Lucy Bellwood Knows Your Demons Better Than You Do
How one illustrator found success by turning her inner voice into something real.
If you were to see your own personal demons, what would they look like? That’s a process Lucy Bellwood knows better than most. An illustrator and cartoonist, Bellwood recently produced “100 Demon Dialogues,” a comic about her relationship with a little monster that can’t seem to get out of her head. The comics, though autobiographical, are intensely relatable: Bellwood’s demon is that self-critical voice we all have, the one that tells us we’re not good enough. But, as she demonstrates, sometimes that voice is just trying to protect us, and at times, has anxieties of its own.
What was the inspiration behind 100 Demon Dialogues?
Way back in 2012, I drew my first comic about an obnoxious little character who’d been following me around telling me my work was no good. Several years later, for a challenge called Inktober, I began exploring the relationship with that demon through a series of dialogue comics. Those pieces were really popular, like noticeably popular — people responded to them in a way they hadn’t when it came to my other comics…which probably isn’t too surprising considering universal self-doubt is a more relatable subject than maritime history, my usual track. So this year for the 100 Day Project, I thought I’d get to the bottom of it all and do 100 conversations in the course of 100 days.
How did you think the demon evolved over time?
The demon takes many forms, and over the course of the project he really became a dimensional character. It became more apparent that he was just trying to keep me safe, or felt needy, or scared — he was suffering from the exact same things that I was!
Writers say that the longer you sit with a character, the more it begins speaking for itself. That always sounded a little abstract to me, but I totally got there in this project. With three months, you really do have to time to sit with somebody and just listen. And if there was a particular day I couldn’t think of…