silent spring in a big yellow taxi – research

Today we had our first character design workshop with Rory. We did some exercises in the morning to ‘loosen up’ and in the afternoon we had to start thinking about a character we want to develop on the subject of 60s counter culture. We’re apparently going to do a film for Royal Albert Hall (exciting!), but we’re still lacking a bit of information on what we need to do with our characters.. Anyway! That’s the theme, and we need to develop a character that represents in some way the 60s counter culture.

I’ll hopefully share some character sketches (along with life drawings) later this week. But right now I’m not feeling ready to commit to a character yet. I spent the day drawing a cartoon version of Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, one of the landmark books of modern environmentalism. Environmentalism is one of the movements that comprised the whole of the 60s counter culture. Let’s just say this is an issue very close to my heart and I’d love to pay homage to a woman that so greatly affected the world with her work. If you want to know more, I find this article really good in depicting her personality and contextualising her work within her personal life.


Carson’s Silent Spring influenced loads of artists, and since we’re talking about 60s counter cultures I’m interested in representing social groups I can relate to. Like females, in case you haven’t noticed! The second wave of feminism developed during the 60s, so I want to focus (or at least touch) on that too…
One of the artists Carson inspired was Joni Mitchell, that wrote Big Yellow Taxi as a direct consequence of Silent Spring.
I do have to say, I am not sure Mitchell counts as counter culture, since she’s a folk singer and so on… But she definitely changed the popular music panorama, being a woman songwriter singing politically charged songs. For me, Joni Mitchell embodies the feminist movement as well as the style of this era.


So this is where I am right now… Torn between doing a homage to Rachel Carson, or developing a more fluid character inspired on Joni Mitchell. I’m hoping that if I draw enough I’ll get closer to an answer. So, let’s see!
I’ve also looked for 60s psychedelic graphic arts, and WOW! The colours and the drawings are so bold and gorgeous! Definitely a great inspiration for a future colour palette, and maybe even graphic treatment!


Images from all over the internet, found by asking google to look for ‘Rachel Carson’, ‘Joni Mitchell’, ‘young Joni Mitchell’ and ’60s psychedelic art’.

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