Along side working on narratives, I am also working on creating a character that could be used to illustrate these stories.
It has become clear to me that material about fibromyalgia, whether provided by a medical professional or online, has some bias to it in terms of who is depicted. Fibromyalgia is largely experienced in women over around 40. The booklet on fibromyalgia I was given when diagnosed almost exclusively depicts older women, which made it hard for me to identify with the text. A fair amount of material online, particularly “The Mighty“, depicts largely women. It’s difficult for me to read or watch some of this because I have an uncle with fibromyalgia and makes me feel uncomfortable knowing that he is being excluded from this information.
With this in mind, and what McCloud says about universality of imagery, I have decided to use a skeleton as the main character of my work. Everyone has a skeleton. It does not dictate age, race, gender. This will make my work relevant to everyone that experiences it. There is also still plenty of scope with expressions and actions.
The images above are from my sketchbook. Using a Pentel sign pen, I have been playing with how I would draw the skull first and have started to work on how I would draw different facial expressions. I want to be able to encompass all of the emotions that go with the illness in the faces of these skeletons.
Once I have started to got solid narratives, I can start to put them into practice, obviously after I’ve decided on a body for them. I can then see if this will work, get some feedback from others and go from there.