With brutal honesty and a sharp wit, London-based illustrator Ruby Elliot is setting out to normalize mental health issues. Her new book, It’s All Absolutely Fine, is a creative and comedic look at living day-to-day with depression and anxiety. To celebrate the launch of her first book, I reached out to find out more about her personal and artistic approach to dealing with life’s struggles. If you’ve ever felt down and out and not quite like yourself, this book will brighten your day.
Find it here!
Did you ever think you would be writing/illustrating a book?
It was definitely a very small quiet dream I had a few years ago, but I didn’t think it would happen, no!
What was the most difficult part of putting it all together? The most rewarding?
The most difficult part was probably editing and piecing all the material together during the proofing stage. I don’t work digitally and we had print outs of over 200 pages that my editor and I slowly shuffled back and forth into place. The most rewarding was getting to see it all at the end as this big physical wedge of stuff! After working online for so long that felt really good to have a solid object I could hold.
How do you give yourself a break when things get overwhelming?
I find it pretty tough. Even when I say I’m taking a break from drawing/blogging I inevitably find myself gravitating back towards all the screens! I go for long walks with my dog, maybe read a bit and watch something that’s easy on the brain (I made it through both seasons of Rick and Morty in about 3 days last week)
I really admire that you are able to address the difficulties of mental illness with such humor and wit in your drawings. Do you try to take this approach in your own life, through your own struggles?
Yes definitely, I think it’s an inbuilt instinct really. I grew up doing it so it’s sort of just a natural coping mechanism.
Do you have any advice for people who feel stuck (in their lives, careers, or creative endeavors)?
I think I’d like someone to give me advice on that right now haha! I would say it’s important not to beat yourself up if you don’t feel you’re moving forward at the moment. Especially with creative endeavors there are always ebbs and flows, which is frustrating, but you can’t hate yourself out of a dip. It’s okay to stay still and gather your thoughts when you need to.
Answer these, quick!
Favorite animal to draw: Birds – they are naturally ridiculous looking animals
Do you laugh at your own jokes? (I do): Always!
What object do you wish always had googly-eyes on it?: What object DON’T I wish always had googly-eyes on it? Everything is better with googly-eyes.