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Illustrating Fibromyalgia

Dear purple butterflies,

When you are a visual artist, it’s pertinent to constantly observe the world around you. Over the course of my career, my best pieces have come from life. As a character developer, combining imagination with real life is one of my favorite things to do. I wonder if I were to create a character with Fibromyalgia, what would it look like? In How to Recognize Fibromyalgia Flares, Fibro symptoms include:

· pain throughout the body, particularly in the back or neck

· extreme sensitivity to pain, bright lights, smoke, and certain foods

· stiffness when staying in the same position for long periods

· muscles spasms

· extreme tiredness

· poor quality sleep

· fatigue

· trouble with remembering, learning, paying attention, and concentrating referred to as “fibro fog”

· slow or confused speech

· frequent headaches or migraines

· irritable bowel syndrome

While those characteristics are notable, there’s much more to take into account.

Your characters’ personality, and their traits are extremely important, in part when you’re sketching out ideas. Many Fibro articles don’t mention the compassionate, friendly, and understanding traits purple butterflies can possess. Since my involvement as a Fibro blogger, I’ve connected with several lovely friends. Believing your creation is a real person will be apparent throughout your work. They will also be relatable to the audience. This is your main objective. For instance, the main character in the book I am writing suffers from Fibromyalgia. She strives to feel better every day of her life.

Choosing just the right colors for the character are vital. When we look at color, we

immediately get a response or an emotion. Each person will react differently to the same color. Blues and purples are often the color I visualize when thinking of my characters’ chronic pain. Ironically these colors are considered to be ‘cool colors.’ My mind equates blue, purple, and white with hot. Generally chronic pain levels can vary depending on what a person with Fibromyalgia did that day. In my case, there are times it does not matter if I’ve been active or not. Typically, people think to use the color red for pain. The problem is, red can be overused. Originality is the key! I want to use colors that allow my viewers to rethink their perspective. Quite often I find working on color studies is just as exciting as finishing the illustration.

I have been asked, how is my book coming along? When will it be done?

I am just as anxious to show off my work, as they are to see it. Classic novels, as well as masterpieces, weren’t done overnight! I have learned to never give up, no matter how long the road is. It’s a lesson I have carried with me every day as my battle with Fibro continues. On July 23, I am having my back procedure. I am excited to explore this new chapter in my life.

As always, I pray everyone is staying safe!

Till next week purple butterflies! Be well!

Rachel

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