OK, if you have seen any of my mental health cartoons comics by now, you may have concluded my drawing style is that of a ‘gag’ cartoonist. Also know as a magazine or single cell cartoonist. I was ‘drawn’ to this style from my love of Gary Larson’s The FAR SIDE series. I would read his books over and over again almost to the point of obsession! My favorites were “The Far Side Observer,” “The Chickens Are Restless,”and of course, “Last Chapter and Worse: A Far Side Collection.”
Gary Larson’s sense of humor resonated within me and evoked a feeling of shared humorous comradery. Larson’s work came into my life when I was a young boy just hitting the awkward tween years. I was around 12 when I saw my first Far Side in the Sunday Paper in Boston. Living in a dysfunctional family filled with violence, verbal and physical abuse, I found comfort within his humor. Not to mention his drawing style was simple and uncomplicated.
I personally want to say “Thank You Gary” for the inspiration to think outside the box, to see life through broken glasses and to be happy with my weirdness.
His drawing style influence is more visible in a cartoon I drew called Genetic Research Lab 101. It shows two over-sized lab technicians wondering if they were successful in their experiment.
We have successfully spliced the bipolar gene with the funny bone genome… Do you feel anything different?” This is one of my favorite cartoons and I still crack up seeing it…
Chato B. Stewart's homage to The Far Side
Another cartoonist that inspired me was Bill Watterson. Who is Bill Watterson? Yep, the artist behind the Calvin and Hobbs comic strip.
I always thought Calvin reflected my childhood in a way and reading his comics brought me back. I think if he started drawing Calvin and Hobbs today, he would get a lot of mental health groups upset. It’s so obvious to me that Calvin is ADHD fringing on Bipolar Disorder. So, what would Watterson’s cartoon creations look like in today’s chemically fixed world?
Yes, I just can’t see “after Calvin’s meds Kicked in, Things just didn’t seem the same…”! It’s depressing to think of having your world controlled by the medications you take. DON’T MIS-UNDERSTAND ME!!! I am 100% behind using medications to assist in the treatment of mental illness and mood disorders… It’s just taking the pills day in and day out, gets tiresome. I wonder some days if I really need them or if going off them will effect my life negatively?
That ‘s when I open my Lock box… In there are photos and a letter of a period in my life that will sober up any romantic feelings of a better time off meds. The photos show how I destroyed the house in a psychotic rage after Police came to my door to inform me my wife took the kids and had gone somewhere safe from me. The letter, well, it was a rage laden, hateful, suicidal letter. Even now and again when I feel I don’t need my meds, I open that box.
OK, OK, you get I support medication treatment for psychological issues, but that does not mean I can’t dream of a time I don’t have to take medications to keep my sanity!!
Hey, how do I know if this life is not just dream? Maybe I’m in the movie “Inception”? Where is my buddy Leonardo DiCaprio? Would you know he’s watching the game.
Now, I know it’s a nightmare when I can only find Leo and not that cute girl from Nova Scotia, Ellen Page!
Stewart, C. (2010). Chato’s Homage to Gary Larson (The Far Side) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbs). Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/2010/07/chatos-homage-to-gary-larson-the-far-side-and-bill-watterson-calvin-and-hobbs/