The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby | Skillshare Projects



The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

This book, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, is probably one of the most amazing autobiographies I have had the honor of reading; one of the most significant reasons being that it was "written" by the blink of one man's left eye.

Jean-Dominique Bauby led an incredible life as Editor-in-Chief of France's ELLE magazine. That reality came crashing down on December 5, 1995, where at the age of 43, Bauby suffered a massive cerebral hemmorage.  Twenty days later, he awoke to find himself completely paralyzed save the ability to blink his eyes; this type of paralysis is also referred to as "locked-in" syndrome.  Due to irrigation issues, Bauby's right eye was ultimately sewn shut, leaving him with his last method of communication... blinking his left eye.

With the aid of a speech therapist, an interpreter, and a system known as partner-assisted scanning, Bauby dictated his entire memoir by blinking his left eye (indicating which letter he needed).

While trapped in an immobile body, Bauby's mind was free to sail on Mediterranean seas at sunset, travel back in time to revisit ELLE photoshoots, run through waves of hip-high grass, and dance with the Empress Josephine.  The title of the book is a metaphorical introduction to his experience of being "locked-in".

Below is a scan of my ideation list and my first sketches.  The thought keeps recurring to have a light and airy letterform interacting with a heavier one.  I also am interested in presenting the letter as part of the diving bell or being metal and massive combined with delicacy of a butterfly wing.


Update: 10/12/2014

Below is my most recent sketch for the project: while a literal interpretation of the title... I still liked it the best out of all of my sketches thus far.  The "B" letterform" I am using is a condensed Didot uppercase - the letterform used on the cover of ELLE (the magazine Bauby was an editor for).  I thought the butterfly wing looked like a B so I then superimposed the letterform on the wing with backdrop of the diving helmet face mask.


Update: 5/11/15

This is my first digital sketch or rendition of the drop cap. It's pretty simple/basic and while I do enjoy the dual color theme, but I feel it's lifeless. I am not sure where to begin on how to bring this to life. Maybe it's different colors. I appreciate all suggestions and direction.


Here are the latest iterations, I am currently leaning toward 4-6:



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