Creation of Utter Sadness

Are you familiar with emotional struggles?

I love process of creating an emotional portrait. Especially trying to find the perfect balance to express the feeling I am looking in to.
For me, there is a greater purpose to portray these emotional states.
When I started the embrace project, I was in a lot of emotional pain. Unfortunately it is more socially acceptable to mask these emotions or push them away. I felt the need to embrace them. And choose to embrace them publically.
So I decided to make a portrait of all these painful feelings. It gave me direction and ownership.
It has become a quest for individuality and insight.
It makes me vulnerable and human. above all, it makes me whole.

This is the result of my work on the emotional state: “utter sadness”.
In this article I will share with you how this work came about.

While working on the “Embrace Project” I playfully challenge myself to embrace a certain emotional state. In this particular case, I was looking for a visual way to embrace utter sadness.

Nurture your sadness

A couple of months ago I felt the urge to seriously investigate how I would like to relate to my inner sadness. I challenged myself to find a way to nurture this inner child in need.
Provide safety and give love and care.
From there I got the title “Embrace your Utter Sadness”.

How do I relate to sadness?

I start out asking questions:
How do I relate to this sadness?
And how do I want to relate to this sadness? The answer appears automatically during the drawing process.

Shaping the relation

How do these bodies relate to each other? How can I visually guarantee the safety this body in pain needs?

Secure and Spacious

I decided this utter sadness should have a place near my heart.
There must be a safe place, secured and quiet.
This little sadness needs space to breathe and let go.

Than the thoughts rises to carry the sadness almost inside my heart. To give space in my chest, safely behind the ribs.
Security and space are prominent concepts when it comes to allowing this kind of sadness.


I aim to get the expression, the feeling just right. For me, this is the hard part. It is a process of trial and error. Finding the right amount of shadow and depth. The color that fits this feeling.

moreover, it is a highly intuitive process and can sometimes be frustrating if the expression doesn’t match what I am aiming for.

Completion proces

In this last part of the process I will prepare the image for print.
I use procreate for most of the drawing process.
Now I am going to open this painting in my trusted photoshop.
And do some technical checks to see if the image is pleasant in composition and lighting.

Then there is the moment of letting go.
I find it difficult to decide that the work is finished
I cannot and will not adjust it anymore. I am willing to share this painting.
Sign the work and it is ready to show to the world.

I enjoyed sharing my working method and thinking process with you. Sincerely hope you enjoyed reading it.

So how do you choose to relate to your sadness?
let me know on my instagram feed.