Social distancing portrayed by Vimal Chandran(Photo: Instagram/vimalchandran)
Social distancing portrayed by Vimal Chandran(Photo: Instagram/vimalchandran)

Art of isolation: Artists worldwide spread love through comics

How comic artists are making the pandemic a little easier with their creations
By Yoshita Rao | Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 05, 2020 03:31 PM IST

American cartoonist Liz Climo’s bear and bunny are seen gambling essential groceries like bread and toilet paper in one of her many heartwarming creations. In another one of her sketches, a reindeer with bags of groceries on every antler helps out birds and animals inside a tree. The post is captioned — “Today, I feel grateful for everyone helping those who need it most right now”. Climo is one of many artists spreading love through their comic creations.

When the world is dealing with the coronavirus crisis, author of Awkward Yeti, Nick Seluk, points out that in these bleak times, people need “a distraction or a positive look at the situation itself”. He adds that in doing so, he “positively energises” himself.

Known for drawing individual body parts, like the brain and the heart, as adorable characters, one of Seluk’s panels is a conversation between the tongue who is urging the brain to keep checking the almost empty fridge for food. And no logical argument by the brain can keep the tongue from doing so. “Many people seem to be uplifted by the simple fact that they can relate to something they didn’t know other people experienced. My fans and I can connect knowing we aren’t alone,” says the American illustrator.

Closer home, Indian illustrator, Vimal Chandran, draws a person visiting his loved one on the roof in a hot air balloon ride. The drawing is a part of his ongoing series based on social distancing. With a fan following of over three lakh people on his various social media accounts, Chandran says he wants to add “surrealism” to the term by interpreting it in his own way.

This self-taught artist illustrates everyday happenings with a touch of magic, like a rickshaw ride through the clouds and twinkly stars. “Art can make life bearable, as it gives a brief moment of relief from reality,” says the Bangalore-based artist.

Cartoon therapy

For Chandran, creating his art is therapeutic. Ask Seluk if he considers comic strips therapeutic as well and he replies, “Absolutely”, admitting that his comic started as his own “personal therapy”. “It helped me work through social awkwardness by making light of everything I considered awkward. Now, it continues to be my way to explore my psyche and grow as a person,” Seluk says, adding that the readers of Awkward Yeti would find “similar therapy” if they’re at a similar place in their life.

And the artists have a message for their fans. Chandran says, “Stay home. This too shall pass.” Seluk adds, “Be kind to yourself, find the good, and embrace the time you have to do things that make you content.”

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