A Gabriola artist has created a daily comic strip series to raise people’s spirits during the pandemic while raising money for food banks.
When COVID-19 struck, Elizabeth Shefrin said she wanted to do something useful. Last spring she and some friends sewed nurses’ caps for graduating VIU nursing students, and in August she started her daily comic series.
“I started to draw these four-panel comics and comics need an audience and under COVID you can’t have a show in any of the usual ways,” Shefrin said. “And so I just had this idea, ‘I wonder if I asked people to subscribe and charged them a little bit of money that could go to the food bank, if that would be successful.’”
At first Shefrin committed to do it for one month, but when the month was over she started to miss it and decided to keep it up. So far she’s drawn more than 150 comics for subscribers in six countries and raised around $2,300 for Gabriola’s People for a Healthy Community food bank and her subscribers’ local food banks. After taking a break in January, the series resumes this month.
Shefrin has always liked comic strips as an art form, and previously made a book called Embroidered Cancer Comic about her husband folk singer Bob Bossin’s 2011 cancer diagnosis. In this series, Shefrin documents daily life, activities and observations on Gabriola during the pandemic.
“It’s sort of whatever happens during the day or sometimes what’s happening in the world,” she said. “I did one about harvesting mint and all that happens is I go out to the garden and pick some mint and I bring it in and I cut it up and put it in the dehydrator and the fourth panel is, ‘I wonder if it matters that this comic doesn’t have a punch line.’”
Shefrin said the best part of the project is the e-mail feedback she gets from her subscribers each day telling her about their lives and how glad they are to feel connected. She said that’s particularly important now that COVID-19 precautions are keeping people apart.
“People would write in and they’d say things like, ‘It’s such a lovely way to start the morning,’ or they say, ‘We went blackberry picking, too,’ or just different little comments and things about their lives,” Shefrin said. “And so it felt like a community and I felt connected with all those people.”
For more information about the series and to subscribe, contact Shefrin at firstname.lastname@example.org.