Thanks For Listening by Xena Lopez
When I began writing the content of this book in January of this year (2021), it was actually entries to my journal. During therapy I learned that it’s easier to understand things when they’re solidified on paper. I started sketching little scenes alongside the notebook pages full of text and it slowly became more illustration and imagery than words.
I was writing it for myself. I wanted to understand what had happened to me, why I did the things I did, and how it affects me. As a visual learner, I had to see it in images.
Initially the information was dull and harsh, that’s how I felt, too, as I wrote it. However, small moments of good began to arise as I was forced to acknowledge all the choices I've made to support myself. When the story's narrative began to shift it helped me find compassion for myself and my choices. I thought about how good this made me feel. I wish I could go back in time and give this book to my teenage self for two reasons: because I want past-me to know everything will be okay and I want to thank them for everything they have done.
Ultimately, I want this book to go to every person who has their own struggles to unravel. I'm hoping that it makes the path to self-development more approachable. This book will hopefully be a seed for someone else's growth.
The style of the book is tricky. I found it was more palatable to frame tough moments with lighter imagery, so the book is drawn minimally with lines and simple hatching. It’s also easier to relate to depictions of people when they’re not intensively detailed. After compiling the words and scenes from my notebook, I drew out panels and began to script the images. After that, I scanned the sketches and transferred them onto large bristol sheets to ink with copic pens. After processing the final touches in photoshop, I sent a pdf of the pages to ka-blam printing and had them print it for me. (Self-publishing! They'll print nearly anything, btw.)
A message for those who have yet to share their comics/artwork with the world: it's ok to be afraid at first. Just do it anyway, keep sharing your work and as you get more comfortable navigating your skills and your audience, it will be like breathing.
If you are interested in reading Xena's full comic book, you can get buy it online or find it in-person at these locations.
Special thanks to Xena Lopez for taking her time to share the process behind her work. We hope to find more inspiring stories like hers among the student body.