For many of us with mental health problems expressing ourselves is tricky. Many of us find different ways to express ourselves. This week meet Christopher from Fresh Souls Cartoons who draws cartoons communicate how he is feeling.
When did you start to draw?
I started drawing cartoons when I was around 13 by copying cartoons out of the Beano and Dandy annuals. My mental health was always pretty poor, as was my self esteem and confidence so I didn’t draw for about 10 years from 18-28. I only started again after my last breakdown (I’ve had two). Only one drawing of mine prior to 2012 still exists, the rest went in the bin.
Who is your favourite illustrator?
For fine illustration it’s P.J Lynch, an Irish illustrator who produces magical watercolours for kids stories. They are works of
fine art as stand alone pieces. As far as cartooning goes, Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes inspires me every day because it’s just so damn perfect every single time.
Does drawing help/ hinder your mental health and why?
Drawing gives me an outlet, so in that regard I’d say it’s a help to my mental health. However, I honestly have days where I’d rather set fire to my paper that draw because I think I’m terrible at it so that would be considered a hindrance. If I like a cartoon idea then I have to do it right there and then and if I don’t have the time to do it I get anxious and agitated. It’s almost like a scream that needs to come out.
How do you feel your drawings make a difference?
I’m not sure they make a difference to anyone but me. My audience is tiny and issue specific. I doubt very much that mental health policy is going to change because of one of my cartoons, but my goal really is to show people the absurdity of attitudes around mental health (and other things) and the complete lack of adequate provision. If you take my latest strip about the cobra helping the guy on a cliff, its funny yes, but this is literally the choice people are given sometimes.
Why do you want to get your drawings out there?
My drawings are the most honest thing I can do. I think a lot of arguments in the mental health world are over complicated because it pays to over complicate them and things move at a glacial pace because, it seems, everyone thinks in election or funding cycles. Most of the time, I feel like I’m screaming into a void. I suppose I put my cartoons out there because I’m hoping someone else is in the same void listening.
How can we get in contact with you?
You can find me at www.freshsoulscartoons.com where you will also find all my delightful social media links and cartoons that didn’t quite cut it for the website.
Anything else to add?
I’d just like to thank you for the questions and featuring me on your splendid blog.