top of page

Cartoons of honest self-expression

I’ve always loved reading and making cartoons, but I only started showing them to an audience other than my parents and sister when the pandemic hit. My first year of college, 1,200 miles from home and living through a Zoom camera, I drew comics and cartoons to cope with the strange, sad feeling I carried with me at all times.

This sounds bad but if it wasn't for the pandemic, there's no way I would have been able to churn out as much content as I did. I drew the bulk of my work during online class, drawing 5-10 cartoons/comics daily, posting two per day on Instagram. Zoom school just didn't feel real, and it was absurd and terrible enough to be inspiring for my cartoons (why do we wave at the end of class? Why does everyone start their sentences with "it's interesting how..."? Should I even talk if 3/4 people in my breakout rooms have their cameras off?). In pretty much every class, from Spanish 103 to Psychology 101, I drew with my sketchbook, watercolors, and pens off to the side. And as my presence on campus and on Instagram grew (I gained 1,400 followers in 4 months), I realized that there were people who felt the same way.

In my work, all I want is to be validated. I express myself best in watercolor and pen; I am everywhere in my cartoons, and hopefully you are, too.

In my experience, the question of whether you are “being genuine” is not for you to decide.

Smoothies are easy to make, in theory, but they have so many ingredients. The kitchen gets desecrated whenever I try to make one.

These are important distinctions.

This cartoon is a reference to Nietzsche’s (sorry to be pretentious) quote: “if you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss gazes back into you.” It’s how I feel when I scroll on Instagram.

Cups of coffee are the batteries that give me the juice I need to get through the day.

Anyone who’s taken a biology class should recognize the first 6 layers as Levels of Organization. But what if there are more levels than we think?

Phoebe Ward


bottom of page