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Artist turns COVID doodle diary into self-published book

Victoria Craig Jan 29, 2021
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An uncapped pen rests on a blank page of "Vic Lee's Corona Diary," a book of illustrations chronicling life under the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Vic Lee
COVID-19

Artist turns COVID doodle diary into self-published book

Victoria Craig Jan 29, 2021
Heard on:
An uncapped pen rests on a blank page of "Vic Lee's Corona Diary," a book of illustrations chronicling life under the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Vic Lee
HTML EMBED:
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When the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold around the world, artist Vic Lee started chronicling the events from his South London home.

Rather than putting pen to paper and writing down words to describe what he heard, saw and experienced, he sketched. And he sketched. And he sketched.

Eventually, he shared a few photos on the professional networking site LinkedIn. Thousands of commenters encouraged him to publish his drawings, and he took their advice, choosing to self-publish and self-promote the book he called “Vic Lee’s Corona Diary.”

A hand hold opens the book "Vic Lee's Corona Diary," a set of illustrations chronicling the pandemic in 2020.
“Vic Lee’s Corona Diary.” (Photo by Lee)

The 88-page book tells the story of the pandemic year — the highs and the lows, from clapping campaigns for front-line workers to toilet paper shortages and the vaccine rollout efforts.

Like many authors who published books in 2020, Lee wasn’t able to hold a launch event complete with champagne, canapes and people milling about. But, that didn’t stop him from publicizing the book, which he gave his own flourish from his home bathroom.

During the event, which he did live on Instagram, he said it was the perfect way to launch his project in such an usual year.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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