Drawing Feelings by Ondina Frate, NYU


"Drawing Feelings" is a personal journey of finding my inside and outside worlds through daily drawings of objects that represent my feelings. World Inside represents how we feel in society and World Inside represents how we really feel and what we hide from the world. Objects that influenced my day are drawn on paper every night for 30 days, then traced in Illustrator, and animated on the web in a way that conveys a story. The story begins on Feb 19th and ends on March 20th 2017.

I split the paper in two: the world inside and the world outside. The world inside represents how we feel and act based on what the society's norms are and the inside world represents how we really feel and what we hide from the world. My goal was not just to draw these objects, but also to track and capture my feelings through these drawings. My idea was to explore the power of drawing on paper and share it through the web to be more accessible. Each day I drew my feelings by giving them visual substance. The size of each object represents, on a scale from 1-6, the intensity of that feeling.

While this project is a very personal one, I realized that it could become universal. I invited people to draw their feelings as objects as a way to see how other people see their worlds. I was so surprised to see that so many people shared their inside and outside worlds with me with so much transparency. They drew their feelings as objects on the spot, which felt so incredible to me. People that never drew before wanted to give it a try as well as people that were already good at drawing. Their drawings convey their own story about their feelings.

Any data visualization represents a relationship between the viewer and the information we convey. Since Drawing Feelings uses my personal data, I realized that it reveals a lot about who I am.

1. When I was little I used to draw and paint a lot. Remember what you liked when you were a child and do that again. Maybe that’s the secret of becoming confident about your work.
2. There are always two worlds inside us: what we show to the world and what we don’t show. Make your worlds meet in the middle.
3. Define what’s most important for you in life and eliminate everything else.

Beyond this data visualization, Drawing Feelings represents a connection between my feelings and the audience. It represents an art manifesto of being who you are and sharing that to the world. It represents a bold statement to trust your feelings when in doubt and question your feelings when confident.