When Holly Hindle draws herself, she draws herself as a bear. For Hindle, 27, bears make her comics more relatable and provide an escape from body image issues. While the bears might provide an escape for Hindle, her comic series The Bear Minimum, doesn’t shy away from important issues like depression and anxiety.
“When I started out making the comics initially, it was an art-based challenge — to draw a comic every day for the month of January,” Hindle told The Mighty. “Eventually I found making comics directly about my life such as artist problems, my mental health and community problems within fandoms. [It] really started to feel cathartic. I was seeing a counselor only sporadically, so the comic became a great way to express issues and joys as well as connect with people like myself.”
The experiences Hindle illustrates are inspired by her experience living with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and dermatillomania. Her comics are candid, giving readers an unabashed look inside her anxious mind. “Despite my original reservations about posting such unfinished doodle artworks, the feedback has been astonishing,” the Ontario-based illustrator said.
Overall, working on The Bear Minimum has been extremely rewarding, Hindle said. “Repressing or hiding the fact that you are mentally ill is like a slow poison, one that slowly erodes away at everything that makes you who you are,” she added. “Seeking help can be terrifying, especially if you’re anxious! Breaking free of that and taking the first step means everything. Having the patience and determination to heal is half the struggle, finding a way to love yourself the way you are is the rest.”