Nanook The Bipolarbear

James Osborn is an illustrator now based in Cornwall who has Bipolar Affective Disorder. He (like any creative person) found school very difficult and stressful and used art and drawing to escape the torture. James managed to just about get a degree in Illustration despite 2 major mental breakdowns at University. In his 5th and final year of a 3-year illustration degree, James started to draw Nonook The Bipolarbear. At that point, he struggled to separate his emotional state from the bears and had to stop due to becoming too depressed.
It was 5 years later, in 2019, that Nanook would be brought out of hibernation. A friend of his from church gave him a card with a joke on it about a Bipolarbear and James knew that it was a sign that Nanook should return. So he started drawing the Bear again and found himself drawing more and more of these one pannel, infographic, cartoons.
James Osborn was posting all his drawings on Instagram (@nanookbipolarbear) and was getting a great response from friends, family and people who were regulars at various events that helped to organise or attended.
When a publishing house offered to publish a Nanook The Bipolarbear book things got a bit chaotic. The launch night happened in Swindon the night before James moved away from there to Cornwall. Since then, all has been amazing for him. People messaging him, people who are struggling with their mental health, saying it helped them. Friends and acquaintances in the mental health profession have been in touch saying they have found it useful, people with other “hidden” illnesses have said they can relate to the bear and so many others have been in touch as well.
James Osborn’s most recent branch of the project is his “free art” project which started with rocks with Nanook Infographics painted on them but has spread to leaving hand-drawn art pieces on all kinds of materials all of which can be taken home.
“My heart has always been that I want to give to people rather than take and I know that for some of those who need it, a book is something they either can’t afford or don’t have the ability to sit and read. It’s my hope that those who can’t afford it would either be given a copy of the book by a friend or would be able to get a copy through their local library however I know that in many cases this isn’t possible so I started with the rocks and other art.”
The “free art” contains similar illustrations to the ones in the book and so serves as something to give away to those who need it and a way to advertise to those who might want to buy a copy.

“I often leave the art behind when I have been out for a cup of tea in a Café or for a walk in a town or wherever really. I often receive messages through Instagram and social media from people who have found something that I have left behind and I’ve had many who have received those pieces of art at a time when they need it most which is really awesome. I have also had opportunities to give people pieces directly and have amazing conversations about mental health and wellbeing. It feels like a privilege to me that I’ve been allowed to hear so many stories that are heart-breaking because I think that talking about these things and telling these stories is healing for everyone. Openly talking about mental health is a passion not just of mine but of all of my favourite humans. I hope that the book, the free art, my Instagram account and my lifestyle will encourage open conversation about mental health and other stigmatised realities.”

Or from any local book store using the ISBN 978-1-913195-04-5
In Swindon you can buy it from Baristocats, and Darkroom Espresso
In Camborne (Cornwall) you can buy it in Lush Stuff on the highstreet.

In Highworth (wiltshire) its in The LIghthouse Bookshop

Contact info:
Instagram: @nanookbipolarbear and @james_d_osborn
Email address: [email protected]com

Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (www.reggaepostercontest.com)