I hope I don’t come across as contrived when I say I’ve always loved comics. I made some short comics when I was little as if I were a cartoonist for a newspaper. Birthdays and Christmases I’d ask for or be surprised by more to read and illustrations to enjoy. I love the personable feel of a comic. It’s like holding a film or tv show in your hands but you can move at your own pace. Stop on an image whenever you please or reveal a surprise hidden on the next page at your own discretion.
It took me quite a while to come back round to comics but I’m utterly sure this is where my commitments in the future lie. It seems so obvious to me to be a cartoonist. As a cartoonist, I can be an auteur and speak what’s on my mind. This is why it was also very important to me to practice writing stories as well as representing them visually. To create something entirely my own. I’m motivated by making something people can love and deliver them an experience they’ll remember and enjoy.
For the final major project, I used black and white ink on paper with a little photoshop (for screen tones and solid black). Ralph Steadman and Dave McKean had this element of chaos to their work which is one of my favourite things about the two. I think strong black and white shows the splattered ink chaos I’ve included far better than if in full colour which represents the chaotic nature of one’s inner world, which the comic is about. My process is also largely inspired by Mangakas, in particular Junji Ito, whose comics drip in atmosphere. There were a lot of other inspirations for this comic too, like Neil Gaiman, David Lynch and Adrian Tomine. But as I said about chaotic inner worlds, this comic has a lot of meanings for me as well as sources of inspiration.
At its core, it’s about unresolved trauma and forgiving yourself. It’s based on things I learnt during the darkest parts of my struggles with my mental health and what I learnt about myself while trying out Shadow Work. Shadow Work is the process of exploring ones inner darkness to understand oneself as a whole. While the characters aren’t real or are amalgamations of real people the things that happen in MINDLURKER were real to me in a sense. I didn’t enter a separate dimension guided by my own shadow but I did need to confront my feelings on things I hadn’t thought about in years, my own mistakes and things that had happened to me I was trying to bury. Choosing to turn my experiences into fiction in this way was so that I could say more in ways that fit together in something an audience can read. After all Neil Gaiman once said, “fiction is lies we use, to tell the truth”. This comic is about the importance of understanding oneself and not be afraid to explore ‘the darker’ parts of yourself. I found it also talks about how recovery isn’t linear. A key theme I had in mind while making this comic was I want it to be “Horrifically uplifting”.
More of my work can be found at https://www.instagram.com/benedictabbit/
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