by PAUL BICKLEY
“I’ve come a long, long way from crumpled-up, notebook-paper comics doodled in the back of an elementary school classroom,” says Bloomington artist Winnie King, 23, who was recently commissioned to illustrate the children’s book Charlie Bird Loves Bloomington, a fundraising project for the health care of Charlie, Bloomington’s resident macaw.
King has also created promotional comics for Blu Boy Chocolate Café and Cakery; logo and poster designs for a local roller derby league; T-shirt designs, postcards, and activity-book illustrations for Bloomington’s Krampus Night Christmas event; and illustrated portraits.
Describing herself as an “artist and graphic designer who specializes in comics,” King cites the comic strip Garfield as a major early influence. Her own work, however, is far less traditional. She’s at work on a comic book series called The Mind Twins, about identical twin superheroes who are both openly autistic. “The twins exhibit many quirks and behaviors that may come off as odd,” she says, “but they aren’t ashamed of their diagnoses—in fact, being autistic plays a large part in how their psychic powers work.”
For three years, King, who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at age 13 and is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, has also been writing and illustrating Candi and Macaroon, a comic strip about two women sharing a happy life. “My identity paired with my disability made it hard to feel content in knowing that I was different from other people,” King explains. “I want my readers to see people being openly different and being happy.”
The Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington fine arts student would like to publish her work someday. “I would also like to continue finding ways to lend my art to Bloomington,” she says. “I love this town dearly, and I want to make it prettier any way I can.”
Visit Winnie King Comics on Facebook. Charlie Bird Loves Bloomington is available at Morgenstern’s and The Book Corner.