~Just Smile, by Clara Nell
"The pic was intentionally drawn for a website-intern mini competition on a German Animu website, and the main theme was: 'What do you love about the Animu fan base?'
The first thing that came to my mind was how reassuring it was for me to be a part of a group for the first time for years. I´ve been bullied and picked on my entire childhood- bullies basically ruined what should have been the most joyous time of my life-, so being accepted the way I was, regardless of my shitty looks, my height and my excessive shyness, was a whole new experience.
It made me grow stronger and kinda heal.
And the same can be said about art. I started drawing because nobody would spend time with me and I had no hobbies, because I had no friends. Over the time, my crappy drawings improved, and I started trying not only fanart, but also own things. Art is what pulled me through, and what gives me the power to stand up for myself and defend myself now. It´s become a way to heal, and it´s what keeps me going and soothes me whenever I fall back into depression. I think that art is something more than just a hobby for me, it´s a part or my personality, and it´s what gives me the feeling of actually being special, unique, appreciated and useful. Making others happy with my art and showing them that there´s always been more to me than what the bullies claimed makes me happy, too, and gives me self-esteem. I´ve realized that art is the way I can make a change in others, and in myself.
And now that I´m growing up, it´s up to me to keep the things that happened to me from happening to others."