A Full and Bright House is a 56-page experimental graphic novel about searching for a sense of comfort, based on a journal of vivid moments I’ve kept for two years. It follows an emotional journey of leaving home for the first time, feeling untethered, finding places and relationships to cling to, and the desperation that arises when a life event (a pandemic) strips a relationship away. Ultimately, the journey ends in discovering grounding within one’s own body and reality.
This book has been an exercise in unconventional, personalized storytelling. My aim was for the sequential format to speak uniquely to my story and my own experience of the passage of time. Much of the illustration relies on abstraction in order to harmonize the visuals with already descriptive text. A collection of symbols, such as the candle, the wind, and the crows, drive the narrative forward as they highlight beats and changes as well as create an immersive emotional throughline. My traditional mixed-media technique and hand lettering also are vital to the feelings of movement and sensitivity in the story.
While the content of this project is very personal, I made it to share. I know that the pandemic has caused for many, as it has for me, a newfound reflection on what we need in order to feel supported, happy, and grounded. I believe that the book will be enjoyable to read just as a lovingly illustrated story, and that it will resonate especially with those who are feeling that need to sit with reality. The final message to readers is one of hope: if you feel restless or isolated or lost, you are not alone; spring is in the air and everything will pass and pass again.