Illustrating Sadness

A few years ago I picked up this book off the bookshelf, Wintergirls it was called. I heard of the author, Laurie Halse Anderson. She wrote a book called Speak (which had not resonated with me yet until I re-read it later after growing up a bit). Both books are about girls suffering from very serious afflictions cause by the stresses of school, home, and just being a girl.
When I was at my worst I picked up Wintergirls again in attempts to soothe my sad and tired mind. I was sad and frustrated and angry and confused and everything Anderson wrote in that book. I understood then (even though I wasn’t suffering from bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa) that I was not alone. This fictional girl screamed the cries of millions of other people that understood my plight and have experienced the confusing whirlwind of emotions that I felt in my “Dark Ages.”

cover screenshot


Which is why I decided to bookmark sections of the book that really spoke to me.
Laurie Halse Anderson uses very illustrative details very specifically through out the novel that enhances the readers understanding of the afflicted mind: the way that a disorder can affect ones thinking, their thought process, even what they see and how they react to things.

I’ve booked marked some of those parts and am currently drafting storyboards for those sections that I’m going to turn into a comic. Some scenes are so visual and emotional that this process is taking more time and emotional energy than I expected. This project is really making me face my fears, artistically and emotionally.

screenshot of storyboard


It’s much easier to detach yourself from reading a book than it is to detach yourself from your creative interpretation of a book while creating that interpretation. The book itself was already a very emotion experience for me, now I’m forcing myself to wedge between the troubled cries and find the best way to tell this story through a pen and tablet that will beautifully express the story the way Anderson originally intended. Which might entail a lot of artistic practice on my end to I can fully illustrate the passages and have their distinct message known.
For all I know, this might just be an artistic practice, seeing my full capabilities and limitations as an artist, or it may morph into something else entirely. Who knows? I don’t and that’s okay.

When/if I finish I will not publish it here or anywhere else until I’ve received her permission because she worked really hard to create that book, which I really respect, and I don’t want to infringe on copyright laws.

Good bye and embrace the unknown!


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