Draw Your Loneliness

Undergraduate Graphic Design Thesis Project, 2020-21

Draw Your Loneliness is my year-long undergraduate graphic design thesis project, done in isolation due to COVID-19. It is a website that sets out to help its visitors face this terrifying feeling; to find peace and happiness in times of aloneness and loneliness. Using digital drawing and self-expression, we can make peace with these difficult feelings by making them visible, examinable, and less ominous. Draw Your Loneliness offers a way to connect with others who might have similar experiences as us by sharing our art and knowing that, in a way, we are not alone in our loneliness.

I invite you to experience the website and face these feelings, view all the artworks that people have submitted, or submit one of your own! Submissions are always welcome and appreciated. (Note that this is best viewed on a desktop)

Being alone and feeling lonely is like being in a dense fog where it is hard to see past ourselves and reach out to others. As daunting as it might seem, loneliness is not such a terrifying feeling if we face it head on.

Project Motivation

This project was conceptualized due to my own overwhelming feelings of isolation while studying during the pandemic. In Fall 2020, I was able to express my experiences visually through smaller projects, which allowed me to better understand my relationship with aloneness and helped me realized that I had made peace loneliness. In doing so, I realized that visual expression and communication with my peers is a strong method of finding peace and happiness in these times.

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Draw Your Loneliness Drawing Page
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Draw Your Loneliness Gallery Page
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Draw Your Loneliness About Page

Project Goals

The project relates to the topic of finding peace in times of aloneness and loneliness as it attempts to help visitors by making them reflect and visualize these feelings. Using a drawing tool built on P5.js, visitors can express their thoughts thanks to prompts that are given by the tool

The goal is to help visitors realize that being alone and lonely is not such a terrifying feeling if they face it head on. And having a dedicated gallery to show off other people’s drawings ensures that visitors know that they are not alone in their aloneness and loneliness.

Year-Long Process

The following section is the process of work that culminated in Draw Your Loneliness. This is a product of love and a school-years' worth of work done in isolation. Working remotely directly informs why I chose the topic of loneliness as it is truly relevant to our time and it is something I was personally affected by.

Fall Semester 2020

At the beginning of September 2020, I was able to express my pandemic experiences visually through smaller projects, which allowed me to better understand my relationship with being alone. This helped me realize that I had made peace with loneliness thanks to art and self-expression. Doing so allowed me to formulate my topic, which is to help people find peace in times of aloneness and loneliness.

Throughout this semester, I conducted research on what loneliness means, how it happens, what it does to people, and what we can do to combat it. Alongside this is figuring out a way to execute my ideas that will help people feel less alone in their loneliness. Through plenty of ideation (as seen on the right), I was able to land on the idea of creating a website that featured a drawing tool and a gallery where people to share their drawings of self-expression.

Thanks to my peers, I discovered a related project called the Contemplative Drawing Machine, which helps people alleviate boredom, creative blocks, need for self-expression, etc. through digital drawing. Discovering this helped me realize I already had the knowledge to build a similar platform for drawing using code.

Using P5.js, a JavaScript language for creative coding, I was able to create a prototype to draw using a set of drawing tools from randomized drawing prompts. Much of the term was dedicated to making sure the code works, and for it to be intuitive and engaging. Alongside this, I worked on creating a prototype website on Adobe XD before coding it, which I have reserved for the following semester.

The image on the left are screenshots of some major milestones for coding the drawing tool on P5.js. It was challenging to make sure all the various aspects of the code work well together, such as randomizing the prompt, changing the shape based on what was randomly provided, changing the size as the mouse moves, and making the colour slider work.

Winter Semester 2022

At the beginning of 2022, I worked on transforming the Adobe XD prototype into a fully functioning website. At the time, the priority was to simplify the website, and make the experience intuitive, enjoyable, and memorable through code.

For example, I reworked the gallery so visitors can interact with the drawings by dragging through them as if they were sifting through the fog of loneliness to find beacons that share their own feelings. The same goes for the ‘about page’ where visitors can read what Draw Your Loneliness is about as they light up the void with colour.

By March 2022, I had finalized much of the drawing tool built on ‘P5.js,’ the interactive gallery, and the about pages. Thanks to the feedback of my peers and instructor, I continued to refine the website’s functionality, visual aesthetic, and experience. Around this time, I also began user testing and gathering submissions from my peers to populate the gallery with drawings. Below are some of the submissions!

The rest of the term had been dedicated to building up for GradEx 106, OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) University’s annual graduate exhibition which Draw Your Loneliness will be highlighted in. Preparation for this includes creating a storyboard for the trailer (seen on the right), the trailer itself, presentation / promotional materials, and further refinement of the website.

Some of the Submitted Works

Related Works

Here are some projects and art pieces that are related to the topic of loneliness or the website itself. They have informed / inspired Draw Your Loneliness in some degree throughout the whole year.

Annotated Bibliography