Donghua University student heals mind with comics

By China Daily | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-27 15:05
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Xu Haoxi explores how art can help people's minds and hearts. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A graduate student from Donghua University's School of Art and Design, Xu Haoxi, hit the realm of art as a therapy with her heartwarming creation — a healing comic titled The Healing Journey of Little Balloon and the Lighthouse.

The narrative revolves around a blue balloon on the ground due to confusion, and a white lighthouse that embodies guidance and solace for those seeking direction, reflecting Xu's own journey through anxiety and self-discovery.

Xu, who once grappled with academic pressures and interpersonal relationships, found herself at a crossroads of uncertainty and self-doubt. Her path to recovery included counseling, which not only helped her regain her former optimism and confidence but also inspired her to utilize her artistic prowess for a greater cause. She established the Lighthouse Healing Studio, crafting a series of psychological IPs and comics aimed at soothing minds and hearts.

The Healing Journey of Little Balloon and the Lighthouse features relatable everyday dilemmas such as the inability to truly rest, questioning the value of hard work, and learning self-love. Since its debut, the comic has garnered immense online popularity, amassing over 5,000 followers and 26,000 likes on Xiaohongshu, a social media platform, within two months.

It has evolved into a platform where readers share their struggles and find solace in the stories and each other's support, fostering a community of collective healing.

Cao Ningning, director of Donghua University's Mental Health and Counseling Center, commended Xu's work, describing it as gentle, pure, warm, and illuminating, with the ability to deeply comfort readers. Cao highlighted the elegance in simplicity and depth of the narratives, emphasizing how Xu's visual storytelling not only presents therapeutic content but also enriches the reader's experience aesthetically.

Going beyond comics, Xu's studio is exploring art and design therapy further. With the support of her university, she organized mandala meditation painting workshops for the elderly, integrating art therapy into senior care and leisure activities. These initiatives have been met with positive feedback, affirming Xu's belief in the power of creativity for healing.

Looking ahead, Xu aspires to leverage her product design skills post-graduation to launch an inclusive healing brand, offering tools such as Mindfulness Diaries and Emotion Cards for individuals to practice self-healing anytime, anywhere.

Wang Biye contributed to this story.

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Donghua University student heals mind with comics

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