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I like difficult stories: the little things that add up to a lot of things, childhood nostalgia and teenage dread, and memories we hoped we’d forgotten about until they flashed behind our eyelids. They’re honest and often romantic—centering on the follies of youth, of being human, and of having to wake up in the morning. These kinds of stories, I feel, are best communicated through comics. My senior thesis comic zine, Is This What You Really Wanted?, was forged from the word vomit that I’ve collaged into a composition notebook for three years now. If I find a poetic way to describe a thought, I make sure to write it down. Over time, scattered notes on scraps of paper have been bound into this book with staples, rubber cement, and an aimless, irrational desire to make the intangible tangible. The zine consists of three vignettes, birthed from three separate selections of my collaged thoughts: “So. There’s this one girl” (Confess), “Forever an outsider, a stranger, a curious bystander” (By Self), and “The world around you inspired these stories, so look up” (Imagine). Their tone begins as pessimistic and gradually shifts towards optimistic, much like the progression of my own recorded thoughts in the composition book. My work, I hope, reflects the complicated process of getting better, growing up, and contriving our own identities.

When Bri Cronin was in high school, a comic series called Scott Pilgrim inspired them to pursue story-telling through comics. Their first comic was a summer vacation, fever dream project at the age of 14. Cronin pursued an AFA in Illustration from Delaware College of Art and Design and a BFA in Illustration from Moore in order to refine the drawing skills necessary to make more of these dream comics. Cronin identifies as a doodler—naturally picking up travel-ready sketchbooks, pencils, and brush pens to illustrate characters or dabble in diary comics. Besides art-making, Cronin enjoys reading fun and introspective fantasy novels, both with or without pictures. They plan to become a librarian so that they can combine all of their passions.

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