Keith Glidewell’s Pandemic Diary Comics

Keith Glidewell’s Pandemic Diary Comics

Whereas elevating his daughter and pitching animation studios, the Audubon illustrator channels his nervousness into webcomics about his experiences as a creating artist.

By Matt Skoufalos | March 23, 2023

Keith Glidewell. Credit score: Matt Skoufalos.

For all his life, 28-year-old Keith Glidewell has been an artist.

A doodler who would draw “the craziest issues I may consider” all through elementary and highschool in Florence, he parlayed these pursuits into an interactive multimedia diploma on the School of New Jersey.

There, Glidewell added expertise like printmaking, filmmaking, digital illustration, and pc programming to his repertoire, however nonetheless dreamed of turning into an expert cartoonist.

“I took a personality design class and had an ideal professor, Phil Sanders,” Glidewell remembers. “He actually taught me lots about dimension and form, and the way that may affect somebody’s notion of a personality.

“That obtained me to wish to be a personality designer for animation, and obtained me fascinated about 2D animation, and what my function could possibly be for that,” he mentioned.

“Now I’m fascinated about storyboarding,” Glidewell mentioned. “I don’t have any skilled expertise in that function, however that’s the place I wish to be finally.”

Glidewell could not have had any skilled expertise as an animator, however he’s a working videographer and freelance artist with one thing of a pedigree. His uncle, Mark Tatulli, is the artist behind the syndicated comics Liō and Coronary heart of the Metropolis, and Glidewell cites Tatulli’s profession as a residing instance to him that “this can be a factor folks may do and survive doing it.”

Nonetheless, it wasn’t till the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic of 2020 that Glidewell started to attract and compile caricature tales as a method of dealing with the nervousness of the second.

Keith Glidewell – foreword, “In Between Locations.” Credit score: Keith Glidewell.

“It began out as a type of journaling,” he mentioned.

“It was the peak of pandemic; the peak of civil unrest.

“I came upon that my fiancée (now spouse) was pregnant,” Glidewell mentioned.

“I believed, ‘Individuals may relate to this, so why not begin sharing it?’ And it simply caught on.”

Glidewell collected a small chapbook of what he calls “diary comics I made as an alternative of going to remedy,” as In Between Locations.

It chronicles his real-life stressors — job looking, parenting a toddler, artistic blocks — in addition to broader worries in regards to the state of the world and his place inside it.

The Glidewell that seems on the web page is an exaggerated self-representation, however basically sincere in its expression of his fears and aspirations.

He describes it as speaking “a bit little bit of social nervousness [and] existential dread,” in addition to his emotions of broader complicity within the techniques which might be inflicting him such grief.

“Lots of it’s going to come out of conversations with my spouse, Michelle,” Glidewell mentioned. “She’s an ER nurse. She’ll come house and speak to me about how her day was, and we’ll each take a look at one another and say, ‘What’s going on on this world?’

“What are all of us doing?” he mentioned. “There’s no actual strain on us; we made all of it up. We’re all pretending that this society we’ve created is regular, that it’s okay. And as a lot as we wish to protest it, that is what it’s. Now we’re simply alive in it, and liable for it.”

Glidewell’s work additionally tries to subvert expectations of the worst of the conclusions that it reaches. A few of the most ominous setups repay with an unexpectedly light punchline. What emerges most from the web page is a portrait of a younger father simply barely out of step together with his concept of what maturity could be like, teetering equally on the point of collapse and victory.

“I feel my total purpose is retaining innocence,” he mentioned. “Typically I’ll lead the reader to suppose I’m going someplace darkish with it, and it by no means is. That’s simply not true to what I’m. I at all times prefer to search for the most effective in folks.

“I need the zen of Buddhism to seek out its means in there,” Glidewell mentioned. “I need that feeling in my work. If I can proceed to try this, I’ll be making the factor I feel I needs to be making.”

Whereas he waits for his break in animation or cartooning to come back by, Glidewell’s days are largely spent elevating his two-year-old daughter, Lucille. Being a stay-at-home dad means he should adhere to a strict private schedule to get work executed, whether or not it’s publishing a brand new comedian on his iPad, conserving bodily lively, or reaching out to producers to pitch himself and his work.

Glidewell additionally performs bass in a neighborhood band, Ditz; the household moved to Audubon prior to now 12 months after he started practising at his bandmate’s home there. He mentioned its hometown allure is precisely what they had been in search of in a group, and reminds him of the close-knit really feel of his childhood in Florence.

“Audubon’s the most effective,” Glidewell mentioned. “When it got here time for us to purchase a home, that’s the place we needed to be. There’s a variety of characters in these cities.”

Till his subsequent alternative opens up — or Lucille begins college — Glidewell will proceed to hone his expertise, and construct his portfolio of labor, which features a character-driven, absolutely fictional comedian referred to as Facet Streets. Followers of In Between Locations and his diary-style comics can count on extra installments as effectively. Even when they lack a writer or producer, Glidewell mentioned they’ve discovered an viewers with whom they resonate.

“The diary comics space very cathartic for me, and I get a variety of good messages that they struck a chord with any individual,” he mentioned. “I really feel like I must make these, too.

“In the end, if I can proceed making comics and develop, I need folks to connect with the work,” Glidewell mentioned. “That’s my purpose. I’m going to maintain making stuff that’s true to me.”

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