New Comic Alert: Worry Linesby GoComics Team
The newest addition to GoComics is one that may make you feel a tiny bit better. Thanks to a simple androgynous character whose daily struggles are our daily struggles, Worry Lines' cartoons are "sweetly funny, deceptively simple, and instantly relatable." The anonymous creator began their daily drawings nearly three years ago on Instagram (@worry__lines), as what they call an "important artistic self-care practice." Apparently it's self-care for all of us who—in this worry-inducing world—instantly relate to the main character's penchant for distraction, social anxiety, and complicated feelings of malaise. The brand has exploded into a line of products, a book, and now, a home here on GoComics. Here, we chat with the creator. Say hello to Worry Lines!
When you launched Worry Lines, you committed to a drawing a day. Why did you decide to share this project with the world?
To motivate myself to do things, I generally need to trick myself into doing them, and so posting things publicly right from the beginning was kind of that—it created an external validation/pressure system. Early on, I promised myself and my (largely hypothetical) audience that I'd post a drawing a day—and keeping that promise helped me achieve what I would have deftly procrastinated my way out of if I was drawing in private. Worry Lines started as a kind of anti-perfectionism, anti-procrastination project where I forced myself to draw something every day and post it every day, no matter how awful the drawing was. It was a way to make myself do something creative daily, and has always been more about finding simple, creative ways to visualize ideas than about comics specifically.
I'm still better at procrastinating than I am at drawing, but what's nice is that the project has developed over time, and has become a kind of important artistic self-care practice for me. It blows my mind that since I set myself this arbitrary challenge a couple of years ago, I've carved out time every day, come up with an idea every day, and have created more than 1,000 drawings that wouldn’t have otherwise existed. They're not all good—but that’s kind of the point.
So, your hobby has morphed into your job. Have you wrestled with that at all?
The wrestle is real. I mean, on the one hand, I just feel insanely privileged that I get to be a full-time drawer. The fact that that's even a "job" is wild to me. It was never the plan. On the other hand, forcing art and capitalism into a group project does create some complications. Art can mutate when it interacts with money, and I'm not super comfortable with that. In my book (This Book Is For You), I ruminate on how worry can interrupt the creative process, and also propel it—and how that is heightened when there are external pressures involved. As soon as you start to link your art to your livelihood, there's pressure—that pressure sometimes feels like a gentle, encouraging hand on your back, and sometimes that pressure manifests as crippling anxiety and complete creative paralysis. So it's definitely a tricky thing, but a tricky thing I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to wrestle with.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up. Draw. Breakfast. Procrastinate. Lunch. Procrastinate. Nap. Snack. Procrastinate. Dinner. Worry I haven't really done enough work today. Bed.
How has creating Worry Lines affected your own anxiety?
I find it incredibly helpful to offer my anxiety a path out of my body. Drawing is a way of giving shape to my anxiety, which is normally pretty nebulous. The practice of getting it out onto the "page" kind of crystallizes it into more manageable, bite-sized terrors, which is nice. Also, I enjoy snuffling around in my own psychological torment for humor. Finding the funny kind of takes the edge off and also makes the drawings more accessible, which is important to me. I want the drawings to be relatable, mildly uplifting, and encouraging for people, who like me, experience daily anxiety or other mental health issues. I also find solace in the fact that so many people see themselves in the drawings—that means I’m not alone with these experiences, and neither are they. The community that’s formed around Worry Lines is incredible and so supportive and kind. On the other hand, having a large audience online does generate its own special, powerful brand of anxiety, so, swings and roundabouts.
In your book you outline four worrying personality types. Which do you most relate to: Brave Worrier (BW), Absolute Legend (AL), Anywhere from Mildly Concerned About Something (MCAS), or Deeply Anxious About Everything (DAAE)?
I’m DAAE through and through.
What has sharing your art taught you about us, as humans?
One of my missions with the drawings is to make people feel less alone with their worries. I want people to feel connected by their anxieties, rather than isolated by them. I think anxiety is such a universal experience, but weirdly, it's something that still comes with a sidecar of shame, for some reason. I don’t see how coupling shame with worry is going to help us progress, as a species, especially in these wildly anxiety-inducing times. I think we need to decouple the shame if we have any hope of channeling our personal and collective anxieties into meaningful change for ourselves and the planet.
What comics do you read every day? Which inspire you?
Ooh, there are too many to name, but off the top of my head, two come to mind straight away: I love Underpants and Overbites. Jackie is an excellent writer—her comics are deeply thoughtful, beautifully tactile, gently vulnerable, and combine goofiness and optimism in a delicious way. Rubyetc is also brilliant—I love the humor, the movement, the voice, the scratchy surrealism, and the honesty of Ruby's work. I always read it with a crooked grin and it often makes me cackle out loud.
Be sure to follow Worry Lines on GoComics!