During My Mental Breakdown, I Started Creating Cartoon Strips Of My Best Friend’s Life And Here’s 20 Of Them
2021 has been a rough year for everyone, but for me, it started with a suicidal breakdown, which put pay to a career in teaching, spanning nearly two decades. During the early months of the year, it was hard to move forward, so I spent time with my best friend, Debbie whilst recuperating. It was during these times that I would notice incidents that made me smile or laugh, which in turn began allowing me to heal.
Some of these moments stayed with me and in order to help me think more positively, I began to create small cartoon strips, with Debbie as the titular character. Thus "A Lil’ Bit Witchy" was born. I feel lucky to have been able to have someone like Debbie in my life and to me, these cartoons have become almost like a diary of my recovery. I hope you enjoy them.
My name is Andy Case and I work as a teacher and book illustrator. I have been illustrating professionally for just over 30 years. I live with my wife, 12-year-old daughter and a psychopathic cat. I have been a professional illustrator for over 30 years and have been commissioned and published all over the globe.
My earliest memory of drawing was when I was about 4 years old. It was a rainy day and I spent it copying a comic strip for the Dandy comic. From that moment I was hooked on cartooning and spent every day practicing and refining my style. I was first published when I was 12 years old by the Notts County FC magazine, which paid me with free tickets.
I have tried lots of other types of art, for example, I enjoy editing video and multi-media but none have gripped me like illustration which always draws me back in. I do have a lot of respect for those who can embroider/sew etc. I’m so cack-handed I can barely hold a needle straight.
I have created around 40 strips of "A Lil' Bit Witchy" so far, but I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface with the characters so I am hoping to one day pass 100 comic strips. I love creating the strips so it benefits me personally to create more.
Depression can make you slowly die inside, and that was definitely the case with me. Drawing gave me an avenue of creativity that my brain couldn’t denigrate or condemn. I would find myself at my friend Debbie’s house not really knowing what to do with myself, and I would just start drawing her doing normal things like gardening or playing cards. These drawings would bring a smile to my face every time I looked at them, which may have been the only time I smiled that day. As I started to draw more, funny situations I had seen or imagined would come to my head, and I would just draw them as a cartoon strip. I just started to create more and more of them and my depression started to subside. It was a real catalyst for mental health growth.
I’ve had my best year as an illustrator and have worked on six different books. I am very proud of one of the books that is being released near Christmas - it is called "Snoodles, Kidoodles, Poodles and lots and lots of noodles" and it is written by an award-winning American author called Steven Joseph. It took 5 months to complete and is a wonderfully funny and crazy book. I loved working on it and the rough edits look fantastic. I can’t wait to see the finished hardback book.
I am pretty critical of my own work so when I create a character that feels real I spend a lot of time coloring and shading because I want to do it justice. Shading has been an area I have focused on improving and it is amazing the difference it makes to a character when it is shaded right. It can turn an average picture into something special. This is the part of the process that I enjoy most.