Way back in 2012 I was introduced to Bill Blankenship’s work. One of the original artists under the Action Lab banner he worked on Double Jumpers, Fracture, Vamplets and he turned in excellent work. Then he just stopped turning up in the credits until he recently did a stint on Action Lab’s Pirate Princess.
Now that happens, writers, artists, heck whole publishing companies have been known to vanish for years only to resurface. When I saw some creative types I know sharing a tweet from @Madcapcomics about The Madcap Sketchbook they were selling it didn’t really register.
Then this one popped up in my feed
Support Pirate Princess Colorist Bill Blankenship by picking up his new Sketchbook! https://t.co/gtM505fgYh
— Jeremy Whitley (@jrome58) February 28, 2016
Bill’s got a new sketchbook? I knew I had to check it out. And that’s when the story gets even more interesting. It seems Bill had spent a few weeks in the mental health ward of a hospital. While he was there he was given a pen and a notebook, ostensibly to record his feelings. Instead Bill filled it with sketches, in ball point pen. As a reviewer I can tell you when an artist makes art with a limited set tools you really see their talent. That’s what this book does, it truly shows off Bill’s talent.
After I bought the sketch book Bill tweeted a thank you and I took the opportunity to ask if there was anything more he’d like to share about it. I was impressed by his comments regarding mental illnes,
“Even after everything that’s happened in the past few years I don’t feel like I have anything profound to say about mental illness. To be honest, it’s hard, and people who don’t deal with it don’t understand even if they think they do. And you’ll deal with that every day. Right now, I’m dealing with it.”
So often people who’ve been there try to project an air of expertise, a need to prove they’ve got it all figured out. Bill avoided that pretension with ease.
“(But) it’s hard. And sometimes you’ll feel like you’re falling apart. And sometimes you’ll have great stretches of time where everything feels ok. You’ll feel fine for a while, and start to think that you don’t need help. That you don’t need the meds. You’ll think that maybe it’s all just in your head. And that’s the problem. It IS all in your head. And that’s why people can’t understand. But despite all of that you don’t have to let it destroy you. And maybe something good can come of it. Maybe something useful, even beautiful can come from your experience. That’s what I was trying to do with this project. I can only hope I succeeded.”
He’s asking $5. I think it’s a pretty easy decision, why not help an artist who’s been through something that would break many of us and in the process get a look at what talent looks like.
Here’s the link, https://gum.co/3333 you make the call, but as I said it’s a pretty easy call to make. #supportindiecomics