It’s August 2015. Mollie Cronin sits at her desk, fingers tapping and eyes glazing over, while waiting for something to load – she reaches for a pen and a piece. She starts to doodle.
An angry little person with one fist raised erupts onto the page – this is Cronin’s first comic.
Suddenly, Cronin cannot stop. She draws the evolution of her bangs, her relationships with fitness and smoking, and her food diary (green tea, salmon, quinoa with maple syrup). She draws on her own unique experiences – and presents them with a light-hearted speech bubble that’s relatable and engaging.
“The earliest comics I did were about myself or trying to find humour in my life,” she says. “Being a little self deprecating but not in the way where a lot of comics about women are. In a way that’s humorous and relatable and not like ‘Ugh – I’m so fat and gross!’”
“It came out of understanding myself and my place in the world,” she continues.
Cronin recounts the comics that have come to life through her anger with people on the Internet.
“Having conversations with people who you don’t really want to have them with, people who force themselves into your space,” she says. “I’ll take a break and draw a comic illustrating how I’m feeling.”
“Sometimes the best way to disarm something is to laugh about it,” she explains. Her illustrations on terracotta pots have recently been sold to Big Pony Halifax, a clothing and goods store. The illustrations consist of eyes, cigarettes, and full-bodied nude women.
“I find the most satisfying things for me are things that are really simple and graphic. I wanted a repeating pattern,” Cronin says. “The eyes are super easy to do over and over. The women are more difficult, but it’s super fun.”
“I like doing those big squishy bodies over and over,” she continues. “There are so many more lines and so much more complex and it taught me to be appreciative of big bodies.”
In a world where bodies are not often accurately represented, Cronin describes turning to self-portraiture as a form of self-care.
“I’m someone whose weight fluctuates a lot,” she says. “I didn’t see a lot of bodies that looked like mine. When you start appreciating the lines of your body by drawing them, it makes it easier to appreciate them out in the real world.”
“The bodies are like me or people I know – family and friends,” she says. “Other people maybe see themselves in them and that’s great.”
Currently a collections manager, freelance writer, and curator, Cronin is not quite sure what the future holds.
“It’s this thing I only get to do after hours, on weekends, where I like to sit and draw comics,” she says. “I’m just rolling with it. People are approaching me now, so who knows what’s next?”
“When I have more time, I would like to do narrative comics like longer strips,” she continues. “I’m hoping to get a zine or a book together and of course, doing more collaborative works with people.”
“When you make a comic, people think you’re funny forever!” she exclaims, gesturing wildly into the air, coffee cup precariously hanging on. “I just want everyone to think I’m really funny.”
Follow Cronin on Instagram: @art.brat.comics.