by David Huang

This illustration was made as a personal piece during the height of the New York Coronavirus lockdown, it served as a visual reflection of my mental state during that time.

I’m sure a lot of people have had a difficult time (or not, if you’re used to isolation) staying in their own confines for weeks. It was especially hard for a self-proclaimed extrovert like me– who used to go out most nights for social functions– suddenly finding myself stuck staring at the blank ceiling. Reflecting back on April, I only stepped outside 10 minutes a day just to get fresh air, and each time I did, I did so with fear for my life.

During the lockdown, I took a lot of inspiration from the subject of confinement–this unprecedented time in modern history most of us have not experienced before– I was encouraging people to stay home when they can, but soon I found that I have drawn everything I can from this subject. So one morning as I gazed once again at the empty ceiling I had the idea to find the subject within myself. I would draw out my ennui– a visual playground, one that is stuck within the confines of my own apartment.

For this illustration, I had no idea what the final was going to look like, nor did I have a sketch or thumbnail. I have a lot of little drawings scattered all over my sketchbook, and I compiled them into an image that reflects how I feel.

I also had to change my usual process as I did not have my scanner during that time (it was in my studio a few miles away), so in order to make do, I took pictures with my iPhone 11, sent them to my computer, and levelled them in photoshop to achieve different lines, exposures, or textures.

One of the important motifs in this illustration is the ants–they’re something that I’m used to seeing growing up in a subtropical country (Taiwan), but I always overlook them until these days. They work day and night and I always wondered if they slept. They always seem to have a goal in their mind, one that puts them in pilot mode. I’m a bit jealous because they never seem to be bored! Their behaviour is definitely something I reflect on a lot during the quarantine.

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