Drawing through difficulty

Sophomore develops comic based on the troubles of her life


Sophomore Lynn Joustra sits at her desk sketching characters from her comic. Joustra, who likes to draw out her problems, enjoys having time to herself to evaluate situations.

When sophomore Lynn Joustra was a child, she spent the majority of her time watching anime and cartoons. Seeking inspiration from what she saw on TV and trying to deal with difficult times in her life, Joustra began to draw.

“I had to deal with a lot of things when I was in second grade when my dad was in the hospital for cancer,” Joustra said. “There was a lot of sadness and it was  the closest to depression I got. I just starting drawing, mostly someone else’s characters, until I decided I wanted to create my own.”

Joustra decided to create her own characters when she was in eighth grade. Her plans to create a comic with her own characters finally came into action in ninth grade when she had to create a project for English class. First, she decided to create and put together an art portfolio, but when she realized she wanted to do something more creative, she decided to create a comic – something she had always wanted to do.

“I made up characters and used all the influences I had,” Joustra said. “I am mixed raced, so I naturally have a lot of Asian culture in me. I’m just very interested. I would even consider being a psychology or world history major because I’m very interested in other cultures and how they think, which fascinated me to make my own characters that felt realistic.”

While coming up with ideas for her comics, Joustra often doodles for fun and has ideas constantly flowing through her head. She usually finds herself waking up in the middle of the night thinking of ways to communicate some form of her story better.

“When I draw, I get an image that I can actually hold in my head instead of something that I can’t really express,” Joustra said. “In your head sometimes it just gets a bit unrealistic, even when it’s drawing. When I put my thoughts on a piece of paper it makes them more concrete.”

Joustra’s comic, mainly focused on her point of view, helps add aspects of her life that aren’t as perfect as people may think it is. While focusing on aspects of her life that are fun, Joustra also wants to show more traumatic events.

“Mainly the story focuses on my ninth grade year, where you start to find yourself,” Joustra said. “You start to see what you’re going to be good or bad at. I push all my feelings into the story. The story helps me with self venting. I get really sensitive and get mad or sad about stuff sometimes. If I’m drawing it gets me out of that zone and I have a clear head after I’m done.”

Currently, Joustra is still putting together her story and hopes to continue working on it throughout college. Regardless of where the story goes, Joustra knows drawing will continue to help her deal with various times of her life and get across messages in her story.

“The main point is to improve myself for the better,” Joustra said. “Improving yourself and seeing your own flaws is how you can fix them.”