20 May 2020

6 Mins Read

David Ofiare

David Ofiare

Illustration in the Time of a Pandemic.

On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation characterised COVID-19 to the general public, as a full-blown “pandemic.” The entire world was officially confirmed as being in another world health emergency. Economies were guaranteed to be shut down, most businesses forced to close down and to be put at the potential risk of ceasing to be businesses. This is not the first time the world has been put in such a situation, but who this article aims to address are Creative Designers and Graphic Illustrators stuck in this general problem.

Illustration in the Time of a Pandemic.
Isolation by David Ofiare

As an Illustrator …

Your job or hobby is as important as you make it out to be. You are not a health worker, neither is your craft glorified as essential work, but who says it isn’t?

Ultimately, you define your importance in difficult times like this, by asking simple questions like:

  1. Can I help?
  2. Can I keep my business (afloat) or keep other businesses afloat?
  3. Is there a way to keep people motivated with my illustrations?

The answers to these are: yes, yes and yes. How so?

“It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive.”

First, find your motivation.

There are no truer words for these times than those of Louise Bourgeois, that as a Creative, you have to keep your motivation alive. It doesn’t matter where that motivation comes from and it does not have a constant source for every individual. It only starts from a question—that comes from a problem that needs to be solved.

Problem-solving is very common to every designer. It is the basis of our career. So, find your question from a problem and solve it.

One hand, two hands.

The size of the problem is only as big as the size (or weight) of your imagination, so think small, big or wide. Think anyhow you are used to. Find a note, fill it with ‘scrap’ thoughts and ideas.

When you find one that calls to you to solve, GET TO WORK. If that problem happens to be too big for you, find a friend, or a colleague, or a community and pitch it to them. Who knows, you might even create a new industry from the tip of your stylus.

Not everyone is going to solve problems.

Depending on your city, you may currently be on lockdown, or out there practising a version of social distancing while performing everyday tasks, but that has not stopped OTHER digital artists or professionals from creating. Instagram, Behance, Artstation, etc., are all flooded with creative works during this period and there is ample support from the design community, with a lot of free offers (for promotion and reach) online. These artists don’t seem to create to solve a problem, right?

Wrong. Creativity for the sake of it always solves a problem (rather unknowingly). Think about this for a second.

Jarom Vogel for World Health Day

So, if your aim is just to create for the sake of it, do it. Start an #Inktober in May, call it #iMayInk, play around, do what you love, stay happy.

Illustration in the Time of a Pandemic.
Final Fantasy 6 by Dave Rapoza

Architectural explorations by Harrison Yinfaowei

Rachet and Clank fanart by Olaloye Bolaji

10 Tips for Maintaining Creativity During  Pandemic

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Not so smart, wash your hands often, with soap this time.
  3. Follow all local guidelines for hygiene and human relations, including getting a mask for outdoor engagements.
  4. Connect with friends and fans online, share content with them and absorb theirs.
  5. Challenge your mind to upgrade your current skill level.
  6. Reach out to businesses and organisations to help out, and probably get paid well for it, if you feel idle.
  7. Exercise and look for alternate methods to explore.
  8. Learn a new competitor tool and post your progress online as you begin to get the hang of it.
  9. Spend time with family. New ideas often come from family.
  10. Tend to your mental health.

Honestly, this is a list of 8 tips, with tips 2 and 3 added for emphasis; You have to be alive, well and in good physical health to make use of the other tips.

Tip 10, however, comes last — isolated — because it is the next most important after tips 1–3. Your mental health is very important, especially in isolation.

Let’s talk about this. Tell a very DearDesigner some tips that have helped you, so far during this pandemic. We’d survive this together.


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