This is another image doodled in pen in one of my little Moleskine journals back in the autumn (fall) of 2017. But regardless of it not being bonfire season at the moment, there really is something about fire and flames that makes this worth sharing now.
I don’t light fires for fun.
But I find the intricate shapes and patterns caused by rising flames to be mesmerising and soothing. During the autumns and winters of my childhood, I remember so often sitting in front of the open fire, losing myself in its warmth, the gentle crackle, and the captivating, fluid orange glow. A powerful stim if ever there was one.
[Image: A stylised full-colour drawing of a bonfire, drawn in fineliner and felt-tip pens, with many swirling flames against a midnight blue background.]
It’s April and I live in the UK which means it’s spring, so obviously I didn’t draw this one recently. But it’s a nice reminder of the colours that I love, from a season which mixes beauty and vibrancy with loss, decay, and darkness.
I love autumn leaves – there’s so much to look at and appreciate about them.
[Image description: full-colour fine liner pen drawing in landscape orientation of sycamore leaves coloured in somewhat stylised autumnal shades, close up, with many leaves overlapping others].
Autistics like me see, hear, and feel the details. Everywhere. We can’t stop our brains from detecting everything. When we’re vulnerable, tired, stressed, or anxious, or already overloaded, it’s hard to cope.
But sometimes, details can be delicious. When I’m relaxed, I revel in them. And sometimes, drawing my focus towards one particular detail or cluster of details keeps the rest of the clutter out of view.
[Image description: Cartoon Mama Pineapple, full colour, drawn in felt tip. A white female-presenting person with brown midlength hair clipped to one side. She is wearing a pink top, and has her hands clapped together an a lovestruck, dreamlike expression on her face. The words “Ooohhh! Deeeetails!” Are written above her, and coloured love hearts radiate outwards from the image.]
First attempt at a (sort of) comic. Part 2 (which takes a happier, more positive slant!) coming up tomorrow.
A comic strip of four panels, laid out in portrait orientation, and drawn digitally in black and white.
IMAGE: A headshot of Mama Pineapple, a white female-presenting person with mid-length hair, sweating, shaking, and looking exasperated, with a tear running down her left cheek.
TEXT: “Being an autistic parent can be really hard sometimes.”
IMAGE: Mama Pineapple with her hands over her ears, surrounded and overwhelmed by a whole range of loud noises including children’s voices, loud sudden sound effects, and the Danger Mouse TV series theme.
TEXT: “The noise can be overwhelming…”
IMAGE: A messy floor covered in Duplo bricks, soft toys, books, drawings and half eaten biscuits. A child’s foot is just disappearing out of view to the right of the panel. A teddy bear is being flung into the scene. The bottom of a switched on TV screen is just in shot at the top right hand corner.
TEXT: “…as can the visuals.”
IMAGE: Mama Pineapple looking unsure/worried, flicking the fingers of her right hand by the side of her face.
TEXT: “Am I enough of a grown-up? I struggle to keep myself organised, let alone my small children.”
I’m really frustrated by this image. I drew out all the silhouettes first, and had a lovely monochrome image of the tree and its inhabitants. Some people who saw it, as well as this version, prefer the one without all the colours. But I forgot to scan in a decent copy of it before I added all the other elements.
Nature is a huge part of how I look after myself. I love to be outdoors. The exertion of walking or running, the fascination of exploring, and the comfort of natural stimuli less jarring on my senses than those of home, work, and the city streets I move through every day, soothe and restore.
But I see certain colours more vividly than some people, as well as having a hugely detailed, high-definition visual imagination. I create other worlds in my head. And even when I draw scenes that in some way represent something real, from life, I’m always tempted to incorporate some otherworldliness – often through colour.
[Image description: Silhouette close-up of a deciduous tree at night, inhabited by an owl, fox, two rabbits, and mice. A bat flies close by. In the distance are hills and moorland. The sky is a night sky, but made of multicoloured swirls.]