DRAWING CLOSER TO NATURE
This project is the outcome responded to my final year thesis: "To what extent have Disney - Pixar co-productions: Finding Nemo (2003) and its sequel Finding Dory (2016) raised children's awareness of nature, inspired them to adventure and to take action to protect nature?" (Huong Anh Trinh, BA Hons Illustration & Visual Media, University of the Arts London).
My dissertation topic, instead of following the well-worn criticizing path of Disney's controversal issues and its negative influences on the development of children, has focused on the theme of natural environment inherent within many Disney productions, and how this theme and its underlying messages have affected the perspectives and habits of humans in our interaction with nature and its environment. Through an analysis of nature-themed Disney productions, particularly Finding Nemo (2003) and its sequel, Finding Dory (2016), as well as other iconic Disney movies, the results indicate that Disney has inspired the younger generation on three major points: to truly fall in love with nature; to explore nature and to challenge themselves; to become more aware of environmental issues and take steps to protect nature and its inhabitants. My work also stresses the importance of educating children about nature through visual channels, as well as supporting the development and proliferation of the “Rescue – Rehabilitate – Release” model presented in Finding Dory.
The book was designed in the form of an A5-sized concertina journal. The intention is to deliver the same exciting feelings of travelling on a whimsical journey through continuous pages. Because the research topic is related to child psychology, the design must also excite children and make them enjoy interacting with the journal. The time-weathering effect on this design was quite significant since it took 13 years for Disney to create the sequel for Finding Nemo. In view of this, the cover was made of worn-with-time canvas, with the thesis itself printed on a vintage textured paper for an ideal timeless look and with a water-logged effect. Previously, I considered choosing water-resistant paper to make the theme of these two underwater stories even more specific. However, the smooth surface of waterproof paper looks quite modern, while the rough pattern of my chosen type is more appropriate for a long, tough journey. The A5 size makes it look like a pocket journal, something that is usually kept in pocket when travelling. In addition, in both films the creators keep portraying how minuscule the protagonists are compared to their collossal journeys - I want to remind people of this so that they can admire the wonderful characters even more. The hand-embroiderred cover comes with a small hemp string lock in the form of a seashell wrapped around the journal, this is not only about collectible value but also brings the excitement for the readers to unlock the journal and experience the beautiful stories within.
After finishing my thesis book, I wanted to continue developing the main three points that I have focused on in my topic but in a visual presentation form, could be seen as environmental posters – subtle, without any provocative propaganda, and with a narrative. My plan was to create 3 different illustrations, one for each message, that are all connected by the theme of marine life and the same girl character. This young girl will grow older through each illustration, which are created to serve as not only a chronological link between the three continuing narrative sceneries, but also an endless stream of emotions and thoughts. What I aim for in these outcomes are compelling, aspiring visual messages, brimming with positive energy that could re-connect viewers with nature and hopefully, awaken the responsibilities towards nature within them.
The first illustration portrays one little girl peering through a magnifying glass, unveiling the mystery lying miles underneath the vast blue sea, to see that deep down there is another fantasy world full of colorful marine life, with sea creatures living in a diverse, lively society within those beautiful, shimmering coral reefs. The contrast between the deep dark wavy background and the vibrant magical world inside the magnifying glass sends out the message that nature has always been a mystery and there are more for us to love than being afraid of it. In the second picture, the girl grows older and she walks through a door to the underwater world, being completely in awe of the mesmerizing scene in front of her very eyes. We can see a little bit of her desk and computer that were left behind, which suggests that the girl has stopped spending time with electronic devices and started making real contact with nature. Unfortunately I didn't manage to finish the third illustration due to lack of time, however I'm happy with the outcome and in the future if I ever have a chance to come back to this project, I will certainly finish it as follow: " The last image is the saddest of all with the message of natural concerns. Now the girl is grown up and she stare forlornly at her fish friends, now washed up on the shore full of trash, all of them look like they died of marine chemical pollution, oil leak, and some of them still even have choking pack rings stuck on their body. The sunset spreads a sorrowful atmosphere over the whole scene. "
(And thank god it's over, you know with 9 months of thesis and research and finding these fishes, It've just driven me nuts)
(btw I'm still finding a way to publish this research,
hmm yeah, the thesis is something worth sharing - except for the fact that my English writing skill is embarrassingly bad.
in the mean time, i hope you guys enjoy the drawings :) )
Btw here is the link to my new facebook page: