40 Heartbreaking Comics About Animal Abuse And Factory Farming By Joan Chan Interview With Artist
Our ocean, land, and the array of species that call it home are succumbing to the poison of plastic. According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by marine and land debris, and as much as 80 percent of that litter is plastic. It is estimated that up to 13 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year—the equivalent of a rubbish or garbage truck load’s worth every minute.
And the ones that suffer the consequences of this are not only humans themselves, but also animals. To bring some awareness to the state of our planet and its inhabitants, Joan Chan, a 32-year-old comic artist from Hong Kong, started a comic series called "Just Comics."
"Just Comics” is a project that’s meant to educate people and bring awareness about the state of our planet and topics such as factory farming and animal cruelty. Joan hopes that her informative comics can help reduce the suffering of animals that are bred for meat, clothes, or any other industrial production where there are conditions for animals to be raised all year-round.
Bored Panda reached out to Joan to find out a little bit more.
"I create these comics because of my love for animals.
Having worked in the defense of animals for over 10 years, I understood how smart they are and the scale of their suffering in the agriculture and fishing industries.
They are in my heart and mind every day."
First, we asked the artist if she had any major influences in her life that might've helped her to develop and refine her style.
"It's a mix. I have liked reading Hong Kong and Japanese comics since I was young, like Dragon Ball, Doraemon, Old Master Q, and some old western newspaper comics like Vater und Sohn. My parents own a newspaper store so I read all kinds of comics when I was young and went to the public libraries often."
Art, in any kind of form, takes a lot of time not only to practice but also to produce, therefore we asked Joan how long it takes her to fully finish her comics.
"I draw very slowly, so it usually takes 1-2 days."
Being an artist is not easy, one can easily encounter a lack of inspiration, burnout, etc, so we wanted to ask Joan about her ideas for the comics.
"I’ll think of what issues I want to work on, doing research, and narrow down the message. I will try to form a story and see if there are any new connections. If I can't come up with a good idea, I will move to another topic.
I usually have lots of ideas.... lots of bad ideas. For me, the hard part is to recognize it's not a good idea and keep on thinking.
I try to focus on the large-scale problems of “production” animals and those that humans have a harder time empathizing with like fish and crustaceans."
As we mentioned before, sometimes creative work can cause quite a burnout, therefore we asked the artist how she dealt with that as well.
"Yes all the time, every time after I get one good idea I will worry about the next one….and then it repeats."
We also asked Joan about how people reacted to her work.
"I often draw sad animal stories. I think it's relatable in some ways. We all experience the same, non-human animals have emotion and are able to suffer too, although we don't feel it exactly the same way, but we do share the same living experience as we are all sentient beings. Many people feel sad and heart-breaking for what is happening to animals."
The creative process is not easy, but there are some enjoyable parts about it.
"My favorite moment is the moment when I finally figure out the best way to tell the message."
We also asked about the inspiration behind the artist's Instagram account.
"After graduating from university, I had a regular column in a Hong Kong Newspaper Am730 but I wanted to reach a larger international audience, so it naturally drew me to the biggest platforms like Instagram and Facebook."
Digital art and art, in general, is not easy and requires a lot of patience, time, resources, and in most cases even money, therefore we wanted to know how the talented comic artist started her own career in digital art.
"I always liked digital more. It feels more fun and easy for my ADHD mind. I can go back and forward to make changes any time."
Artists tend to get motivated by a lot of things such as curiosity, the search for beauty, or even meaning. Therefore, we asked Bonnie about that too.
"What keeps me creating arts is because I still have something that I strongly want to share. I care about animal suffering deeply, I hope my work can speak for all animals."