Affect: Why I Write

self portrait why I write wI forgot that drawing myself motivates me to do things I’d like to draw myself doing.  I mostly just draw myself drawing.  It always seems the most relevant at the time.

When I first started this blog in 2011, I noticed this pattern, as well, like in these drawings from July, 2011:


bored lorna alkana

and This is Not Lorna


Since 2011, I have definitely gotten technically better at drawing and have developed a more sophisticated [ha! or more complicated, layered] process.  I like that early rough style, though.  I had just gotten Photoshop and was figuring out what I could do with it.  I’m still figuring that out.

For this week’s Affect, I traced a drawing from my notebook, as opposed to starting in Photoshop, which I did with the earlier images.

Here’s my source image for this week:


I’ve started bringing my notebook around with me more, so that I can draw what I see when I’m around other people.  I’d like to get in the habit of journal writing and then making a comic based off of ideas from those musings.

Considering these intentions, I feel comfortable/ready to share the journaling/context surrounding this week’s Affect.  It’s stuff I don’t normally share.  It’s actually a discussion with myself about why it’s hard to share.


Part of why I draw self portraits is because I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I look like.  I’m trying to be honest, and see what honesty looks like as far as how I represent myself and what I omit and revise in order to do so.

I like to read stories written by and about women who are navigating their own path in this world.  The path can often seem more tumultuous than harrowing, which interests me, but also contributes to my disposition to alter reality into something more positive and hopeful.

The other day I heard an interview with Melissa Broder on KCRW’s Press Play about her new book of personal essays called, So Sad Today.  Broder started an anonymous Twitter account where she posted thoughts she didn’t feel comfortable sharing as herself.  The feed caught on, and she has since revealed who she is and published this book.

I really connected with her unfolding story in the interview.  Here’s her bio from her website: 

“my parents named me melissa. i named myself so sad today.

so sad today is me and she is she is not me. i created @sosadtoday anonymously, because i did not know what else to do to be okay. she was born in a time of emotional, spiritual and psychic darkness. i remained anonymous for 3 years, because anonymity is freedom (also because i’m embarassed of how much i tweet).

so sad today reflects my desire to connect with others in an essential way, underneath the social, professional and cultural masks i feel i must wear in the world so as to be perceived as okay. she also reflects a desire to laugh and make others laugh, as well as an attempt at dopamine.

and yet, like all internet personae, so sad today too is a mask.

it is my hope that with this book i can lift the mask a little more.”

I am not anonymous, but I am also not comic Lorna.



On this last page, I start to put the previous brainstormed thoughts together:  Writing is important for me because it’s how I think.  If I’m not writing, I’m crazy.  I’m crazy because I don’t reflect and resolve and move forward without writing.  I don’t see who I am when I stop writing.  I acquiesce to the words that construct dominating narratives.  I start to act like I believe in their stories.  I forget that I have a voice.  That I have a choice and possibilities.

Here’s a preview of next week’s Affect.  That’s right.  I’m planning ahead.


You can find me on
Facebook: @LornaAlkanaArt and @LAWordSalon and @AffectComic
Twitter: @LornaPhone and @LAWordSalon
Instagram: @Lornaphone and @LAWordSalon

I update my Exhibition Page with events and galleries Lorna Alkana Art is featured in.

I post on (or around) Mondays with new art/discussion of the process of works in progress, and Fridays with Comic Lorna in the form of an audiobio comic series called, Affect.


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