Saturday, 30 June 2012

Happy, positive disability stickers

Fed up of the boring, static disability/accessibility/wheelchair icon I designed an alternative.


Now I have durable vinyl stickers with it on. And I am in love. How many disability symbol stickers do you see - and immediately feel happier and more positive? Personally - none. Until now....

Medium Pink on my kneebraces
Small - all colours on my crutches


Medium Purple on my laptop.

Large Blue on my car.
All now available - exclusive to my shop www.stickmancommunications.co.uk

Friday, 22 June 2012

A Pocket Full of Confidence

I don't know about you, but when I approach potentially challenging situations, the thoughts come:

How do I explain wheelchair etiquette without offending? How can I ask for personal space without sounding petty or demanding? How do I convince someone that this is my normal and I don't need medical assistance and they don't need to worry? How do I say I'm in pain without being thought a moaning whinger? etc.

And above all, how do I do the above without instigating a 'pity response' - get across the message that I might have a disability or two, but life is still fun and interesting?

Initially I created the first 'Cartoon Keyring Communication Cards' for a friend - but I fell in love with them. The first time I used them was on the trainSince then they have been used in the post office, out shopping, at the bank, in taxis, with friends, at events, with family, at work. 

And the responses? Acceptance, laughter, respect, 'Oh Okay' - followed by compliance. It seems that the humour in the message negates the pity factor and takes the sting from potential offence, and the fact that it is written down makes people accept it so much quicker. 

My pocket full of confidence.


The way in which I say something that is socially challenging in an entirely socially acceptable way :D

(If you are interested in communication cards with designs/messages not currently available, please email admin@stickmancommunications.co.uk )

Monday, 18 June 2012

What's in a name?

I will shortly be updating the communication cards section of my website to make it easier to use, better descriptions and better photos. - Not least because I now have a full set of stock in high quality laminate, all exactly the same size and impressively durable, thanks to finding a new supplier :D

I will also be putting together a few packs on specific themes -of course more cards can be added to them, but it might be easier to buy, for example, a Wheelchair Etiquette set, or a basic EDS set and then add any others you like.

Up 'til now I have called them communication cards. Because they are cards, and they communicate.

But now they have been on sale for a while - including at various events over the past few weeks I am wondering whether to call them Keyring Cards instead.

Why?

Because the established 'communication cards' are ones with purely functional pictures, usually aimed at those with long term conditions which make cards one of their only options. They seem to connect in many peoples heads with learning disabilities and total speech loss.

Some people saw the name and went to walk past - then when I encouraged a closer look, they ended up falling in love and buying some.

Yes, some are applicable to those with speech problems, but really these cards aren't about having no other option but to use a communication cards for all types of situations (the keyring would get too heavy!!), but a fun, novel, lively and entertaining solution for when:

  • talking isn't easy - whatever the reason (ASD, fatigue, sore throat, depression, grief, pain, etc.) or 
  • it's a tough concept to get across without offending, or
  • the answer to a question is 'negative' (e.g. How are you? - answer: hideous pain/hormonal/exhausted/want to be alone) but want to say it in an up-beat way.
  • you are fed up of explaining 'what's wrong with you?' and showing a card or two with a cartoon and mini blurb is so much more fun than never-ending lecture giving.
  • you want to educate someone as to the basics of wheelchair etiquette without telling them they are a ****.
And some of them are applicable to people regardless of disability/medical condition - like 'Rampaging hormones' or 'Go Away' :D

My new printer called them 'Keyring Cards' and I thought it sounded interesting. Crip themed cartoon keyring cards. It made me want to go and look at them.

And I realised that 'Communication Cards' were less of interest. Purely by name. They sounded official. And I don't like official. I like off beat. I like fun.

And I suspect that people who like my cartoons also like slightly off beat.

I would be really interested in hearing what others think about this!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Stickers!!

I've been toying with the idea of stickers for ages.


Happy, positive, disability related stickers that people can buy from my shop.


So here are a few sample designs.







What do you think?


All feedback gratefully received - via comment, twitter, facebook or email.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Thank you, Karni Liddell (paralympian)

A few days ago I read 'Paralympic Athlete Karni Liddell's Journey' in Disability Horizons (online magazine).


Brilliant. One of those things that made me dance inside. 


It wasn't that she'd beaten the odds and learnt to walk, speak, dance etc.


It wasn't the she'd competed in the paralympics, won medals, become a radio broadcaster, studied...etc.


I mean, those parts made me glad for her, and proud for her - and seriously want to meet her parents who sound totally awesome. But the bit that made my heart sing was:
"… I learnt from my disease and my body that the only thing any of us have control over is our attitude and how we handle our darkest moments."
That is what makes her awesome. That is a recipe for success. Not success in the 'become a millionnaire and really famous' way, but in a 'become a happy, fulfilled individual' way.


Taking positive responsibility for my actions and reactions is a key part of my Christian faith, but I've struggled to find the right words for it. Now I've found them, courtesy of Karni, I intend to keep and live them forever. And to join her in making 
"...a choice in life to be happy, healthy, grateful, generous and tough."

Friday, 8 June 2012

For a very special Mum!

Mum's 60th birthday was weeks ago.


We gave her a present at the time, and we had a party with family and friends. I'd created a cavalcade of stickman pictures for her - a few snapshots of the happy memories with which she filled our memories.


Then over the following weeks I turned them into a book - about 40 pages long.


Today I received the finished product. Within 2 hours I'd persuaded Mum to drop in to 'pick something up': 

It made her laugh. 
It made her cry.
I think she liked it. 



 


My Mum is Ace.




Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Childish Perspective?

The problem with authoring is that one can never be completely objective about what one writes. Or draws.

Each new book, communication card or picture I create I throw myself into the unknown. Each one a leap of faith.

I draw what is real for me. If I look at my picture and can immediately 'feel' it, I take that as it being 'right'.

And I just hope that others feel the same.

It was like that with Welly Walks. I didn't start out to write a book to teach acceptance. I wasn't drawing a picture to show equality. I was re-living the joyous puddle related memories of my able bodied childhood and my wheelie-using adulthood - competing for 'the best splash', being fascinated by how ripples moved, and seeing my own tyre tracks in cool shapes behind me (Sorry, carpet-shop-manager, for leaving wheelie track 'donuts' all over your shop. I know I'm 'grown up' but it was too tempting.)

As I sat and drew I would pause, watching in my mind the movement and expressions of the children as they played. The curve of the spine as one accelerates on wheels, the tip-toe stance of excited expectation.

And still, when I read it, those pictures become alive and I promise myself that even if I live to 100, I will keep my childish joy in life's experiences. Because it adds a beauty that money cannot buy.

And while I have no idea whether my creations will sell, I won't stop creating until my body gives me no choice.

Because...

...I have never seen them have a negative effect and...

...well...
...it's fun.