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‘Comic Diaries Volume 1' shares in a graphic novel what happens after a Latter-day Saint mission

SHARE ‘Comic Diaries Volume 1' shares in a graphic novel what happens after a Latter-day Saint mission

On Sundays, people can typically find Brittany Long Olsen listening to podcasts with some kind of drawing utensil in hand, channeling her inner creative energy as she journals.

"My best time to draw is Sundays," Olsen said.

Olsen uses this day to draw comics about her life in a visual journal, and this practice has now turned into two published graphic novels. The latest, titled, "Comic Diaries Volume 1," was released late last year.

Brittany Long Olsen is the author of "Comic Diaries Volume 1."

Brittany Long Olsen is the author of “Comic Diaries Volume 1.”

Provided by Brittany Olsen

"I work from home so my desk is my work spot, so when I'm doing creative projects I like to sit anywhere else so I can channel my creative energy," said Olsen, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She actually takes a couple of hours weekly to get her creative projects finished. This is because she typically isn't just drawing one comic from her current day. Olsen said she writes down notes in her phone throughout the week about different things that have happened to her. Then she sits down on Sunday and draws seven days' worth of comics.

This practice of using comics as a journal to remember things about her week is something she started doing in 2008.

"I guess that's when I became a cartoonist," Olsen said of that time.

In 2008, Olsen had just moved to Cedar City as a freshman at Southern Utah University, and started taking art classes. She ultimately decided to major in creative writing and earned a minor in illustration. During this time, Olsen said she saw other people creating a type of comic journal, where they would draw one comic per day every day. This began her practice of a daily comic, which has turned into her own personal journal.

"I stared doing it and putting up on my blog (at comicdiaries.com) and I'm still doing it 10 years later," Olsen said. "It's been a crazy hobby."

"Comic Diaries Volume 1" covers everything that happened to her in 2014. Olsen said this was a year of many personal changes. That year she came back from Japan from her 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She started living with her parents again and working at a desk job. She also moved to a new city.

"There’s a lot of universal young adult experiences that I go through in the course of one year, so I’m hoping that readers who are in this phase of life can find something to relate to," Olsen said.

One of her biggest changes was meeting someone, who she started dating. Later in the book the two got engaged. The novel features many dates and adventures her and her now-husband went on throughout that year. She calls this graphic novel her daily slice of life during that time.

Olsen didn't always plan on making her comics into books.

"Comic Diaries Volume 1" is written by Brittany Long Olsen.

“Comic Diaries Volume 1" is written by Brittany Long Olsen.

Provided by Brittany Olsen

"I didn’t think of the idea of collecting them into a book for a few years," Olsen said. "At the time just doing them for fun and putting them up on my blog and family and friends would read them."

In 2018, she finally decided to compile them, and that's how her graphic novels got their start. "Comic Diaries Volume 1" includes 200 of the 365 comics she drew that year.

This book is relatable to all young adults in some way, according to Olsen.

"I think that young adults everywhere can find something to connect with in this book, whether it’s making a life change and feeling kind of lonely, or your parents trying to make you date their friends' kids," Olsen said.

This is Olsen's second published graphic novel and is a lighthearted daily glimpse into Olsen's life. This graphic novel is similar to the first, which is about her mission in Japan titled, "Dendo: One Year and One Half in Tokyo." This book also features daily comics; however, that one is about her life as a missionary.

Olsen said she is working on a new graphic novel to release this year. It's called, "Comic Diaries Volume 2: The Newlywed Game." This will feature the new adventures Olsen and her husband have experienced since marrying.

Olsen said that when she puts all of her comics up on a blog, she uses tags to identify what she drew about that week. Later, she can find all the comics she's made about one particular topic, whether it be the weather or her sister, for example.

"I do like to go back and see how far I've come, not just as an artist but as a person to see what I was interested in three or five years ago," Olsen said. "It’s fun to go back to comics from a specific day and see what was I doing three years ago on May 10."

Even now, she continues to write comics, and is writing about her and her husband's life in England where her husband is working on a master's degree in psychology.

"My current comics now have been about living here, the culture shocks that have happened and the adventures while we’re living here," Olsen said.

Olsen also participates in Hourly Comic Day every year, where illustrators around the world draw one comic per hour on a set day. This day can also be found in "Comic Diaries Volume 1."

Olsen is also an illustrator and does artwork for books and some cartoons on Instagram for social justice, body positivity and feminism. She also has a fiction graphic novel coming out this fall, and plans to use a Kickstarter campaign for it.

"Comic Diaries Volume 1," does not contain any violence, sex, sexual innuendo or foul language. The book is found on Amazon.com.