Illustration comic recovering from illness

I've been working on some real life, actual illustration projects lately (eeeeeeeep!) and haven't found much time to make art for myself (other than some highly questionable stuff in my sketchbook) so I sat down and made this today. It felt good. 

Eli was ill all weekend. It's a strange alternate world, the world of illness. I struggle with its slowness but this weekend I tried to lean into it and ended up feeling very close to Eli, which was lovely. Parenting is hard. So fucking hard at times but it fills your heart to the brim.

This was the moment yesterday when I felt we'd turned a corner and my worry evaporated on the breeze.

A true story where everyone gets maced in the face

Diary comic with mace

I know, I know. Two posts in as many days. I'm really spoiling you. Don't get used to it though, I doubt I can keep this heady pace up for long, especially on the tiny amount of sleep I'm currently getting. 

I made this comic as a gift for Moya (top left of top left panel) who is practically family and had a big birthday last year. It's taken me MONTHS to finish but the moment finishing things is super important to me. I'm terrible for starting loads of things and not finishing them.  I get carried away in the giddiness of newness but I get bored really quickly. 

However, I've learnt that completion is a REALLY vital discipline, with each piece of work I finish, I learn so much.  What I don't like, what I love, what I'd like to explore more and I can use all that for my next idea. You probably all knew this ages ago...

Anyhoo. Here is this comic. Several months after I started it but finished nonetheless. 

This is a true story about one day during a four week visit to stay with Moya and Paul in the USA when I was 15. We ate our way around Pennsylvania that holiday and this day was no exception, although it was on the more extreme side of average consumption.

Being maced in the face in this fashion, though deeply distressing for a short time, is genuinely one of the funniest things that has happened to me. 

I hope you enjoy. 

The Note

High school comic
High school comic 2.jpg

If you haven’t listened to the Heavyweight podcast you’re missing a treat, it’s a master class in audio storytelling. Each episode Jonathan Goldstein helps a friend to find closure on an issue that has been affecting their life, in an often surprising and always very human way.

The podcast indulges that deepest of human desires to tie up loose ends and get some kind of resolution to the unanswered questions that plague us and hold us back. In actual fact, Goldstein’s subjects rarely get the thing they’re seeking but they always get a different perspective on their particular problem, a viewpoint that allows them to reconcile their past within themselves, to forgive and move on.

In last week’s episode Jonathan helped his friend Julia to exorcise the demons of her high school bullies. As she put it the fear she experienced at that time lingered in her physiology, it was still impacting her decisions and actions and she didn’t want it to wield that power any more.

Listening to Julia work through her experience was moving in ways I didn’t expect and after the episode had finished some of my more painful high school memories came to the surface – so this comic practically wrote itself. I think it will feel familiar to anyone who has ever been a teenager, it’s such a hard time, a time when we’re a slave to our feelings of insecurity. Those insecurities make some of us act in ways that we will later regret very deeply.

I’m no exception. I have been on the receiving end but I have also been on the other side. I’ve made people feel shit, I’ve made people feel excluded and lonely, I’ve been unnecessarily unkind and I can see now that on every single one of those occasions I did it to make myself feel better, or desired, or popular, or safe, or powerful because I was insecure. I felt those people were prettier, or funnier, or cleverer or better at art or more popular than me and so I tried to tread them down.

That is never ok. It’s never ok to victimise others to make yourself feel better or to get yourself where you want to be. (Do you hear me President Trump and Prime Minister May?)

I’ve apologised to some of the people that I went out of my way to hurt but  if I have been unkind to you and I haven’t said sorry then please (as Julia says in the podcast) imagine my slightly overweight and highly insecure teenage self giving you an enormous hug.  

Here’s to a kinder future. 

Brexit Day Two: Article 50

Brexit Day Two

I wanted to get these Brexit comics done quickly to make sure they were current but other things have taken over...

Like preparing for and going on the March for Europe last Saturday. It felt so uplifting to be among like minded people, upwards of 30,000 of them to be precise. I don't think I'm alone in experiencing an erosion of my trust in my fellow countrymen since the referendum. I have been eyeing everyone with suspicion, expecting racist outbursts at every turn. Standing in the crowd on Saturday with lots of my lovely friends I felt that trust returning, a little anyway. It also felt good to physically show the world that not all of us want to leave the EU, that when news outlets say, "Britain has voted to leave" it was not all of Britain. The tourist buses filled with Europeans that passed the march will go home with their photos and their stories and perhaps that message will spread. 

One interesting side effect of this Brexit business has been some unexpected political soul searching on my part. I am SO ignorant. I didn't know about Article 50. I didn't know about EU law. I didn't know about our trade deals with Europe, at least not in terms of what they actually do and how they affect us. I'm not even that up to date on the policies of the Labour party, a party I have voted for since I was able to exercise my right to do so. I am nowhere near as informed as I think I am. This must change if I want to see change. 

I received a perfectly timed email from my Uncle, whose views and opinions I admire, he told me that I need to be less politically idealistic if I want to do real good. His email hit home essentially because he said out loud exactly what I was thinking anyway. I've thought about it and I don't think I necessarily need to be less of an idealist, it's that drives me to vote in the first place, but I do need to do some through research and ground more of my political thinking in fact. That way when I vote, I vote with my head AND my heart. 

I'm going to start with looking at alternatives to austerity. It's crippling this country. It's making life really fucking hard for A LOT of people and that's unacceptable, so if you know any left leaning economists or you are one yourself get in touch. I want to know more.