With drawings featuring inspirational, but honest messages—"It's OK to not be OK" and "I'll Be Here When You're Ready"—Sad Ghost Club has created a network of support and aspiration on the internet for people coping with mental health struggles or general feelings of sadness and anxiety. Run by illustrator Lize Meddings and general manager Laura Cox, Sad Ghost Club began as a series of comics on Tumblr and has grown into a larger community for lonely hearts everywhere. These ghosts are the opposite of scary.
We chatted with Meddings, the illustrator behind Sad Ghost Club, about running what might just be the internet's most inclusive club.
How do you hope Sad Ghost Club will help people?
When I was making the first Sad Ghost Club comic, I really liked the idea of it being this club that everyone can be a part of, that just re-affirms that, hey, we're not all alone in this. We hope that putting out comics about these thoughts and feelings lets it be known that other people feel this way. We also really like that it just starts a conversation. It's nice to see on our social media people comforting and encouraging one another based on the issues being discussed. We hope it can give people a platform to talk about their feelings, even if it's just sharing a comic that applies to them when they maybe can't find the words for themselves.
What about Sad Ghost Club do you think appeals to people?
I think people like that it's honest. Some of the comics have a positive ending, some don't, and we're OK with that because it's true to life. It's kind of only now that we both do this full time that we've worked towards building a following. We've made sure all of our comics were available online. All the artwork is there, so you don't have to buy it to see it.
What has been the most rewarding part of running Sad Ghost Club?
I'd say at the moment it's Sketchbook Club, our workshops through Off the Record, a free mental health support program for young people in Bristol. It's a set of six weekly sessions with different groups. We just finished the first group and the progress the young people made was great. They did some great work, made friends, engaged, and really threw themselves into the themes we set each week. The contrast between week one, where everyone (including us!) was shy and nervous, and week six, where everyone was chatting and being really supportive of each other, was super-rewarding.
Do you have any exciting future plans?
I think we really need to think about how we can take this great following we've developed and use it to implement workshops and activities in other cities. I'd love to spread the club off-line, so people everywhere are able to join in and get involved. That's something we're currently working out!
What's been your favorite project/zine you've made with the project?
The Guide to Not Being Sad will always be my favorite, I think. As an illustrator I'm really proud of it—not so much the artwork, but because of the simplicity and the idea behind it. I think it's a really neat little comic, and it's what put SGC on the map. Also, we've recently had some resin toys made that are little ghosts, and that's cool as heck. I never thought I'd have a toy of my original character.
Want to join the Sad Ghost Club yourself? See more of Meddings's work at thesadghostclub.com.