Documenting her visit to London, Angela Pan’s new comic exudes serenity through textured colouring and its portrayal of memories. The narrative follows her trip in 2017 during which she attended ELCAF, although discussion of the festival remains in the background whilst the experience of travel itself takes the forefront.
The story reads like a love letter to the city, and travelling in itself. Even the first page creates a sense of the wonder felt whilst travelling. Using her magnificent skill in drawing backgrounds we are introduced to the city. Within the narrative she refers to various activities and places which were part of the trip, although does not discuss them in a large amount of detail. The comic tends to focus on the act of memory and the more general feeling associated with travelling rather than retelling every aspect. Pan really wants to portray the particular mood associated with this visit.
The idea of thinking about the documentation of events during her experiences shines through within particular moments – generating a connection between inspiration and creation; a theme which casts a light on her creative process and connects this story to her previous work Dear Diary. Her constant discussion about what she found beautiful during her journey makes its way into every scene, through the way she draws it as well as through the narrative itself – oftentimes her narration revels in it. The beauty of her surroundings is entirely evident in the drawing and particularly the colouring used throughout. Using a mix of purples, yellows, oranges, and blues the atmosphere created is generally hopeful and frequently otherworldly, creating a sense of calm throughout.
The way in which Pan describes time in the comic is used as a method for splitting up the pages. i.e. the first few days of the trip take up a good portion of the story. In the middle, however, events spill together with a lack of panels – demonstrating the way in which she felt time move whilst travelling (below).
As well as this Pan emphasises the influence of friends on travelling, and how travelling with someone can lead to a different kind of feeling. The naturalistic depiction of friendship with openness and honesty features within various interactions, and the reader can assume the intimacy between everyone which lends itself to creating a personal, familiar tone.
Inbetween Life stands as a beautiful introspection on travel and friendship; serving as an illustrated memory of Pan’s trip.
Angela Pan (W/A) • Self-published, $12.00
Review by Holly Raidl