Sketches And Development + FINALIZED pieces – the final product!

Good day, all.

This post will be an ever-expanding one throughout this project as I will be updating it with new sketches as time goes on. I at the moment have more ideas than I do sketches, so I will be putting everything I have down here and writing out quick descriptions for the illustrations and the ideas behind them.

“Misfit Or Mistreated”

This sketch was made for the sole purpose of getting myself on track. As I have mentioned before in my personal blog, it was rather difficult for me to get down to work straight away for some reason. I spent a while figuring out how I wanted to go about it and this experimental sketch was a good way to ease into it. I was able to highlight the issues I want to shine a light on and gave myself the mission to find out whether David McCallion was a “Misfit or Mistreated”. (We all know the answer but still, it’s a good thing to have something to go off of, plus the duality of it poses as a door to many possibilities)

“Gender WNorms”

Another rather experimental sketch with an uncertain concept that made sense at the time and will make sense if I spend more time developing it. The idea I had when making it was the deathliness of Gender Norms. (Made the title out to be a playful pun based on how the two words rhyme and the first letters looking fairly similar when capitalized) The colours in play are reflective of the traditional perception of femininity and masculinity, pink representing the former and blue representing the latter. This is a rather rough sketch that I would like to return to later on, perhaps make a digital, more refined rendition of it like I did with the next sketch.


I am especially fond of how this piece came out as it draws a few inspirations from different sources. For instance, the figure’s in the doorway design is based on the original poster for the horror classic – “The Thing”

“The Thing”

By referencing this spacey horror, I wanted to highlight the “alien” aspect of the story. In the illustration that I have made, I have referenced the “Pink world” which is brought up by David in the article as well as the part where he quoted one of the members saying that “the women in the group would not be as comfortable opening up with him in it”, hence the fear, shut mouth and hiding under the sheets. Another visual cue I’ve made in the piece is the bedroom, which is normally a space of comfort for many, having that space be “invaded” by a unfamiliar thing/being is discomforting and horrifying. In this scenario, the bedroom represents the support group, which is essentially a safe/comfort space for patients (which are most commonly women) to be and thrive in, having that space be infiltrated by someone who is the opposite gender may be discomforting to some.

A part of me understands how it would be unfair of me to invalidate these personal feelings and say that it was unjustifiable on the behalf of the women that opposed to the idea of David joining their support group. I fully understand how some of them may have had negative experiences with men and are simply scared of being subjected to abuse or danger. But to another part of me it just doesn’t seem like the kind of situation that someone would take advantage of to cause harm upon others. David quite clearly was suffering from the illness and was just seeking mental support among his “destiny siblings”. I think the refusal was an expected initial reaction, but it should have been out overruled after a discussion within the group. This is someone who is going through the same thing as you are, what difference does genitalia make?

The next couple of sketches I have planned will touch upon the mistreatment of David by men as well as more sketches about his exclusion from support groups due to gender differences. I want to make my stance fair and split the blame equally, but because the article focuses more on the support group exile aspect (since it is the only part of it mentioned in the title) I have to focus more on that. The final piece will most likely be more title-orientated, but through development I want to show my true stance on the situation – both parties mistreated David and made him feel like a misfit, an alien, they caused irreversible mental damage. I am truly astounded by the fact that David got through it, it must’ve taken so much strength to be able to do that. He deserved better. He lived, told his story and is making a difference. I am so happy I chose this article.

A quick illustration I made to reference a snippet from the article: “He said: “When I tell other blokes about my diagnosis, half say, ‘Men don’t get breast cancer,’ and I lift up my shirt and say, ‘Yes they do.’” I digitally applied a blue tint on the other version of the sketch because I don’t have access to anything that would allow me to do that traditionally without ruining it. (I think watercolour would’ve worked but because I don’t have any at this point in time, I had to settle for a digital application. This piece is rather direct and there isn’t really much that I can say about it, the only note worth making is that this piece works as a commentary on “gender assigned illness biases”, with many people believing that only women can develop breast cancer, thus making it a “pink” illness, when really, men also have a risk of developing it.

Sketch of “The Blue in the Pink World and the Pink in the Blue World”
Variants of “I Still Am”

POST UPDATE (07/01/2021)decided to fuse the two posts with ideas into a single one as they cover the same thing. Once Winter break started, I realized that I had hit a wall with my direction. Decided to fully restart my concept and recreate the zine from its foundations. This time, putting much more thought into the illustrations I was creating, rather than creating something that would barely scratch the surface.

  • The idea of alienation/isolation. I have looked into this concept more than any other, I have made a few sketches for it already but I believe (and was told) that it can be pushed further. Perhaps working on a piece that would tackle this aspect in a less obvious way. An idea I’ve had since the beginning of the development was to create an image that would somehow encapsulate this aspect. After making a wire frame for the zine, I figured it would work best in the informational double-page spread which would coved the statistics of breast cancer as well as how many cases are those of men. Since statistically only 1% of those who develop breast cancer are men, I think making an image that would feature a 100 people and only one of them being blue (representing the “blue” kind) while the rest are pink (representing the “pink” kind) would be a good way to showcase the overwhelming number difference between men and women. Not only that, the blue would really pop in a sea of pink, drawing the eye of the viewer to them instantly, making them seem like the odd one out. (A sort of Where’s Waldo, but awfully obvious) UPDATE (27/12/2020) – I have decided to make it less spoon-feedy and making it more interpretational. Here’s a sketch that I thought would work well as a double-page spread at the very beginning of the zine:
The idea behind “Overwhelmed” is providing data in a way that would be more creative rather than super direct. With this image, I will be attempting to capture the fact that less than one percent of the people that develop breast cancer annually are men. I calculated how much of the page would I have to colour in blue in order to accurately portray that. The title of the piece would also work as a double entendre (something I’m planning to use a lot of in this zine) as it is physically overwhelming to be fighting the massive waves in the open ocean (literal interpretation of the piece) and it is overwhelming being the 1% of the annual patients of such an illness (different interpretation catering towards the context of the article/subject matter) SKETCH
Final line art of “Overwhelmed”
Finalized “Overwhelmed”

Based on this sketch I decided it would be smart to go with a cover that would work well with the first page spread, thus “Wiped out” was born:

A rather directionless doodle of crashing waves was what led me to the concept of the zine cover. Will have to revise the composition and add colour and such, but I thought of playing with the genderism aspect of the story by showcasing a male body but in the pose of Venus, which was basically the goddess of all “feminine” traits, hinting at the topic of the zine and the major role that gender norms played in David’s situation. The title is a sort of double entendre that hints at how overwhelming it is mentally while being a blue breast cancer patient, having to deal with cancer as a whole and how it feels like a big wave wiping you out as well as the fact he was wiped out of any conversations he would try to join. SKETCH
Prototype of back and front covers
Final Line art of the cover art – “Wiped Out”. I refined some aspects of it such as the waves, the text, the shell as well as some other. This is more true to its original inspiration – Birth of Venus.
Final line art for “Wiped Out”
Finalized “Wiped Out”
  • I wish to make the zine informative as well. While it will be talking about a specific case, throwing in some general information about the illness and those affected would be a good way to flesh out the publication. There is a stigma when it comes to male breast cancer and breast cancer as a whole is always labeled as a “pink” illness, even the awareness ribbon is pink, recently though, a new version of the ribbon was created that would associate with/cater to the male population that may be suffering from the illness. The only difference that is made to the ribbon is the fact that half of it is now blue. In my opinion, that is rather pointless and it just further pushes the conflicting blue and pink agenda, rather than neutralizing it and making it so that it would apply to everyone. Genderism is something I want to touch upon in my zine as well as it is an aspect that has played a major role in the story. I have extracted unique 2 shades of colours, one of them being pink, the other being blue. The unique thing about them is the fact that in grayscale they look almost if not completely identical. With that I want to make the point of neutralizing the gender aspect when it comes to the illness. One of the ideas that I had that could go well with this is the common belief that only women can develop breast cancer due to the fact they are the “gender” that has what traditionally is considered as “breasts”, even though that’s not where the problem lays – but rather, it lays in the breast tissue, which, both women AND men have.

I think making a sort of net/web using these tissues would make for a good representation as it would hint at the saying “web of lies”. but in this case, it would be a “web of misconceptions”.

Sketch of “Washed up”
Prototype of “Washed up”
Final line art of “Washed up”, not much has changed, just a cleaner version of what I had previously.
Finalized “Washed up”
Sketch of “Tangled in a net of misconceptions”
Prototype of “Tangled in a Net of Misconceptions”
  • Effects on mental health due to being rebuffed. With this I would like to capture the rejection aspect of the story, I feel the best way to do that would be through a comic. Again, there would a play on the pink/blue side of things and would feature David as the main character and it would showcase his journey of finding out he has breast cancer and how he was rejected for being “different”. I will mainly focus on harsh visuals so as not to dismiss or essentially sugar-coat David’s experience. I want to capture the masculinity check that he got from his male friends, the discrimination and dismission from his female friends/destiny sisters.
Final line art of “Tangled in a Net of Misconceptions” – this will be used as the final version of the zine. I decided the letters in the water were really irritating to look at and didn’t really give much to the composition, therefore I decided to go with this revamp.
Inked “Tangled in Net of Misconceptions”
Finalized “Tangled in a Net of Misconceptions”
Sketch of “A Call for Help”
Final line art of “A Call for Help”
Finalized “A Call for Help”
  • 2 double spreads to capture the over-exaggerated view on David, one on the account of men and the other of women. This is where I would like to take a more surrealistic/horror-themed approach that was otherwise deemed as being a bit inappropriate if placed in the beginning before the story and my personal stance on it could be introduced. I would have to revise the A•L•I•E•N sketch that I have created and published in another post on the blog as well as create a male counterpart to it so as not to come across as though I am putting the entire blame on one gender or the other. Essentially encapsulating my view on it by ridiculing both sides for how they treated David. (REDACTED)
  • Using some previous sketches of capturing David’s mental state during this period in time, putting him under the lenses of the blue/pink 3D glasses, highlighting the two dimensional view that some people had on him and how he was affected by it. I had an idea of creating an illustration using decoder glasses but I think that would be a bit too much for such a limited time period. (REDACTED)

It would make for an interesting illustration route. However, due to covid and us not being able to present these physically, it would be close to impossible for the evaluation team to be able to use this “technology”. Perhaps revisiting this project or doing something similar in the future would be key to higher potential/more possibilities. (REDACTED)

POST UPDATE (12/01/2021) I have returned with a lot more digging and figuring out what I want to do moving forward with this project, I have figured out every spread and the storyline/narrative that I want to push. Additionally, I was able to get in contact with David McCallion himself to ask him about his experience as well getting more input on the entire situation. I will not be going into detail about what he has told me in this post, but rather in my final statement along with the fully completed zine.

Here are some of the spreads that I created additionally since my last post update, which was on the 7th of January of this year (2021)

Sketch of “Pushed Over the Edge” – “TEXT” will be exchanged for quotes that David was subjected to from other people. The idea is that he was rendered helpless among people that questioned his illness’s authenticity and generally been ignorant and rather sexist. This is meant to capture the hardest period of fighting with the illness, not only is he being essentially swallowed up by his fear and bad thoughts, other people questioning his illness is pushing him to a breaking point.
Final line art of “Pushed Over the Edge” – not much has changed, only now it is more refined and thought-through.
Inked “Pushed Over the Edge”
Finalized “Pushed Over the Edge”

I decided to exchange the quotes for single words that make up the statement “Men do not actually get breast cancer” as I felt like that was really the best way to go about it. Quotes would’ve overfilled the composition and taken away from the visual appeal. I also wanted to symbolize the “turning point” of David’s case in a way that would have the reader turning the zine upside down to read the words. (Most people would not have to do so but the brain can still sometimes not be able to fight off the urge to turn the zine around. For a moment, I had the idea of making the spreads that follow upside down to symbolize how it really turned David’s world upside down. This idea has since been redacted as I felt it wouldn’t look good with the spreads that follow in the sense of it not being initially planned out as that, therefore not really fitting the concept besides being flipped upside down.

Final line art of “Yes, they DO”. I will not be including a sketch I went with for this double page spread as it was mere scribbles that are very, VERY insignificant. The concept of this spread is David fighting back against all that is being said to him, he is now validating and embracing his illness.
Inked “Yes, They DO”
Finalized “Yes, They DO”
Sketch of “I am not a man living in a “Pink World”” – the concept behind this is that David is now speaking up on the issue of people disregarding his illness due to the nature of it and its demographical imbalance. He’s removing the symbolical pink ribbon from himself and smudging off the pink off of his right breast.
Final line art for “I am Not a Man Living in a “Pink World”” – there are some minor changes to it, such as suctional strips stuck to his body, insinuating the difficulty of this process and how hard it is to get rid of stigma and gender norms that are assigned at birth. The waves in the background signify the culmination of the act.
Inked “I am Not a Man Living in a “Pink World””
Finalized “I am Not a Man Living in a “Pink World””
“I’m Not a Woman Living in a “Blue Shell”” – pretty much the same concept, but this time, getting rid of the male aspects of the situation. He is wiping off the blue from his body.
The final line art for it is not much different, the only thing I added was the waves in the back ground. They are slightly more tame than those in the previous spread, signifying the simmering of the storm.
Inked “I’m Not a Woman Living in a “Blue Shell””
Finalized “I’m Not a Woman Living in a “Blue Shell””

The spreads that will follow:

• the following spread is just words written across the two pages reading “Above all else I am a PERSON” with very tame waves in the background.

Finalized “Above All I am a PERSON”

• the one after that will include the manifesto of the zine which will include David’s personal statement on the matter. It will be written down on an old paper sheet and nearby there will be a glass bottle which the written sheet will later be put in. and next to it I will make a small comic bit of David McCallion putting it in the water for it to be shipped to an other shore.

Finalized “MAN-i-FESTO”

• the pre-last one will include imagery of the ocean much like the second spread “Overwhelmed”, just this time, it’s colourless and the waves are calm, the storm has ended, David has sent out his message for someone to discover.

Finalized “After The Storm”

• the last page (back cover) will have the bottle reaching a shore with a speech bubble reading out: “Oh, what’s this?” while a hand reaches out to retrieve it from the water. Coming full circle and having a nice ending which would relieve the viewer.

Finalized “Message Received”

And with that, the journey of developing and creating the zine has come to an end. This was quite the tedious task but boy was it exciting to put those final strokes of coloured pencil on that final page. I did my absolute best, I hope the effort and hard work pay off. Thank you for tagging along with in this project, I am excited to return with a new one.


2 thoughts on “Sketches And Development + FINALIZED pieces

  1. Pingback: Final Work + Thesis – Robertas Tijusas

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