Tourette Syndrome and Mental Health Awareness

‘Courage, dear heart.’ ~ C.S. Lewis This art is meant to represent a feeling of what can go on inside a person with mental health struggles, the reason the individual is pictured nude is to represent the vulnerability of that struggle, the dragon represents the illness and the shield represents HOPE. There is hope and knowledge out there for those who need it, if you have any of these health concerns please know that you are not alone and that you should reach out to the available services; doctors, counsellors and people around you. You do not have to do it alone.

My son was diagnosed with TS at the age of 8 years old, he is now 17. Tourette Syndrome (TS) causes tics that are sudden, intermittent, repetitive, unpredictable, purposeless, nonrhythmic, involuntary movements or sounds. Tics can be either simple or complex. The most important thing to understand about the tics associated with Tourette Syndrome is they are the result of a neuropsychiatric condition. The sounds and behaviours are involuntary and are not being done by choice.

TS can often come with package of other syndromes, my son also has OCD, anxiety, ADHD and low level depression. While some medications are available to help with the symptoms they do not completely take them away and there is no cure. Since early childhood his daily life has been an ongoing battle, and yet, despite this hard journey he is growing into one of the most likeable, kind, and loving human beings I have ever known. 💗

When he was 15 years old he created the original cartoon pictured here as a way to describe what life was like for him on a daily basis. A monster lurking always attacking and ready to pounce on him the minute he woke up, the shield you see pictured at the end represents his family, counsellors, friends, and doctors who try to help him through. My son and I decided that we’d like to try to raise more awareness for people who, like him, suffer with real mental health concerns. In addition to this we also wanted to try to give back to an organization that works hard to support people with TS here in Canada, tourette.ca. Thus from Hunter’s cartoon I was inspired to create this painting which I am going to be adding to my shop in the beginning of June, it will be available as a print, bookmark and a sticker and all of the profit from the sale of these items will be donated to Tourette Canada. We hope you’ll consider supporting us through this endeavour by purchasing one of the items or even just joining us by sharing this story, painting and products with others.  

A Whole New World!

Erin Kleveland and I, Micheline Ryckman are working hard towards our goal of creating a new graphic novel series for Whimsical in 2017. If you follow along with me on Instagram you’ll have had the opportunity to get to know the constantly evolving characters from this new world. I thought it might be fun to share with you here as well a bit more of my concept illustrations, a blurb about the upcoming series and a new concept idea for a cover (not set in stone though.) Hope you enjoy these! coveridea_small01“Talia Benson would consider herself fairly ordinary. Anyone would. Diligent student, only child to a single mother, protector of three cats, nothing special ever seems to happen to her. Life’s consistent rhythm brightened only by Talia’s talent for art and her obsession with the stars, a single evening in front of a blank canvas becomes the adventure she never dreamed she wanted. Swept away from the only life she had ever known, Talia now finds herself lost and alone in a world completely unlike her own. In a land where magic thrives and wars are born then die at the wave of a hand, strange creatures decide the fate of those who live among the Nine Realms. The guardians of this foreign world have felt a great shift in the heavens. Something has changed. A darkness is coming. No one would believe that a simple girl thrown between worlds could be the key to saving them all.”