happy little wonderland

by Hilla Duka

ink drawn manga cat

In my teens I opted for art school and had great big dreams of becoming an artist, perhaps illustrating stories or something. I spent three years trying to learn, and left feeling quite certain it wasn’t for me. I drew little childrens drawings, happy manga chibis cuddling, I drew little worlds where everything was lovely and happiness ruled. I still to this day remember my art teacher, this sturdy britton who took himself most seriously looking at my work and telling me “Happy people can’t make art”. I took that to heart, decided I’d rather be happy than an artist, and went on with my life.


Then when I had kids I started doodling for them, little animals in some ipad vector app, and then as I found out about the cancer, I started drawing again. The things I’ve always drawn; manga girls kissing, happy foxes and gnarly trees. Ink on paper, nothing more. The kids love colouring them, and sometimes they get inspired and draw themselves.

ink drawn little manga fox

Maybe my art teacher was right, maybe happy people can’t make art, surely no one would consider the things I doodle art, but as life becomes something large and threatening, a looming shapeless monster of fear resembling only your worst nightmares, it feels good to balance that out with creating peaceful happiness, girls in love and magic forests where nothing bad can ever happen.

two girls kissing drawn in ink

And unlike the eighteen year old me, I’ll not apologise for not drawing huge agonising art. That’s just not me. The drawings I make reflect something inside of me, and frankly, I think the world could do with a bit more magic and a bit less agony and pain.



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