Sprout is a 28-page, monochromatic, autobiographical comic taking the reader through my real life and struggles with identity and gender in a small, rural town. Using abundant floral imagery, working in tandem with tender figurative imagery, readers will witness flashes of my daily life through the years, using plants as a visu-al metaphor for growth and beauty.
Sprout is the story of how when I was growing up, I was never given the vocabulary to describe my experiences, which is something Sprout seeks to rectify for read-ers. I only knew that whatever I was doing, I was doing it wrong on some funda-mental level. The only words I was given were ‘girl’ and ‘boy,’ and I couldn’t make either of those labels fit me. I could never manage to fit into expectations, to fit my existence into the mold I was given. This wasn’t for lack of trying; for years, I tried everything I could think of to shape myself into the thing that I thought everyone else wanted me to be. The more I did this, the worse I felt; I just felt wrong, and it felt bad to exist in my own skin. It was like my body did not belong to me, but rather existed as public property. It be-longed to friends and classmates and even strangers I passed on the street who I didn’t know and would never see again.
The idea of being trans wasn’t something that was ever presented to me as a real, viable way of existing. The only pronouns that existed were she and he, and god help anyone who tried to pick a set other than the ones they were handed at birth. In my hometown, trans people just existed as the punchlines to bad jokes on sitcoms, not as real, living, breathing people who might exist as the children or siblings or peers of anyone in town. Sprout exists for other people considering their own identity, to hopefully lessen their pain just a little bit. The end goal of this project has always been to reach other people who might be experiencing something similar. Sprout will hopefully reach people who are questioning their own gender at formative periods of their lives such and tell them they are not alone. Hopefully, Sprout will open people up to new theories and vocabulary by sharing my own experiences with embracing and celebrating nonconformity.
Roswell Evan Haynes (they/them) is a nonbinary graphic illustrator and comic artist studying Illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Roswell wants nothing more than to leave the world a little brighter than it was when they found it by creating empowering and nurturing narratives for women and LGBT people and tender moments with floral imagery, figurative work, and plenty of cute ladies kissing and holding hands. Roswell creates art to connect and foster empathy. They work digitally creating comics and illustrations centered around tenderness and gentle, slice-of-life narratives. A storyteller at heart, their artwork is heavily narrative-focused, and features a host fun characters.
Roswell was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and has been drawing since before they could walk. They can be found in Portland, Oregon, with their two rowdy cats and arguably even rowdier house plants.