Animator Keeps Late Wife’s Memory Alive Through Heartfelt Sketchbook Doodles

On his 54th birthday, TV animation director Gary Andrews started a Doodle Diary. This still-ongoing project is simple, but it has proved powerful over the past year; he chronicles his day in a sketch. When he first began the endeavor, Andrews often depicted his life as a happily married man, enjoying the world with his wife Joy and their two young kids. But now, it’s a different story. Joy suddenly passed away on October 27, 2017, from multi-organ failure caused by sepsis. Andrews was on a business trip at the time and was unable to say goodbye to his wife before she died.

With Joy’s passing, the Doodle Diary changed overnight. Although Andrews missed drawing on the date his wife died, he was back to sketching the next day. He used the notebook as an outlet to channel his feelings and poured his emotions onto paper. “I was crying so hard it was difficult to focus on the page,” Andrews recalls. “I was drawing through tears.”

The sketches that followed the family tragedy show Andrews as he navigates being a widower. They chronicle the intensity of his grief as well as adjusting to life as a single parent. Sometimes, it’s as common as coordinating busy kids’ schedules, while other times it’s a look into how the family grieves together. But always, the poignant drawings offer a powerful reminder that life goes, for better or for worse.

A selection of drawings from the Doodle Diary were turned into an animation that appeared on the BBC. It’s a beautiful tribute to Andrews’ late wife by honoring their life before her death and what has come after. Watch it, below.

When TV animation director Gary Andrews’ wife Joy suddenly passed away, he chronicled what he was feeling through his Doodle Diary.

They feature the family grieving the loss of their dear wife and mother…

… as well as Andrews as he navigates being a widower and a single parent.

A selection of the drawings have been turned into an animation that is a beautiful tribute to Andrews' late wife:

Gary Andrews: Website | Twitter
h/t: [Design TAXI]

Related Articles:

Bindi Irwin Pays a Heartfelt Tribute to Dad Steve Irwin on 10-Year Anniversary of His Death

Grieving Wife Keeps Her Late Husband’s Spirit Alive With Emotional Family Portraits

Touching Portraits of People Facing Death with Acceptance and Peace

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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