Author: Kriota Willberg
Publisher: self published
Where to buy: https://www.birdcagebottombooks.com/products/nopain
Author website: http://kriotawelt.blogspot.com
Guest review by Andrew T. Vo, student in the “Comics Narratives: Illness, Disability, & Recovery” course, Art Therapy Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
A Guide to Injury Prevention for Cartoonists by Kriota Willberg is what the title suggests: a guide with tips and routine exercises cartoonists can practice to prevent injuries. Not only that, it tackles body position, like slouching, which is definitely a problem for me as someone who draws a lot. The book is a nice size with lot of information on exercises, warmups and body positions you can try to help with strengthening and back problems. Also it was nice that book relates to bodily injuries of athletes, as it seems the cartoonist is typically depicted in mainstream media as someone who seats around for hours on end just drawing. This book makes the case of adopting regimens like warmup stretches, like how most athletes do, before getting into the main workout– in this case cartooning. There is a routine you can do regularly at your leisure to help maintain your body with references back to the warmups mentioned earlier, which I thought was a nice bit to have in the book.
Kriota’s background in massage therapy and experience in orthopedic conditions certainly shows in the zine as a lot of the conjecture is easy to understand. Not only that, images that complement it are not only visually appealing but easy to recognize to explain it which speaks to her MFA in interdisciplinary arts and she has experience in making comics which helps communicate effectively all of this. The language in the book again is not only easy to grasp but also not so simplified to where it feels dumbed down. She provides definition for the terms she is explaining so you can understand too. She also brings it back to equivalents like certain sports, which can be helpful to grasp what an injury feels like if you are not entirely certain. The humor is a little dry but I cannot lie and say I did not chuckle a bit when I got to the part about the cartoonist complaining she can still draw despite the fact that her hand is detached on page 7 of the zine.
The only nitpick I would have about the zine is that there is no information or tips on exercises for cartoonists who have certain disabilities, like someone who cannot walk or be on their feet for long periods of time. Also there are some exercises that you can only do with two hands, and I am wondering if there are some for someone who may only be capable of using one hand.