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?

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).

How would you draw sadness?

How would you draw sadness? Here are some early explorations of my Sadness character, when I thought that I needed to make it look more ‘original’. Hairy creatures passed the revenue. Too human figures. Too sad and dark figures. And even an elephant - until I decided a sad blob was fine. It worked and did it’s job. Better than the others could. Sometimes we just have to quiet the ego (or tutors voices ) - and just be of service of the book, I think. Does anyone here have similar experiences? Where you are kind of surprised about where your work is taking you, as if you don’t have a say in the matter yourself? ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on 3d January). Pre-order link in bio....... ........ ..#whensadnesscomestocall #evaeland #picturebook #childrensbookillustration #childrensbooks #workinprogress #creativeprocess #sketchbook #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #childrensmentalhealth #letstalkaboutsadness #smallactsofselfcare #consolationandcomfort #artastherapy

For more images, see the original Instagram post.

How would you draw sadness?

Here are some early explorations of my Sadness character, when I thought that I needed to make it look more ‘original’. Hairy creatures passed the revenue. Too human figures. Too sad and dark figures. And even an elephant – until I decided a sad blob was fine. It worked and did it’s job. Better than the others could. Sometimes we just have to quiet the ego (or tutors voices 😅) – and just be of service of the book, I think.
Does anyone here have similar experiences? Where you are kind of surprised about where your work is taking you, as if you don’t have a say in the matter yourself?

On drawing

For me, drawing and writing have both always been very important - using them both as tools to express, revise, construct, negotiate and develop thoughts and feelings. ⠀Drawing can calm me down and writing helps me to think more clearly.⠀⠀This is one of the illustrations from the book, showing some of the few suggestions of what you can do with Sadness. As the book only has 12 spreads, I could only include a few suggestions from all the ideas I had and things I found during my research. Maybe I should find a place for all those others as well.⠀⠀Do you have a creative outlet? Does it help you to deal with difficult emotions? ⠀⠀‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on January 3d). Pre-order link in bio.⠀⠀#WhenSadnessComesToCall #evaeland #picturebook #childrensbookillustration #childrensbooks #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #childrensmentalhealth

Read the original post on Instagram.

For me, drawing and writing have both always been very important – using them both as tools to express, revise, construct, negotiate and develop thoughts and feelings. ⠀
Drawing can calm me down and writing helps me to think more clearly.⠀

This is one of the illustrations from the book, showing some of the few suggestions of what you can do with Sadness. As the book only has 12 spreads, I could only include a few suggestions from all the ideas I had and things I found during my research. Maybe I should find a place for all those others as well.⠀

Do you have a creative outlet? Does it help you to deal with difficult emotions? ⠀

Hibernation



Read the original post on Instagram.

Even though I’d love to go into hibernation and hide under the blanket – the world is still moving as fast as ever – and I have a book launch to prepare for! ⠀
If you happen to be in Amsterdam today (Friday 16th) feel free to drop by in the Scheltema (Rokin 9), and say hello and celebrate the launch of ‘Als Verdriet op bezoek komt’ with me. We are starting at 16.00 pm. All are welcome.⠀

This was one of the images from an earlier iteration of ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’, that didn’t make it into the book eventually.

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?

Original idea

I found back the thumbnails of the original idea for ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ after many years, when I was studying the MA Children’s Book Illustration. We’d just started the Sequential Image module, led by the incredibly talented @pamsmyillustrator (who also happens to be a very good teacher). After months of drawing from observation we we’re finally ‘allowed’ to draw from imagination. In my proposal I wrote: “I want my sequential images to be about consolation, comfort and emotions” and I asked “Can I make a sequence that gives the viewer the feeling of being consoled and hugged?”.⠀⠀Do you know any books which achieve that? Do you have an idea of why that is? I’d love to know and might start a weekly review at some point of ‘sad’, cathartic and comforting books. Would anyone be interested in that?⠀⠀The image is from the title page from ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on January 3d). Pre-order link in bio.⠀ Look out for all the co-editions as well, of which I will share more later.
Read the original post on Instagram.

I found back the thumbnails of the original idea for ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ after many years, when I was studying the MA Children’s Book Illustration. We’d just started the Sequential Image module, led by the incredibly talented @pamsmyillustrator (who also happens to be a very good teacher). After months of drawing from observation we were finally ‘allowed’ to draw from imagination. In my proposal I wrote: “I want my sequential images to be about consolation, comfort and emotions” and I asked “Can I make a sequence that gives the viewer the feeling of being consoled and hugged?”.⠀

Do you know any books which achieve that? Do you have an idea of why that is?

Sometimes Sadness arrives unexpectedly…

Sometimes Sadness arrives unexpectedly…The idea for this book is quite old already. I have really small thumbnails and notes that I jotted down in an hour or so, dating back to 2012 - which are almost like a very (very) rough blueprint of ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’. It was called something along the line of ‘An unwanted guest - a manual’. I know I still have it somewhere but I can’t find it at the moment. This is the illustration from the first spread of the book. Swipe to see the very first sketch from my sketchbook where I start exploring ‘difficult emotions’ during the Children’s Book Illustration master - it’s one of the drawings that actually made it into the book, and even though the main character changed - Sadness didn’t change that much. He just arrived and lingered around until he made his way into the book.Do you also feel like the ideas that come easily (at first) are often the best?Illustration from ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’ (@AndersenPress, out on January 3d). Pre-order link in bio.#whensadnesscomestocall
Read the original post on Instagram.

Sometimes Sadness arrives unexpectedly…

The idea for this book is quite old already. I have really small thumbnails and notes that I jotted down in an hour or so, dating back to 2012 – which are almost like a very (very) rough blueprint of ‘When Sadness Comes to Call’. It was called something along the line of ‘An unwanted guest – a manual’. I know I still have it somewhere but I can’t find it at the moment.

This is the illustration from the first spread of the book. Swipe to see the very first sketch from my sketchbook where I start exploring ‘difficult emotions’ during the Children’s Book Illustration master – it’s one of the drawings that actually made it into the book, and even though the main character changed – Sadness didn’t change that much. He just arrived and lingered around until he made his way into the book.

Do you also feel like the ideas that come easily (at first) are often the best?