Writer/Artist: Emily B. Owen
Brain Shoodles (a portmanteau of “Shit Doodles”) is a collection of stripped-down, autobiographical comic strips from creator Emily B. Owen, chronicling some of her struggles with anxiety and depression.
Owen originally starting drawing these strips as a way to make sense of her thoughts, and the resulting doodles rapidly evolved into this collection, which presents a straightforward and honest account of the kind of impact things like anxiety can have on everyday life.
Now obviously everyone’s experience is different, but Emily’s own anxiety seems to make it incredibly difficult for her to do the things she clearly wants to, whether it’s meeting new people, going to conventions, or even something as seemingly straightforward as going to the shops.
The artwork is rudimentary, with Emily herself being represented as a… cloud? A Blob? I’m not really sure, but whatever it is, she manages to pack an impressive level of charm into the process, making her point clearly and sweetly without the need for unnecessary detail or distracting colour.
It’s a stripped-down approach, perhaps feeling a little more accessible as a result, but more than anything else, Brain Shoodles feels like it has a fairly straightforward mission statement – you are not alone.
Emily lays out how she feels here, bravely sharing her own experiences and insecurities, and if someone reading the book feels the same, then maybe in some small way they’ll feel a little less isolated, a little less alone. It’s a simple but effective idea, it shows the real value of self-published comics, particularly autobiographical ones like these.
A brave, relatable and hopefully valuable book, Brain Shoodles is an impressive display of how some basic doodles can convey a world of emotion, and I truly hope that it ends up in the hands of the people who will benefit from it most.
Brain Shoodles is available to purchase from emilybowen.bigcartel.com and costs just £3 plus p&p