Author: Kriota Wilburg
Format: softcover zine
Author website: http://kriotawelt.blogspot.com/
guest review by Keish Lozano, student in the “Comics Narratives: Illness, Disability, & Recovery” course, Art Therapy Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The experience of pain while drawing is almost ubiquitous among those of us that do so for either hobby or livelihood. Culturally, it is considered normal to injure one’s self while drawing. Joint and back pains are both signs of long hours being passionately involved in the art-making process.
Kriota Willberg’s First Aid for Drawing Injuries approaches this subject without shaming, but with practical information delivered in an approachable way. The simple layout of the small zine makes this a resource that could potentially be carried around in pockets or purses if that is necessary or drawing is happening on the go. The imaged characters are also relatively diverse and allow for the reader to understand that the experience of injury can happen to anyone.
Included within are also several tips that are missing from many guides in this category. Willberg mentions several times that this zine is just an immediate care guide that does not replace medical help or fix problems. First Aid does not claim to be all encompassing on any type of injury or pain, but instead broadly covers a few simple and effective treatments that might help general aches and pains. However, the comic is quite limited in that the majority of the pages are taken up by the R.I.C.E. method of injury care (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). While the R.I.C.E. method is a helpful acronym, it is seemingly drawn on for a possibly too large portion of this mini comic.
One of the best portions of this mini comic are the recommendations for identifying what might be needed in the case of many different kinds of injuries, which Willberg explains might not always manifest visually in the same way. For many people with drawing injuries and no experience in first aid, all injuries might seem to require the same type of treatment. We may have been taught in youth that running warm water over something will help it feel better, but Willberg explains that this is not true and pictorially identifies the different qualities that injuries might have.
The mini comic is also helped by the additions of verbal exchanges between characters, which serve to represent commonly asked first aid questions while not seeming completely didactic. These exchanges are also accompanied by entertaining drawings that help to visually represent mistakes we might commonly make or conversations we might have while trying to treat our pain.
Overall, First Aid for Drawing Injuries is a useful mini comic to have, especially for someone who is constantly drawing in less that ideal situations without access to immediate medical care for every small detail of their health.