In 2019, I started drawing short, slice-of-life comics about my struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and gender dysphoria. The cartoony style helped make difficult topics more approachable, without downplaying the seriousness of the subject matter.
Drawn by hand on paper using pencil, ink, and watercolor, these comics feature a colorful cast including my cartoon self, my then-partner, my cats, and an aggressively cheerful anthropomorphized vision of Depression.
During the past year, even the strongest people I know have not been okay. As a domestic violence survivor, I have spent years learning to cope with the lingering effects of trauma – depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and anger. I found that many of the tools that helped me learn to live after leaving an abusive relationship also helped me survive the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic. I wanted to share those tools with others who might need them during this extraordinarily difficult time.
In my professional life, I’ve often been asked to educate or spread awareness through words: through fundraising appeals, personal essays, and human interest stories. While sometimes effective, these are passive exercises. By incorporating game design into my art practice, I aim to shift the narrative to one of empowerment and participation. In FrankBot, my concept was simple: to give those suffering from trauma or mental illness the tools that they need to support themselves. And so, a digital friend, who is available at any time to help those who need it, was born.