Empathy and Awareness

I really really enjoyed this project. For the prophecy project before Christmas, I had been planning on doing it based on dogs and why dogs are great because they just love everyone unconditionally. I changed my mind with that project and did something else in the end, so I decided to put the dog idea in storage and wait for another chance to use it for something.

The empathy and awareness project seemed like a good opportunity for that. As soon as we got given the brief I was certain that this is what I was going to do for it. Whereas before for prophecy, I was going to do it like ‘what would it be like if dogs ruled the world’, for this project it was going to be much simpler than that, just purely focused on dogs not having prejudice. 

To begin with I just did a lot of observational drawings of dogs, using pictures I found on the internet and pictures of my friend’s dogs that I had taken. I’ve always struggled drawing dogs a bit, and I still kind of do, even after doing a whole project on them, but I did improve quite a lot. I never really decided on any process or kind of endgame that I wanted to do for this project, so I just kept drawing and drawing. I could never quite settle on a particular way of drawing that I really liked, so it kept changing.

I had briefly considered putting the dogs in scenarios based off of real life events of prejudice, such as all the protests in America after Mike Brown’s death last year, and maybe recreating something like the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/10/hands-up-dont-shoot-echoes-through-black-history-and-our-lives) but with dogs instead of people. I find it really hard to portray negative topics in my work though, like I can address that there is negativity in the world, but if I was doing work on it, I usually try and take a positive spin on it. I didn’t want any negative imagery with this project either, I intended it to be a very positive thing, because dogs are positive creatures. (Does that make sense? It’s really hard to put this into words properly.)

I wanted to have a series of images showing dogs being happy and enjoying life, regardless of whatever things might make them different. I looked at a couple things such as disability, race, gender, age, religion, and thought about which ones would be the best to try and communicate through drawings. I did an example for all of them except for religion, just because I couldn’t think of a way to show dogs as religious besides dressing them up, and that’s not what I was going for at all.

I never did really settle on a final piece for this, I just had some slightly better presented drawings, on separate pieces of paper that maybe look a bit more finished then the rest of the drawings I did. I’m still not sure if I’m happy with the way I drew them or the materials I used. This project definitely isn’t finished, but I reached a point where I could leave it. I could quite happily keep working on it. If I was to keep going with it, I’d either make enough drawings to put into a book, or maybe into prints or postcards, or something like that.

Inspiration:

http://ugly-bread.tumblr.com/post/117387303409/why-dogs-are-infinitely-better-than-people i was searching the ‘dog’ tag on tumblr after I started doing this project and found this post, which I found quite interesting because it’s clear I’m not the only person who has this thought about dogs.

http://padmeimaballa.tumblr.com/post/111814160618/you-can-do-it this is the sort of style of drawing that I really wanted to aspire to in this project, like I love the simplicity of the drawing, and how it’s accurate but still cartoony, it’s so pleasing to look at. I love the solid black background as well, and I kind of wanted to do something like that originally, but had a block colour, but it wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, so I left it out in the end.

http://shop.tate.org.uk/childrens-books/how-to-draw-a-chicken/invt/12587 this is a book I bought from the Tate modern a few months ago, but I find the author draws in this book so entertaining, it’s barely more than a few lines but I think it’s so effective.

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