Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Lasse Wennerstrand, Freelance Illustrator & 3D Artist, the mind behind horror/comedy webcomic Curly, and Art Director/Writer for the indie-game ‘Project Sunshine.'
Hi, Please introduce yourself and tell us about what it is that you do.
I was born at an early age, and somewhere along the way, someone checked my ID card and mistook me for an adult. My friends call me Lasse, and I am a disabled webcomic artist from cold old Sweden. For some years now, I have been drawing my supernatural horror/comedy comic Curly and gained a modest following of readers.
Can you please tell us more about your journey?
For over a decade now, I have been living with severe Fibromyalgia and Parkinson-related Tremor and deemed too ill to work. Living with chronic illnesses is hell, and I have been ready to give up many times. I often feel like I have been robbed of my twenties, the time in my life where I should have been experiencing adventure, starting a career, or go traveling. Instead, I went in and out of hospitals, met with different doctors and experts, and been needled and prodded so many times a porcupine would flinch. What is even worse is that I feel guilty that my wife missed out on all of those things, too, since she chose to be with me. We are both in our thirties now and recently moved cross country to get closer to family. Hopefully, we can start over. We also have three wonderful kids that give us gray hair and wrinkles with all their energy and shenanigans.
Please tell us more about your webcomic, Curly.
I draw Curly as a hobby, and it is helping me keep my fine-motor skills in check. Due to the tremor, chronic pain, and stiffness in my joints, especially the hands, I never know when I can draw or sketch. I can go weeks without even being able to sit down in front of the computer and get anything done. But drawing comics is my only creative outlet, and I love to tell my little stories, no matter how corny they may be.
Curly existed in my mind long before I got my head around it. It started as two different concepts. On the one hand, I had an idea for a horror story, but no main character. On the other, I had this Irish con man character that was fun to draw, but no real narrative to put him in. One night, while I lay awake in a rickety old hospital bed, it occurred to me that I could combine the two and get something new. “Brilliant!” I thought and went to sleep. A few weeks later, the idea still rattled around, and my brain cell told me to just sketch it down. Now, years later, I have drawn and redrawn Curly into something almost readable!
I have a grunge-noir style with heavy black shadows, silhouettes mixed with clean line art, and gory monsters. It is very cartoony, and I work slowly, which is why I only can update once a week. But I love to draw and could never live without it.
You have been spreading awareness to help others! Please tell us about that.
Over the years, I have been to many different experts in chronic pain management and to rehabilitation, where I learned how to live with my disabilities. Some days are better than others, but it is like a rollercoaster with its ups and downs. Just that the rollercoaster is on fire, and the rail is broken in several places. I never know in the morning how I will feel in the afternoon, and most days, I can only do one main thing. It can be cooking, playing with the kids, or just try to get out of bed. I take muscle relaxers to be able to sleep without cramps or muscle spasms, antidepressants, and if I hurt badly, I might pop some pain medication, but they never work very well; they just take the edge off.
I handle my tremor with levodopa medication, but it only helps the outer tremor. I am always shaking inside. Like a bloody dildo left on in the bedside drawer, vibrating around but out of energy when it is time to have some fun. I was recently interviewed by Manny from Healthful Heroes.com about my disabilities. I have started to use my platform to help spread more awareness. Perhaps I can help others in similar situations by talking about it.
Any life lessons that you would like to share.
One of the most important lessons that I learned is that I am NOT my disabilities. I am not my illness. Not the pain, stiffness in the joints, or my tremor. I am a father, a husband, and a blimey webcomic artist. I lost a decade of my life. I'm not going to lose any more. I want to be someone my kids can be proud of, someone whom my wife can say that she loves.
My creativity helped me a lot over the years. I have had a keen interest in humoristic horror since Scooby-Doo introduced me to the concept while I still ran around in diapers and slept in a crib. Hopefully, my webcomic can grow a bit more, and perhaps I can get a design or two sold from the shop. Money is always tight since we only have one income. I have applied for disability payment, but the bureaucratic process is agonizingly slow.
So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
So if anyone would like to check out Curly, hear more about me or just hang around, visit Drawmoore Pictures.com for some silly misadventures and other cool stuff. There are many talented artists out there, and at times I give a shout-out, so be sure to keep a lookout. Other than that, I am an avid gamer and often talk about what I am currently playing or if I have seen anything cool on the telly. You can also check out my Instagram @LarsLasse07.
Thank you so much Lasse for giving us your precious time! We wish you the best for your journey ahead!