|"Physical activity is good for your mood; physical activity in green spaces is even better, according to a steadily increasing body of robust, scientific research. Catherine Jackson talks to leading researchers and practitioners about ‘green exercise’ and learns that it isn’t just any physical activity anywhere. Housework makes women more depressed; low level physical activity can make no difference at all; walk-and-talk meetings in the outdoors can produce a surge of creative thinking and productivity; troubled youth learn self-regulation in wild spaces, and people with dementia blossom when they are let out to play in the park" |
|"Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is now well established as an effective way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Robin Logie reviews the evidence for this approach, and explains how bilateral stimulation of the right and left sides of the brain enables traumatic experiences to be ‘metabolised’, learned from and stored safely away for reference. However, increasingly, practitioners are successfully using these same techniques with a range of other mental health conditions that are trauma-related, from depression to obsessive compulsive disorder, and in pain management" |
Kyle Smart describes what inspired his illustrations for the July issue of Therapy Today
Behind the pictures
Do you consider yourself to have a trademark style? If so, how would you describe it?
It’s a combination of traditionally drawn and painted work, with a more contemporary spin on the ideas and colour palette. I’m very keen to make sure each image has a strong graphic statement and doesn’t get too bogged down in details.
How would you describe the creative process you go through when you receive a brief? Does it vary?
With editorial work, the first thing I do is print and read any copy that’s available. Once I’ve gotten some ideas, I do a few rough sketches and it’s at this stage that things might get sent to and fro until everyone’s happy.
Once a rough sketch is given the go ahead, I invest most of my time in the drawing. I then reprint the drawing two or three times and paint the whole image in two or three separate layers. This allows me to have more control over the colours. Finally, if the image needs it, I might embellish things with a bit more texture and tidy it up, digitally.
Generally speaking, how do you come up with your ideas? What inspires you?
I like to make visual notes in the margins of the copy as I go along. By the time I’ve got to the end, it’s a question of distilling what is really being said. It’s then a matter of playing with ideas in my sketchbook until things start to click.
Lately I’ve been really inspired by the 60s lifestyle magazine Illustration. There’s a really fine balance of spontaneous marks and great composition.
While working on your Therapy Today illustrations, did the ideas develop gradually, or did you know from the outset the direction you were going in?
Sometimes something just clicks. For Rosemary Cowan’s article on couples and training to be therapists, the core idea came straight away and then it only took a little bit of tweaking to get right. For the most part though, it’s a gradual process of refining, combining and editing. The news feature on exercise came about in the more gradual way. First as a combination of ideas that had a slightly different emphasis, and then something that more closely reflected the cover, colour-wise, and finally something that is a bit more diverse and inclusive.
What was your brief for your Therapy Today illustrations?
I was given four articles to illustrate, including the cover. It was really great to be given the chance to contribute so much in just one issue.
In addition to your brief, can you describe what informed/influenced/inspired your Therapy Today illustrations?
Although my background and education is not in therapy, the issues themselves are all very human, so I felt I could relate on that level. A lot of the ideas came from the relationships between the characters and the message. It’s important the body language is spot on. This comes from drawing a lot out in public and people-watching; hopefully I can get some of the idiosyncrasies down and translate them into an illustration.
Did illustrating these particular subjects throw up any challenges? If so, what were they?
Originally Jeannie Wright’s piece on transcultural counselling was going to be illustrated. The core issue was inherently hard to get around in a visual sense without coming across as crass and culturally insensitive. The illustration was then changed to Rosemary Cowan’s piece on training to be therapists and how this affects couples’ relationships.
Can you describe in a nutshell what you were trying to convey with each image?
The news feature illustration on exercise is about presenting the ‘green gym’ as a summary of the ideas in the article. Everyone is working together, happy and getting exercise in the outdoors.
The accompanying cover illustration is a straightforward idea. A sun is rising behind the Olympic athlete’s head symbolising mental wellbeing, while giving the image a bold iconic focus as a play on some old Olympic posters.
The illustration for the article by Rosemary Cowan focused on the therapist’s changed perception of their relationship. So I had a couple on a park bench sit above an unhappy reflection of themselves.
The illustration for the Dilemmas piece was a matter of presenting the situation in the best way for other people’s ideas to bounce off. I had a receptionist daydreaming of becoming a therapist.
How do you feel about your finished work? What do you like most about your images? Do you have a favourite image?
I’m always pleasantly surprised by how they look actually. The way I work to keep control of the colours often means it only comes together in the last few moments. The illustration for the news feature on exercise is my favourite. I’m glad I managed to keep the colour palette simple and consistent with the accompanying cover illustration, while coming to an idea that I think works.
Apart from Therapy Today, where else might we see your work?
You can find a portfolio of my work at www.kylesmart.co.uk. I also have a blog with more work on it at www.kylesmart.tumblr.com.
Kyle Smart lives and works in Bristol where he has just finished a fellowship at the University of the West of England, helping to teach the illustration programme. He now shares a studio in the creative quarter of Bristol, Stokes Croft, with five other graduates. He has worked for BoneShaker Magazine, The Skinny Magazine and Zero Core Magazine. When not doing his commissioned work he exhibits personal work around Bristol at various venues. email: firstname.lastname@example.org