Like an Orange

By Wallis Eates

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

Sunday, 3 June 2018

In the Dark Orange

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 will show the others, all layered in a dark orange-brain-scape.

This piece is very much inspired by Tirzeh’s own work, in that she too depicts the brain made up of elements that aren’t necessarily grey matter, for example, people (see below). I always felt, from the chats I had with Tirzeh, that this motif in her artwork is integral to her experience of brain injury – not remembering people, but knowing them, carrying them with her.

With this particular drawing, I was also inspired in a very direct way, in that I just wanted to get lost in the act of drawing (this took about 4 hours and made my eyes go like fuzzy felt stones). I have a tendency to overthink what I do at times, to need a million reasons to do what I’m doing – can I justify this? But when I was in Submit to Love studio, the sense of immersion, the huge drawings, painting, collages made by Tirzeh and co, lovingly crafted over many hours, reminded me of what it is like to do something for the love of doing it, being with it. Pushing that pencil across the paper brings everything to the moment – the flow of creativity is life.

Below also is a really silly thumbnail that shows what the rest of what the page will look like. Top left is the drawing I’ve already done. I’ve included this because I do think it’s hilarious to see the jump between thumbnail and (nearly) finished piece, and knowing that jump happened somewhere in all those orange cell-like neural networks. 

In other news, the podcast I did with Alex Fitch for Cartoon County has now been aired on Resonance FM.  The following month he spoke to fellow Unbounder Lucy Sullivan, and our commissioning editor, Lizzie Kaye. I thoroughly recommend you check out what Lucy is up to (and pledge) – stunning artwork exploring her experiences of mental ill-health, both candid and heartfelt. Please do look, honestly. She’s brilliant. You can hear all these podcasts here:

Please do bare in mind though, that I’d just come back from a 10 day silent meditation retreat when I said all those words, so there might be…strange moments…

Finally, big thank you to all of YOU for your support, and welcome to the new ones amongst you. Very excited to see some of the more exotic levels getting pledged for, like bespoke comics and portraits!! You're all grand - now go and have an orange lolly.

Bye for now,


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