Overthinking, While Working Remotely

Thought blurb of a man working on a computer in a house covers a part of a distant office building

Nothing can harm us as much as our own thoughts unguarded — from the teachings of the Buddha. Many of us have a tendency to overthink while alone, get caught in loops of negative thinking and fear the worst — which can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental health. This was specially true during the Covid-19 pandemic, a time of uncertainty, when many professionals found themselves working remotely, away from their offices.

The illustrations featured here are based on the insightful article Why overthinkers struggle with remote work, by Bryan Lufkin (on the BBC website). Having worked alone as a freelance designer for close to two decades, Mayank could relate to the article and chose it for his portfolio project while doing the online certification course Editorial Illustration: Sharpen Your Conceptual Skills on Domestika.

The first illustration (above), titled Dark cloud of overthinking, shows that the remote worker has summoned / created a cloud-like blurb of anxious or negative thoughts (a visual metaphor) — which has gone on to engulf a part of his office building.

Grim faced man working on a computer away from the city, with heavy textures in the sky, lake and the bridge behind him

The fabulous course, taught by Mr. Nicholas Blechman, urged students to explore historical works of art. The second illustration (above), titled Despair, is based on a painting by the late Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch. Here, the overall mood and treatment, including warm and dull colours and bold strokes, are meant to covey the feeling of negative overthinking — which can lead to depression or despair.

Tools and Credits: Both illustrations were created in Affinity Designer. Digital acrylic brushes were used to paint the second illustration, with a Wacom tablet. Silhouettes of office workers in building courtesy Designed by rawpixel.com / Freepik.