The New Psychotherapist magazine commissioned me to illustrate their lead article on a rise in clients seeking therapy around climate concerns. It’s always interesting receiving an editorial brief as it gives me the opportunity to conceptually develop ideas to enhance an article’s key message. In this case, the article brought to mind being caught between that feeling of being lost (not knowing what to do about a problem) and wanting to be the rescuer.
I worked on ideas around this idea of needing rescue and being the rescuer. The phrase “lost at sea” came to mind and I began to sketch imagery around life-jackets, lifeboat teams and lifebuoy rings. From this emerged a visual idea of a rescue crew in a lifeboat either in need of rescue or conducting a rescue operation. I wanted the image to be bright, colourful and eye-catching, so this suited the vibrant, orange uniforms of lifeboat rescuers, life vests and lifebuoys. I went for quite a lurid colour pattern for the water as a nod to ocean pollution.
The article’s supporting images continue this nautical rescue theme – with a character doing up a life vest having already put one on – reflecting on how people sometimes feel they have to protect themselves from an ongoing crisis before they help others. And the smallest image picks up on the article’s insight into how clients feel like they are drowning in a bombardment of online discussion around climate issues.