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A collaborative graphic novel about brain injury survivors incorporating their words and pictures.

In 2016, I was a very lucky artist. I got to spend six weeks with the East London branch of Headway, a charity that helps brain injury survivors to rehabilitate. The East London branch do this by providing an art studio called ‘Submit to Love’ where those who have sustained a brain injury can develop an art practice.

‘Like an Orange’ is about the people I met at the studio. It’s a collection of stories that came about as I got to know them, chatting over paper and Tosca pens. Some are about life with brain injury and some aren’t. What really makes this project special is that I will be incorporating their artwork into the comic too, making this an unusually collaborative, as well as literally inspired, piece.

My experiences with the people I met at the studio had a profound effect on me. Namely, it led me to reflect on the dynamic between memory and identity, and how we are each individual units while at the same time undoubtedly connected to each other in myriad ways – rather like the wiring of the brain itself. As such, it feels natural to me (especially as I am an autobiographical comics artist), to relate the stories of the people I met there with reflections of my own past. This at once acknowledges the fact that stories can only be told through one’s own point of view, while at the same time exploring how we are all connected.

The title of the book, Like an Orange, comes from conversations a couple of the artists had with their surgeons, who described the brain in those terms – like an orange. This resonated with me on a serendipitous level, as I remembered the first painting I ever did, as a very little girl, where I was determined that the whole thing should be entirely orange!

Overall, I want the book to capture the individual stories, my experience of meeting everyone there, the positivity of the studio, and how we connect through words, language, experience, art and creativity.

Wallis Eates is an artist and graphic novelist living and working in London, UK. She completed her MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art in 2001. Since then she has worked as an art educator and facilitator, as well as a manager for the children’s film education charity, Into Film. Her graphic memoir, ‘Mumoirs’ about growing up an only child to a single mother in the 1980s, was shortlisted for the Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel prize. Wallis also co-leads the London branch of the international graphic novel forum, Laydeez do Comics.

A sneak peek at the interiors:

Read more...

In the Dark Orange

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Tirzeh orange brainscape

Hello everyone

Just thought I’d share with you some of my latest work in progress. This piece is going to be a quarter of a double page spread depicting memory loss. As some of you will know from previous posts, I am currently working on Tirzeh’s story, who lost memories of some of the key moments in her life because of her brain injury. This picture shows one of them. The rest of the page…

Are you mates with Giorgio Moroder? He feels love, right?

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Tirzeh with some lyrics 1 flattened

Hi everyone

You know when you get your heart set on something and you just do it even though you know you're probably making loads of extra work for yourself? I've done that. I really REALLY wanted to use the lyrics of one verse of Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's 'Together in Electric Dreams' for a page as part of Tirzeh's story. Once, while we were all in 'Submit to Love' studio, the song came…

Exciting new pledge level! Tell your friends or grab it for yourselves!!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Hi everyone

Just a quick one to let you know that there is a new pledge level available for a limited time, and there are only 3 available.

Headway have kindly donated tickets to their Supper Club on the 3rd May, which means you can meet some of the artists I worked with while eating delicious food they'd have made just for you, plus entertainments!

A link with more information about it is…

Do you know what I love?

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Back of tirzeh

I LOVE WORKING ON THIS!!

Hello everyone

Yes, I do. The infectious joy of Submit to Love studio is alive and well in my memory bones. But I'll be honest, there can sometimes be an element of anxiety involved. The other day I saw a tweet where someone had retweeted the BBC about the paralympics, and they'd written 'Disabled people don't exist to be your inspiration', and I must admit, I felt…

Neuron chat

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Nick mayers with orange

Hello one and all

It is said that the forging of connections plays a powerful role in creativity and memory. One of the main themes of ‘Like an Orange’ is connectivity, within and with each other. So in keeping with this, I’d like to share with you today how I came to decide what to write for this very update – it’s a perfect example of my neurons having a chat!

As I sat here, having a think…

Made with concentrate (and love, of course)

Monday, 22 January 2018

Studio entry final mash up small

Hello Orange Likers

Just a quick one this week as I've mainly been going to meetings and doing funding applications, that kind of thing. Meetings - very exciting, funding applications - oof. So, no real new work apart from this mash up. Anyone familiar with my drawings of the Submit to Love studio will recognise many of the components to this piece. I love the atmosphere when everyone's immersed…

Love Letters and Upgrade Offer

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Journey to headway off bus

 

Happy New Year one and all, and a warm welcome to all new supporters!

The work-in-progress I'm going to share with you today includes a thought bubble with part of the Submit to Love studio logo inside it. It's of my first journey to the studio, so I was full of anticipation and thinking of nothing but.

I think I'm probably going to have most thought bubbles throughout the book…

The 243 all the way there...

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Sean tower and sun

Hello orange-likers! 

Welcome new supporters, and thank you to everyone for your ongoing support.

And so it begins...I have been busy thumbnailing the first part of the book, and because I got impatient, I started some of the artwork too. 'Like an Orange' begins with my first journey to Headway, and exploring the fact that when we remember something, we do so with the knowledge of what has happened…

What's in a Brain?

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Dolores in her flowers

Hello all

First of all I'd like to say a massive thank you to all my new backers since my last update - welcome! It is so encouraging whenever I see I have a new supporter and it spurs me ever further on. Your generosity is much appreciated. Also, another big thank you to everyone who tweets and retweets. Being human and 50/50 extrovert/introvert I always have a certain amount of anxiety when hitting…

Segment Special

Friday, 10 November 2017

Orange segment wip

Hello everyone

First of all, I'd like to say a great big thank you to Philip Chimes for making such a generous pledge, I am thrilled that he is now a Patron for Like an Orange. I met Philip at Headway during my residency and we really hit it off. He laughed heartily at my silly tales of woe on previous residencies, and I was fascinated by how he approached his artistic practice and related it to…

How do you like an orange?

Friday, 13 October 2017

Phil

Peeled or cut? As marmalade? With a vodka? 

Hello everyone!

Two weeks in and I'm thrilled with the support I've received so far. Everytime a pledge comes in I do a little skip in my seat, and feel a mixture of humbled and excited! 

If you'd like to add to my humility and excitement by making a pledge, that would be wonderful! Not only will the final book be coming your way in either…

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Simon Russell
Simon Russell asked:

I'm going to back this and want to share it, but do you have page count/size and planned publication date, so we can share that info?

Wallis Eates
Wallis Eates replied:

Hi Simon

Thank you so much! So, page count is 143 but size is yet to be confirmed (bigger than A5 but not A4). I am to deliver the finished work a year from launch date, so that will be 27.9.18 and copies to be available once the book has gone through all of the publishing processes - usually about 10 months. This is subject to change should targets not be met for whatever reason, but hopefully this should give you a sense of what we're looking at.

Please do let me know if you have any further questions, and thanks again for your support - it is much appreciated!

Wallis

Simon Russell
Simon Russell asked:

That's great thanks - helpful when mentioning to others. 143-pages will be nice and hefty!

Wallis Eates
Wallis Eates replied:

Thank you so much, Simon!

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