wanted to communicate. It was definitely going to be aimed at the ‘Steve’s’ of the world, encouraging the audience to look out for the more obvious signs of a general decline in the mental health of their mates, while not being too specific to, so as not to pigeon hole the message into depression too much. So it was Steve’s role in the relationship that I wanted to focus on, and it was his actions that I wanted to advise; though I wanted to make sure that the advice was geared more towards general support and opening up a conversation between the two characters. The point of the illustrations being to get people to be more aware of their friends and more open to talking with them about mental health; as I firmly believe that at the root of tackling mental health, is de-stigmatising the topic and normalising it as a common topic of convocation between friends. Providing safe spaces and decreasing the pressure to bottle up ones’ problems.
The series of images that i came up with created a basic narrative between the two mates that can function both as an independent poster campaign and a zine series, this way it can be placed into a verity of contexts and on a wide platform base.
While this project did not go in the direction that I wanted it too, and unfortunate fact that I had both a job and other uni work to do at the same time, I am still quite happy with this outcome. I like the new characterisation and feel like I successfully took on the feed back from my final crit before the end of the Spring Term. Dave and Steve, while not in the medium that I wanted to use, did benefit from this redesign and I feel much better about submitting my work to the brief.