I started making this comic 'Isolation Penguin' to document what life is like in our house during the lockdown. My husband and I appear as penguins and my dog as a tortoise.
I'm usually a children's book illustrator and as much as it's fun to illustrate the stories of other authors (Fearne Cotton, Swapna Haddow, Niall Breslin, Lucy Courtenay, Simon Philip, and others) I think it's important to have your own side project to keep yourself motivated. I'd been wanting to make a comic for months but I didn't know where to start. I needed a hook or a theme. I'd been collecting funny ideas in a notebook but wasn't sure where to start in turning them into a comic. I was also nervous about putting my own ideas out there.
Then as lockdown happened I thought: this is my chance, I have this extra time, why don't I document my experience of lockdown in a diary comic. The first episode was about the day I received my letter from the NHS stating that I wasn't allowed to leave my house for 12 weeks. I thought it would be amusing to depict myself and my husband as penguins instead of humans, because they are chubby and cute (and I know lockdown will make us a bit chubbier but probably not cuter ) and to have them do human activities like drinking wine is already funnier than humans drinking wine.
Our greyhound Sandy appears as a tortoise. I had to think of an animal that would fit with the penguins and thought that a tortoise went perfectly. The message or aim of the comic is to document the lighter side of lockdown and to bring a smile to the reader's face.
Till now I've been drawing in my studio in the loft of my house (in Folkestone, Kent) with pencils, paper, and Photoshop but 'Isolation Penguin' is the first project that I've done completely on my iPad using the program Procreate. I love this set up as it means I can draw from anywhere. As we are in lockdown this currently means sofa or bed or any room of the house, but when this is finally over it just means my work set up is much more portable.