Stories in words and pictures

By Tom McKinlay, ODT | Posted: Monday August 24, 2020

Comic artist Veronica Brett is capturing her world in words and pictures.

It’s a dream come true, or at least realised in ink and paper.

Veronica Brett will launch her first collection of comics next week, as Lucid Change.

Brett has always sketched, having studied animation at the Dunedin School of Art, and worked for the past eight years at Agency Tattoo in St Andrews St, Dunedin.

But about a year ago, she had ... a dream.

"I had a weird dream that I thought would make a great comic."

As is the way with dreams, it was about psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson.

"So, did it and kept doing it."

As a result, what was the preserve of dreams now walks with Brett through her days.

"I realised the potential and now as I go about my day I feel that everything just goes through this filter of ‘would that make a good comic?’."

Brett has been inspired in her work by some of the big names of the genre, Rob Crumb, Charles Burns and Gilbert Shelton. But writer and artist Carl Barks, the pen behind the early Uncle Scrooge cartoons, is also an influence which Brett says explains why many of her characters are ducks.

One in particular, Row, recurs, in conversation with a penguin, Bluey, dissecting relationship troubles.

That keeps the subject matter at one step removed, Brett says.

"It is carthartic, but then it can be embarrassing afterwards, when you go ‘whoops, I really let it all hang out’."

Brett appears as herself though, too, in some of the many stories that make up the 80-page Lucid Change collection, even if it’s as something of an alter ego.

"A bit more sharp," Brett says. "Anger is not really an emotion I express very easily but in my comics I can really rip someone apart."

But as in all good story telling, there is no more reality than there should be. Brett is happy to embrace the bizarre.

"There are anchors throughout that remind you that it is me at a certain time, almost like a diary entry — summer 2018 or something — and a little bit of what was happening in my actual life. Then off into the outer realms again and back to a snippet of reality."

The book

The first print run of Lucid Change, of 150 copies, will be launched next Saturday (August 29) at 12A Jutland St.


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