Veras

My Ideal Life - Forward Spiral

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This may be a little heavy and personal, but bear with me.  Over the past few months, I've been struggling with severe anxiety and depression.  At the same time, a lot of things in my personal life have been crumbling, and things got bad enough that I spent Monday through Thursday in an inpatient treatment program.  During one education session a few weeks ago, a counselor talked about how depression leads people to engage in certain behaviors (isolating themselves, for example), that causes deeper depression, which leads to more depressed behavior, and so on.  It is a downward spiral.  That really resonated with me, and over the past few weeks I've been doodling a shape that looks a little like this.

 

589704-200.png

 

When I was in inpatient, I got bored with a session, flipped over the paper they gave me, and drew another downward spiral.  Once it was finished, I started spinning the page around, and realized that the spiral doesn't have to point down.  It still looks good pointing up, or left, or right.  It doesn't have to represent inevitable misery and failure.  By coincidence, the next session was an art therapy kind of thing, and we were told to draw our ideal life five years from now.  With my personal life in chaos, I couldn't do anything specific, because I have no idea where I will be or what I will be doing in a month, much less five years.  So instead, I cleaned up and colored my forward spiral.

 

Sometimes it goes up, and sometimes it goes down.  It's always changing, but it's always moving forward, and it's always getting closer to the middle:  closer to where I want to go.  Just because I'm at a low point now doesn't mean that I always will be.  In fact, an upswing is inevitable, and even though I know I will have low points again, I can keep going.

 

I like my original, but I didn't exactly have a lot of materials to work with, so I want to recreate it digitally and have it printed as a poster.  With more time and access to Illustrator, I was able to try it in a few different styles.  If I'm going to pay to have it printed, I want to make damn sure that I've got it exactly right, so first of all, I'm asking for C&C on the shape itself, as well as on which version is best.  I also don't have a lot of experience with having things that I've designed printed, so if anybody has any tips for that, it would be greatly appreciated.

 

To save space, I'm only posting small versions here.  Click on the version number for a higher-quality look.

 

Version 1 - The Original.  This one looks almost exactly like what I drew in the hospital.

my_ideal_life___spiral_forward__original

 

Version 2 - No outlines.  I removed the outlines, and let shading alone create the slight 3D effect.

my_ideal_life___spiral_forward__white__b

 

Version 3 - Black.  The only materials that I had available was an ink pen, 8 colored pencils, and a tub of markers.  If I were to start from scratch and do it by hand, I would want to use oil pastels on black paper.  I don't have access to those things, which is why I'm doing it in Illustrator instead.  This is close to what I imagine it looking like.

 

my_ideal_life___spiral_forward__black__b 

 

Thanks you for your time.

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Well first of all, I’m extremely sorry to hear about this. Your contributions to these boards as long as I have been here have been pretty significant, and I’ve only been around about a year. We certainly miss having you around consistently, but life happens and more important things take over.

 

The original is my favorite. I think the outlines gives it a “unified” look which I really like. The gradient colors and overall effects look really cool. Its an interesting design, and I think it represents something important so thats nice. The first is definitely my favorite. That being said, the whole spiral design is more apparent with no outlines. Certainly does look 3D. Hope this helps.

 

I can tell you’re in a tough spot, but as you said the spiral doesn’t have to be pointed down. Your a great artist and I hope you figure some things out. Best of luck man.

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I like #2. Knowing what you are representing with it, I think the absence of outlines makes it feel freer and more like a living thing without restriction.

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I am going to ask a question and try to give feedback in a way that I hope will not offend, upset or hurt anyone's sensibilities...

 

I don't see in your post anywhere that you reference that you are Gay/Bi/Trans etc... Is there another reason you chose a Rainbow theme to color in the spiral.

 

I know rainbows have been around for a long time (I mean in print, advertising, etc. not the Sky) before Gilbert Baker first introduced the rainbow flag in 1978, but I think it's safe to say that a vast majority of the time now when you see the rainbow used in promotional or advertising campaigns the LGBTQ community comes to mind.

 

I think you have a strong idea, regarding the idea that spiraling doesn't always have to mean you are spiraling downward, I also think that if this idea has helped you in anyway than besides just printing it for your own poster, you should consider a patent and try working with those in the Mental Health field to use it as a touch-point with others that are struggling.

 

I just think that if you go with rainbow it may limit the adoption of this as a tool to help others who may associate the rainbow as I've described.

 

If this is the reason you decided to go with rainbow, great.

If there is another reason and you think I am way off base and it wouldn't limit it's appeal to those who do associate the two, that is great as well.

 

I think if you do get this right in 20 years the "Sprial in any direction" could become as associated with fighting and winning against Mental Health Issues as the Rainbow, the three arrow Recycle logo, more recently the puzzle piece for Autism etc...

 

Having said all that, of the three you posted I like Version 2 (no outlines on white). I think it pops (almost 3D) better than with the outlines.

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On 7/15/2018 at 7:32 PM, Cardsblues02 said:

Well first of all, I’m extremely sorry to hear about this. Your contributions to these boards as long as I have been here have been pretty significant, and I’ve only been around about a year. We certainly miss having you around consistently, but life happens and more important things take over.

 

The original is my favorite. I think the outlines gives it a “unified” look which I really like. The gradient colors and overall effects look really cool. Its an interesting design, and I think it represents something important so thats nice. The first is definitely my favorite. That being said, the whole spiral design is more apparent with no outlines. Certainly does look 3D. Hope this helps.

 

I can tell you’re in a tough spot, but as you said the spiral doesn’t have to be pointed down. Your a great artist and I hope you figure some things out. Best of luck man.

Thank you for the kind words.  Things are definitely improving.  In fact, I only have one week of intensive outpatient therapy left.  I also have a 40-hour per week job now, so hopefully it will free me up to start writing and designing again once I'm not doing 9 hours of counseling every week.

 

On 7/15/2018 at 9:41 PM, Broken Record said:

I like #2. Knowing what you are representing with it, I think the absence of outlines makes it feel freer and more like a living thing without restriction.

I hadn't thought of that, but I like it.

 

On 7/18/2018 at 3:05 PM, MC Buffalo said:

I am going to ask a question and try to give feedback in a way that I hope will not offend, upset or hurt anyone's sensibilities...

 

I don't see in your post anywhere that you reference that you are Gay/Bi/Trans etc... Is there another reason you chose a Rainbow theme to color in the spiral.

 

I know rainbows have been around for a long time (I mean in print, advertising, etc. not the Sky) before Gilbert Baker first introduced the rainbow flag in 1978, but I think it's safe to say that a vast majority of the time now when you see the rainbow used in promotional or advertising campaigns the LGBTQ community comes to mind.

 

I think you have a strong idea, regarding the idea that spiraling doesn't always have to mean you are spiraling downward, I also think that if this idea has helped you in anyway than besides just printing it for your own poster, you should consider a patent and try working with those in the Mental Health field to use it as a touch-point with others that are struggling.

 

I just think that if you go with rainbow it may limit the adoption of this as a tool to help others who may associate the rainbow as I've described.

 

If this is the reason you decided to go with rainbow, great.

If there is another reason and you think I am way off base and it wouldn't limit it's appeal to those who do associate the two, that is great as well.

 

I think if you do get this right in 20 years the "Sprial in any direction" could become as associated with fighting and winning against Mental Health Issues as the Rainbow, the three arrow Recycle logo, more recently the puzzle piece for Autism etc...

 

Having said all that, of the three you posted I like Version 2 (no outlines on white). I think it pops (almost 3D) better than with the outlines.

I don't take any offense to the suggestion, but I'm not LGBTQ+ (okay, I'll admit to a slight attraction to Taye Diggs, but that's about it).  I used rainbow colors because I wanted to add an element of change to the spiral, and the colors are arranged the way that they are for a reason, other than the fact that I only had like 10 colored pencils.  This is the original drawing, which I think will make what I was going for much more clear:

original_forward_spiral_by_verasthebruja

 

I wasn't just going for change, I also wanted to show going from cool, dark colors to warmer colors as the spiral moved forward.  The purple to blue downward transition actually has special significance.  When I drew this, I was absolutely certain that my wife and I were splitting up (whether or not that happens is still up in the air, but it looks better now than it did then).  Purple is her favorite color.  More than that, she is also an artist (much better than me), and she has frequently used that same deep purple color to represent herself in her work.  So the beginning of the spiral is me moving away from her, and falling into a low, blue point.  I don't want my marriage to end, and if it does, it will be pretty tough for me to get through.  But I know that, even if worst comes to worst, I'll eventually bounce back.  It may take me a while to heal, but I know that eventually, that coldness will dissipate, things will turn around, and someday I'll feel warm again.

 

As for getting a copyright... I'm not sure.  I mean, I think this is an interesting illustration, but I don't think it's that good.  Plus, I wouldn't even begin to know how to go about doing that, much less promoting and spreading it.  It's not like I'm qualified to speak at conferences or anything like that (well, not in the mental health field, anyway).  I definitely appreciate the extraordinary praise that you've given me and it, but that's all a little grand.  I'm just looking for something to remind me to avoid stepping backwards and losing myself in depression and anxiety again.

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On 7/15/2018 at 6:38 PM, Veras said:

Just because I'm at a low point now doesn't mean that I always will be.

The above quote is exactly right man!

 

 

Went through something very similar lately, glad to hear you are getting that help. From my standpoint it's the best thing I ever did.

 

I really don't have any insightful comment on the artwork (it's a cool concept! I can say that, and as always your work is well done) I really just wanted to say "you are not alone" and "glad to hear you are working hard to come out on the other side.". 

 

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I don't know if this is sad or just realistic, but the red part at the end is still well below where the forward spiral begins in purple. Maybe have the arrow at the end show a bit of an upward trend? Rotate the whole thing?

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10 hours ago, mr.negative15 said:

The above quote is exactly right man!

 

 

Went through something very similar lately, glad to hear you are getting that help. From my standpoint it's the best thing I ever did.

 

I really don't have any insightful comment on the artwork (it's a cool concept! I can say that, and as always your work is well done) I really just wanted to say "you are not alone" and "glad to hear you are working hard to come out on the other side.". 

 

I appreciate the empathy and the kind words.  It's been a struggle for sure, but I feel better than I have in a long time (not that that's a high bar to clear, lol).  I'm looking forward to writing and designing again.

 

2 hours ago, Cosmic said:

I don't know if this is sad or just realistic, but the red part at the end is still well below where the forward spiral begins in purple. Maybe have the arrow at the end show a bit of an upward trend? Rotate the whole thing?

That's an interesting through.  I wouldn't want to rotate the whole thing, because it would just look off.  I could modify it slightly so that, instead of spiraling toward the center, the top of the shape stays level and the lows just don't go as low.  It would have a shape kind of like this:

Image result for right triangle

 

Even though I did talk about ups and downs being part of the process, I had also thought about moving toward the center as finding balance, and going where I'm aiming for.  I did consider an upward spiral at one point, but I preferred ti going forward.

 

Either way, thanks for the insight.  I'll definitely play with the shape when I have some time.

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