Growing up with Disney movies, many of us often fantasized about becoming princes and princesses, living in a beautiful castle with our loved ones happily ever after. However, as children, we never questioned how princesses would have felt after going through their hardships to finally having their happy ending. Venezuelan artist Maria Guadarrama decided to explore their mental health and created a series of Disney princesses going to a psychotherapist called Dr. Pink Giraffe. Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with the artist!
Maria Guadarrama, better known as Guadascribbles on her social media accounts, has already been featured here on Bored Panda with her comics of unique emotional humor. This time, she invites us to view our favorite childhood characters from a different perspective and focus on their mental health. The artist proves that anyone can feel down and depressed, and that sometimes it’s OK not to feel OK.
When asked how she was inspired to create this series of Disney princesses going to the psychotherapist’s office, the artist says that at first, you have to know the psychotherapist herself. “Well, first you have to know about the character. Dr. Pink Giraffe is one of my characters known for being very sarcastic with their patients. It first came to me when I needed to see things with a cold mind. You know, every time I felt like I was drowning in a glass of water, I remembered this character. I wanted to make it a pink giraffe to create a contradiction between her looks and her rational mind,” says Guadarrama to Bored Panda. “I am a huge animation fan, especially Disney-Pixar animation. One day, my boyfriend (who knows my work almost better than anyone) asked me: “Wouldn't it be funnier if Dr. Giraffe would take princesses as patients?” and that was an instant connection, I already knew what the giraffe would say to every single one of them.”
The artist says that for this series, she had to look at Disney princesses from a different perspective. After all, most of them were just teenagers when they had to go through their tough experiences. “Having Dr. Pink Giraffe talking to my favorite Disney characters was a very interesting exercise to me because I’m a Disney fan and I grew up very inspired by these movies but now I see it with different eyes, you know? It is like, I love Ariel, but she is a 16-year-old that probably needs some advice before taking risk decisions. I don’t want to harm anyone’s childhood nostalgia, but I have been drawing this character (Dr. Giraffe) for so long that when I started to draw it with the Disney princesses, it's like the dialogue came straight to my head.”
After all, who would have thought that after living with the seven dwarfs, Snow White might have trust issues? Or that Elsa isn’t actually ready to let it go? Or that Cinderella was too quick to fall in love and trust Prince Kit Charming? By visiting Dr. Pink Giraffe’s office, these princesses realize that it’s normal to feel what they feel for someone who has gone through their hardships. “I love the fact that something that only lives in your mind becomes a piece that can communicate a message to others. I love the way comics make you bond words and images in a way that they are not repeating themselves but telling different parts of stories. I love storytelling, and I love how people connect with it.”
The artist says that her cartoonist career started 6 years ago when she was trying to avoid writing her thesis. “I started to self publish on a Facebook page about 6 years ago as an almost therapeutic way to express myself. As a young adult who was trying to avoid finishing her thesis, I published every day about my opinions and my own way of seeing things like emotions, fears and insecurities. Surprisingly, people connected with the drawings and the character and I was able to develop more stories and cartoons that I’d publish in a newsletter back in my home country. That’s when I realized I had become a cartoonist.” She does all the creative work herself. Therefore, one cartoon can take her up to 60 minutes to draw and another half hour to sketch and write. “One simple cartoon can take me 30-60 minutes to ink and color with Procreate, before that I tend to sketch and write for another half hour.”
“I am a Venezuelan artist, I studied graphic design but I am a full-time illustrator now. I came to Chile for a fresh start. I traveled to some countries in Latin America (Argentina, Lima, and Mexico) to impart a workshop about emotional intelligence through the creation of comics. It was an amazing experience. I connected with so many people that already followed my work and that made me aware of the role of art and images when it comes to expressing ourselves in a therapeutic way, I do believe practicing art can heal.” This January, Guadarrama published her first book with a compilation of all her cartoons drawn from 2014 to 2019. What an amazing start for this young artist!