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Edmonton illustrator launches #StayHomeAndDrawYeg to keep COVID-19 isolation at bay

Edmonton-based artist Emily Chu has launched an online sketch club to help support mental health during isolation due to COVID-19. (Art L-R by Kate Broadley, Emily Chu, and Mitchie Dagger).
Edmonton-based artist Emily Chu has launched an online sketch club to help support mental health during isolation due to COVID-19. (Art L-R by Kate Broadley, Emily Chu, and Mitchie Dagger). Emily Chu/ Instagram

Edmonton-based illustrator Emily Chu has launched an online sketch club, aimed to help improve mental health and keep boredom at bay during long periods of social isolation — as more people stay home due to COVID-19.

“It’s just a way to address these mental health issues that can come up when you’re self-isolating or social distancing,” said Chu, who kicked off the #StayHomeAndDrawYeg project on Monday.

Each week she plans to launch a prompt list. This week’s featured some isolation-themed prompts, including “your isolation grocery cart or fridge” and “non-essential essentials.”

The prompts also include some Edmonton-themed ideas like “Under the Highlevel Bridge” and “Local hero/Weirdo.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How to be mindful of your mental health

“I wanted to give an incentive for people to stay in,” Chu said.

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“Staying in doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. You can still be social online. There can still be community building.”

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Day 2 of isolation #stayhomeanddrawyeg. Today’s prompt was “isolation grocery cart or fridge”. My fridge is fully stocked, to limit our frequency of errands. But I must admit that we are loving how much variety there is, and eating through the food faster than ever! 😂 I’ve also included some “guilty pleasure/junk foods” that I think are essentials for isolation: ice cream, coconut milk, a 6 pack of instant noodles, and ginger ale and cranberry juice (yes, to mix together!) 🍹 . Thanks to everyone who participated today! It’s been such a highlight to my day seeing these drawings come in! I hope this project has the same affect to others as well 💛 flip through the contributed drawings in my stories 👆 . Until tomorrow! Stay safe everyone ❤️ . . . . . #isolation #isolationdrawing #flattenthecurve #stayhome #sketchbook #illustration #yegarts #drawing #yeg #edmo #fridge #selfisolation #covid #heyemilychu

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Chu said as a freelance artist, she’s familiar with how working from home can be isolating. She hopes an online art group can serve as a form of support.

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“Hopefully that strength of the community will ride us through this.”

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READ MORE: ‘It’s a great way to celebrate the city’: Illustrator creates book featuring Edmonton landmarks

The prompts will be posted each week on her Instagram page as the situation with COVID-19 continues, said Chu.

“Because this is about mental health and art, you can participate as much or as little as you like. You can also enjoy the project by just looking at the art.”

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