Say hello to Sadness

Say hello to Sadness, because today is publication day of ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’!

Many thanks to the wonderful team at @andersenpress, in particular Libby @libbyhamham and Beccy @bexgarrill for their superb editing – and art directing skills. It’s an understatement when I say that I couldn’t have made this book without them.

I finished this book during my study at the @cambridge_school_of_art @csacbi and developed the blueprint of it with the help of wonderful tutors (and classmates!). Only a few of them are here on Instagram but thank you for some amazing and insightful tutorials @pamsmyillustrator @kmanolessou @davidhughesinc and friends and classmates for all the support, cakes interesting conversations.

And last but not least, thanks to my family (@welcometotheprocess @aldo_eland) and @mauri.mendes for continuing support. And Mauri in particular for making sure I’m always fed, hugged and cheered on along the way!

This is an illustration from the book. I am still surprised sometimes at how much lighter the feeling of sadness becomes, when I simply accept its presence and stop resisting it, one way or the other. This is one of the experiences I’d like to share with the reader (be it a child or an adult). Maybe sadness isn’t all that scary and overwhelming when we can face it directly, with kindness and curiosity.

How do you usually cope with feelings of sadness? Can you ‘sit’ with it sometimes and just let it be? I have to confess that it’s one of the lessons I’m still learning myself.

Read the original post on Instagram for more images.

The importance of self-care

See the original post on Instagram.

This year I skipped writing a long list of resolutions. Instead, I wrote down some of the things I accomplished and enjoyed in 2018. It’s so easy to forget how beautiful and special life can be when we are continually focusing on what needs to be done to move forward and trying to meet whatever expectations we have set for ourselves.

These are details from the endpapers in the back of ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’. They seem to sum up perfectly the sentiment I’m feeling lately. As I’m thinking about sadness and wellbeing quite often lately, it came to my attention just how important self-care is in this regard. Especially in those moments where you need it most, it might be difficult to be kind towards yourself.
For me having enough sleep seems to be the beginning, after which all else becomes easier… like being able to enjoy the good things in life, and not feeling stuck in a permanent state of feeling overwhelmed by everything.
What are the things you do to take care of yourself and recharge?

Who are you?

See the original post on Instagram.

Hello old and new followers. Who are you? How did you find me? Do we know each other? I’d love to know, if you have a minute, drop me a line below… ⠀

I’m trying to make/keep social media an interesting and meaningful place for myself and those that follow me. If there is anything you’d like me to post about, let me know…⠀

This is a drawing from a project called Creativity & me. I finished it early 2018 for my degree show at the Children’s Book Illustration course at the Cambridge School of Art. It’s about the joys and perils of the creative process. It’s one of those projects that is difficult to place, as it isn’t really a children’s book, so I put it away for the time being…⠀

Endpapers

See the original Instagram for all sketches.

These are details from the endpapers from ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’. Some of the people are based on observational drawings of strangers, others are drawn from imagination.
I felt strangely relieved to have the sad people from the front endpapers do happy things on the back endpapers, as I didn’t like the idea of sad people being stuck in the book. Swipe to see some of those original sketches as well.
I wanted to include different kinds of sadness and also adults, to show children how anyone might be feeling sad, occasionally. Also grownups.
I also played with the idea of giving each person a sadness character of their own – to emphasise how it’s a personal feeling and how we all deal with it in different ways – but eventually, I decided against it and only used the one sadness shape I had developed.
By this point I was also running out of steam I think and didn’t feel like channelling even more sadness, as I felt plenty of sadness in and around me already.

If your sadness was a character, how would it look? And what would it be doing? I will tell you, it’s very therapeutic to have a sadness character of your own, as you can let it do some nice things and even get it to smile occasionally 🙂 If you or your children decide to draw your own sadness, could you share it with me or use #drawyourownsadness if you decide to post it?

‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on 3d January).

In search of good storytelling

Thank you for joining me in my quest to find out what good storytelling is. I will share a little about the workshop I did with the Children’s Forum at @discover_story next, but first I want to share all the inspiring answers from you and the children here. Swipe to read them all. P.S. I’m well aware that this question makes a lot more sense when you define the audience first or what kind of story you want to tell... but perhaps their are still some universal ‘rules’ of good storytelling? #storybuilder #storytelling #storytellinggame #evaeland #storymountain

See original post on Instagram, with all the answers from everyone.

Thank you for joining me in my quest to find out what good storytelling is. I will share a little about the workshop I did with the Children’s Forum at @discover_story next, but first I want to share all the inspiring answers from you and the children here. Swipe to read them all.
P.S. I’m well aware that this question makes a lot more sense when you define the audience first or what kind of story you want to tell… but perhaps there are still some universal ‘rules’ of good storytelling?

Difficult emotions

Continuation of previous posts: I realised that to be able to make something consoling and comforting, I needed to understand the ‘difficult emotions’ first, and soon found myself stuck, with Sadness. And Anger and Fear. Just to give myself a little bit of a break, I drew Happiness too. It was such a relief! ⠀⠀This is a sketch from 2016, one those early explorations of ‘difficult emotions’. It accurately describes the feeling I have of late, of feeling enthusiastic about finally getting this book out in the world - and simultaneously being held back by fear and feeling like hiding instead. ⠀⠀Do you experience the same, that the more important something feels to you, the scarier it often feels to commit to it? And for those that published book already, do you remember how it felt to have your first book coming out? Did you find it scary as well, and how did you deal with that?⠀⠀‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on January 3d). Pre-order link in bio.⠀⠀⠀#whensadnesscomestocall

Read the original post on Instagram.

I realised that to be able to make something consoling and comforting, I needed to understand the ‘difficult emotions’ first, and soon found myself stuck, with Sadness. And Anger and Fear. Just to give myself a little bit of a break, I drew Happiness too. It was such a relief! ⠀

This is a sketch from 2016, one those early explorations of ‘difficult emotions’. It accurately describes the feeling I have of late, of feeling enthusiastic about finally getting this book out in the world – and simultaneously being held back by fear and feeling like hiding instead. ⠀

Do you experience the same, that the more important something feels to you, the scarier it often feels to commit to it?

Paradox

This drawing I made in 2014. If only we could organise and label all our desires, thoughts and feelings this neatly. Perhaps I’ll manage one day, one book at a time ⠀⠀When I wrote the proposal during my studies for the initial concept, to make a project that would address difficult emotions and also could comfort and console the reader, I foresaw many problems and pointed out the paradox of wanting to both completely allow for the difficult feelings to be, as to offer solutions and ‘contain’ them somehow. A paradox I sometimes still struggle with. How can you both accept and embrace who you are and try to improve yourself at the same time?⠀Any thoughts on this?⠀‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on January 3d). Pre-order link in bio. ⠀⠀#whensadnesscomestocall

Read the original post on Instagram.

This drawing I made in 2014. If only we could organise and label all our desires, thoughts and feelings this neatly. Perhaps I’ll manage one day, one book at a time 😉⠀

When I wrote the proposal during my studies for the initial concept, to make a project that would address difficult emotions and also could comfort and console the reader, I foresaw many problems and pointed out the paradox of wanting to both completely allow for the difficult feelings to be, as to offer solutions and ‘contain’ them somehow. A paradox I sometimes still struggle with. How can you both accept and embrace who you are and try to improve yourself at the same time?⠀
Any thoughts on this?

Cat drawings

Feeling inspired by all these cat drawings made this morning at a drop-in workshop I was running in collaboration with @camfilmfest and @kettlesyard at the @campicturehouse. So much creativity, freedom and dedication and exceptional drawn and collaged cats. The documentary Kedi was sold out but the film festival still runs for a few days, and there is always the possibility to go to Kettles Yard and visit te collection. Check my stories for more great cat art. #catdrawings #catdrawingsofinstagram #childrensdrawings #catportraits #artworkshop #kettlesyard #cambridgepicturehouse #cambridgefilmfestival #kedidocumentary #streetcatsofistanbul #streetcats

Feeling inspired by all these cat drawings made this morning at a drop-in workshop I was running in collaboration with @camfilmfest and @kettlesyard at the @campicturehouse. So much creativity, freedom and dedication and exceptional drawn and collaged cats. The documentary Kedi was sold out but the film festival still runs for a few days, and there is always the possibility to go to Kettles Yard and visit the collection.

See more drawings in the original post on Instagram.