Available to order now The Corona Diary by Vic Lee is strict limited edition of 2500 books which are shipping worldwide, with over £5000 raised in charity donations to food charity Fareshare as part of sales.
Originally a hand illustrated journal from the mind of Vic Lee, his Corona Diary 2020 began in mid February, when the first real news started to filter through into the UK of an impending Coronavirus Pandemic that was rapidly spreading from Asia into Europe.
Spanning the first six months of the Pandemic here in the UK, the last stories included were finally illustrated on 1st June 2020.
The final printed internal pages are presented uncut, unedited and displayed written and illustrated as they were in real life. “As a real journal should be,” says Vic. “Unpolished, with typo’s and mistakes, loose lines and smudges.”
“Life was pretty much as normal in London where I am based,” Vic recalls, an artist, illustrator, storyteller, wordsmith and mapmaker who has created artworks for some of the worlds biggest brands, agencies and companies, working from his studio in Camberwell, South East London. “But you could feel this unnerving uncertainty creeping into the everyday. Moments of anxiousness began appearing.
“It probably didn’t help that I had recently finished a novel based on a virus that wiped out the World by a bat,” he continues. “Perhaps my reading lists should be more light hearted. Plus my partner and I had just returned from an incredible holiday in Malaysia and Singapore on the 31st December, feeling incredibly relaxed, which would inevitably be replaced by panic.”
The beautifully-drawn diary is Vic’s journey, his experiences, things that he did with friends and partner as the Coronavirus, or technically, Covid-19 started to take a grip.
“It does not cover every news story or aspect of the pandemic, but is my view point,” he explains. “The stories I was reading, from the factual to political to the light hearted combined with my living in London and my everydayness. It is as real a diary as could be illustrated and told.
“I started this diary to help me deal with basically, everything in the news. To try and make sense of things by writing and illustrating key moments for me. Good and bad. I never set out to publish this, but as I posted on social media channels, Instagram and LinkedIn, it became something more important than just myself. The messages and comments I received on my posts made me realise that many people across the world were in the same mindset. And this diary, even though told from my perspective, resonated with them. So a big thank you to all of you that have supported me and given me the confidence to continue.”
Mainly UK centric and London especially, there are news reports from around the World included, fed to the British people through all manner of news outlets, “from Italy to Spain, Asia to America,” Vic notes. “From the sad harrowing stories to the power of humanity to come together and nature gradually filtering back into a planet decreasing in pollutants.
“This is not a political piece nor meant to harm or outrage,” he emphasises. “The stories are all available through reputable news sources and I have taken words spoken by politicians and governments as readily available. It is important to include, as their comments, words and actions had an effect on my day to day living and insecurities through this period in our lives.
“This Diary was my escape, but also my way to understand as each story was written and illustration conceived. It became incredibly therapeutic to put pen to paper each day.”
“I hope this is a once in a lifetime moment. I hope this book helps us to honour the people that put their lives on the frontline for strangers. To respect those everyday heroes that continued to work whilst the World closed down. And to the people that didn’t make it and the ones they leave behind.”
With thanks to Tony Cheetham for the tip