Healthy self-criticism!



I was illustrating the concept of using criticisms of your self as fuel for achievement – especially if the crits are weighed alongside your positives. I came up with four basic ideas, and picked one to develop.

When I’d done what was instinctive and ‘me’, and before I put the hands right, I looked at it and thought: that’s unbalanced and bitty. Well it was:


So I set about deconstructing the Photoshop layer file and discarding the bits I wouldn’t use again. In writing, we always say ‘Kill your darlings’. Same for illustration, I guess.

I liked my bits of paper where she had been making lists of her bad and good traits, and the eraser and sharpener that emphasised this. I killed these. But they’d led to the idea of using the pencil as a rod for the weights, and I decided not to kill the pencil. Well, you have to be reasonable!

So I used a background to indicate an office where people are meant to self-appraise or be appraised and set personal targets etc (what a nightmare!), and added some files to indicate her kind of work – clever, that, because it meant I could keep the pencil!

It then looked like this:


I decided to keep to a limited palette again (I had a blue-green tinge on the first version but here I made it more a case of reds and green plus grey). Added some relevant words to the weights, and made the message clearer (I prefer to leave the viewer with more to work out on their own, actually).

And the result is better in one sense, but lacks something in another. Always a difficult call between what I instinctively like and what someone might think is better. But at least I’ve managed to be positively self-critical and achieve something OK from it 🙂




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