A debut picture book for adults about a bear that elicits immediate, deep emotional recognition.
Bear, Staffan Gnosspelius’s debut book, is a gorgeous visual meditation on depression. In this deeply affecting, wordless picture book for adults, a bear is maddeningly afflicted with a cone that covers his head and that he is unable to take off. He furiously stomps and yells and tears at the cone, he implores the skies and fate for relief, he is drawn to dark and wild and scary places. The depths of his sadness feel like a defeat. It’s a battle he wages until he’s mentally and physically exhausted.
Then, one day, Bear hears notes of music, the humming of a friendly hare. The hare hovers nearby, concerned, sometimes driven away by Bear’s frustration and anger, more often staying close and gently offering support. The author began drawing a bear with a cone on his head as a way to make sense of how a person close to him was suffering from mental illness. The resulting book is both an emotional gut punch and a warm embrace, recognizable immediately to anyone who has ever suffered or loved someone who has suffered in similar dark places. In other words, all of us.
"An excellent example of silent narrative conveying feelings of entrapment and resistance, feelings that are not easily described?or even understood?but still necessary to witness, to resolve."
- Shaun Tan
"What better way to convey the feeling of the wordless country of depression and the adjacent state where the beloveds of the sufferers suffer alongside than through spectral prints and drawings that manage to be both terrifying and delightful? With Bear, Staffan Gnosspelius has captured the abyss—tentacled, thorned, rife with traps, drained of color, light, and language—and the respite and grace offered by love. This is a deeply tender and wondrous book."—Maud Casey, author of The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions and City of Incurable Women
“I doodle when I don’t know what to draw. I draw when things are hard. Then the act of drawing is like a release valve to take the pressure off. Drawing and creating artwork is a way for me to digest the world around me and the world inside me.” —Staffan Gnosspelius
About the Author
Staffan Gnosspelius was born in Sweden and studied visual communications at Edinburgh College of Art and at Chelsea College of Art and Design in the U.K. Since 2002 he has lived in London where he is a printmaker, illustrator, and artist. Staffan is the author of the children’s book, Julia and the Triple C, which will also debut in the Fall of 2022.