The Boards

Today I am reminiscing and drawing up some more stories but in the meantime I found a scan i hadn't yet posted.

So here is the concept behind this one:
When I first started my job at the nursing home I have to admit I was disappointed in the (lack of) variety of the activities offered each day and consequently each week. The monthly calendars in nursing homes reflect this repetition. Each week is exactly the same, the only exception being nightly performances or special events.
But as I grew into the job I realized how comforting it is for the residents to be able to rely on the same stuff during the week.


Wet Basement

The computer is upstairs away from our wet basement (that got a big puddle due to epic thunderstorms in winnipeg for the past few days.)
So, that means that I am away from the scanner too.

What a great excuse to force myself to draw some new drawings.
And then sit and wonder: Does anyone even look at this thing?


Whistle while you work

One thing I noticed about aging is that it sometimes pulls certain personality traits to the forefront...Maybe someone exhibits two contradictory traits that interchange often.
The person becomes almost a hyper-real version of one aspect of themselves as some of their other characteristics fade away.

...and then you add a touch of dementia and there you have it:
This guy, Monty.


oh no!

Sometimes, people in long-term care homes might not be old. They might have MS or they might have had frontal lobe damage or a stroke or something. Anyways, what you will certainly notice is, that despite being a bit younger, these people still need to be treated with the same patience as someone with alzheimers or dementia.



My very first comic was for Christina. Shortly after she passed away I found myself sketching out this story.
One thing I learned about her is that she used to own a hat shop and that the customers called her "tiny." My favorite thing about her is that she would always answer with "yup" no matter what you said. I think she was in her late 90's. What a gal.


A Good Brush

My mom gave me these great brushes for xmas: it's fun to see what happens when you sit down with some india ink you let your brush do it's thing.
I have to say that I do love the simplicity of the straight ahead ink on paper.

By the way:
In the interest of nursing home confidentiality...Mildred is, as many of my comics/portraits are , not entirely herself. If I feel compelled to focus on the traits of one person I try to use only the first name or a nick-name, or I might just swap names around. So yeah, Mildred is real and her fun facts are factual, but her real name only starts with M.


The Slippers of Pat

I have been reminiscing lately about the actual work week at the nursing home. It is a challenging enough day to just get everyone in to one room for an hour to play a trivia game...hilarity ensues when you have to get 8 residents dressed for the weather, through a door that only opens with a code (that is on one-minute timer) while a bus idles outside. You have to watch out for the Residents that aren't going on the outing too because they try to make a break for it when the door opens...

Perhaps it goes without saying that the residents that agreed to attend when you visited them yesterday don't know who you are anymore.

But don't worry, once everyone is on the bus you can sing "bicycle built for two" and everyone...i mean everyone (except for June, who has the bumpiest seat and says JESUS CHRIST! over every pot-hole the entire ride) is happy.


Kind of a Downer

Not a hilarious comic I know, but a reality to be represented about life in a nursing home. The sincerity of belief when you have alzheimers is perhaps what broke my heart the most. The best you can do in these situations is to not discredit somebodies worries but to give logical explanations that might help ease their mind. My buddy Dorothy had some bad days but I like to think that we sorted them out alright.


The Four Panel Story

I find the idea of the detailed and labeled portrait very satisfying to introducing characters (see the one of Bill Smag in my previous post)
... and I could literally doodle portraits all day long. (This is usually the way i "warm up" if I haven't drawn for awhile because it is so fun)
One thing I realized though, is that it's challenging to really cram all the depth and context of a character in to just one drawing.
So, I started experimenting with a short four-panel story. The layout helps provide a little more information that hopefully helps round out the person a bit more for you.
This series of drawings about Lloyd was one of my first attempts.
I like the structure of the four panel story as it forces you to be succinct. (I should also mention that I am a big huge fan of Lynda Barry and some of my favorite comics of hers follow this style.)
Oh yeah, by the way...i had to scan these drawings in one on top of the other but I would rather see them left to right if they were in a book.


Ok Friends,
Hi, it's me, Devon.
This is my first of what I hope to be many, many more blog posts.
Baby Rowan is starting to sleep at more regular (and slightly longer) intervals throughout the day and I think I am ready to return to the graphic novel that I have been working on since 2008. It is coming together in little bits and pieces, sketches, ideas, jot-notes, scribbles and doodles. I can see it forming a more cohesive whole as I get more and more stories articulated and inked in.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me first introduce you to my concept and then I will publish some more examples.
So, I used to work in a nursing home....a fascinating environment that i had never witnessed before I started working there as a recreation facilitator. Yup, I was that girl who called bingo, took residents on outings in a big wheelchair bus and even spoon-fed pureed hotdog at lunchtime.
Out of sheer emotional necessity, especially after some dearly loved residents that I was working with passed away, I started drawing some portraits and short 2-4 panel stories in honour of these wonderful characters.
I needed to remember them.
After a few drawings I figured that I was on to something bigger. I needed to categorize and round out the context for these tidbits. I am in the process of that now.
I feel like this blog might help coax my process along, I figure any encouragement will help. So Bill (that guy right there) has the honour of breaking the seal and getting the ball rolling. If you knew him you would know this is how he would like it.