Pride Month is, of course, usually a time for big, colourful parades and marches, but with the lockdown kinda-sorta still going, we wanted to make some noise and celebrate the LGBTQI+ community in our own way—all while helping out our pals at LGBT Youth Scotland!
Naturally, our first thought was to do a bit of colouring-in, but we didn’t want to do it all by our lonesome. That’s why we put our collective creative brains together to pick out three of our very favourite illustrators from the LGBTQI+ community which turned out to be the incredible Lesley Imgart, Mark Glasgow, and Sam Prentice!
The idea we landed on was to create our own version of a Pride parade in one big illustration, so we asked Lesley, Mark, Sam, plus our Emma Stewart and Rob Johnson to create a collection of loveable ‘Be Your Weird Self’ characters, each reimagined in their own illustrative styles.
‘Be Your Weird Self’? What’s that?
The thing about being ‘weird’ is that no one is weird in the same way (which we love). That’s why we bring our whole selves to work every day, not just the super-serious business parts. This idea was the inspiration behind ‘Be Your Weird Self’ – one of our brand values that we brought to life through a series of wee characters based on every MadeBraver, past and present, highlighting the things that make each of us unique. There’s more on that here.
For this project, we wanted to give each artist plenty of space to show off their own creative style and interpretation, but for the sake of consistency every character needed to have three things: a bowling pin style body, big teeth, and stick-like arms and legs —
We asked each of the artists to base their characters on friends, loved ones, people they were inspired by, or even themselves. We then took inspiration from the Pride Flag as a reference colour palette. Each artist had to create four characters and the results were better than we could have ever imagined!
Our friends at LGBT Youth Scotland
Not wanting to leave it at that (this happens a lot with us), we thought it might be nice to do a short run of super-comfy-cosy t-shirts featuring our new illustration to support LGBT Youth Scotland.
LGBT Youth Scotland is a charity on a mission to make Scotland the best place to grow up for LGBTQI+ young people. They do this by providing quality youth work for LGBTQI+ young people through local youth groups, confidential one-to-one support from youth workers, their trailblazing online community on Discord, and delivering their comprehensive LGBT Charter programme for schools and organisations. They even held their own online Pride event for young people last year. Pretty cool, right?
We thought so, too—and that’s why we’re donating 100% of t-shirt proceeds to this amazing charity!
This is a limited run, and each t-shirt is made with organic, comfy-cosy cotton and non-toxic, vegan-friendly ink. And did we mention we’ll be throwing in some free MadeBrave goodies to boot?
Now before we go, let’s hear a bit from the artists
“My illustrations and comics record the things that go on in my life – and for this project I was inspired by real encounters I’ve had. Like that time my girlfriend and I found ourselves in a pub that was booked out for a meeting of the Scottish Bears. I also included a reference to possibly the only example of something nice being yelled at us in the street: LOVE IS LOVE!”
See more of Lesley’s work
“This project gave me the opportunity to play with some of my favourite things about being queer. With each character design I’ve tried to represent a different attribute – the opportunity to be flamboyant, or childish, or “counter-cultural”, or express my gender and sexuality in different ways – that my queerness has afforded me. It’s also important for me to pay tribute to the LGBTQIA+ forebearers that have made it possible for us to have Pride in the UK – advocates like Antony Grey, the Gay Liberation Front, the Lesbian Avengers, and countless others.”
See more of Mark’s work
“One of my favourite aspects of queer culture is the way that we express ourselves through what we wear, creating costumes and armour to help us take on the world and feel more like ourselves. I especially love the age old queer tradition of reclaiming the imagery and language of our oppressors, taking things like leather, bandanas, cowboy boots and other things that used to be traditionally masculine and flipping them on their heads to make them SUUUPER GAY. I wanted to celebrate this in my four characters for this project.”
See more of Sam’s work
“The illustrations we’ve created for this project have been inspired not only by friends and family in the queer community but those who we look up to and admire. They celebrate LGBTQI identity and through their placement alongside our collaborative illustrators, represent the wonderful diversity of pride.”
And there we have it
Though we’ve seen huge strides here in the UK and much of the west, there’s still much to be done in terms of legal and social reform for people in the LGBTQI+ community. So whether you’re able to help support LGBT Youth Scotland or not there are plenty of ways to support and connect with the LGBTQI+ community in Scotland and beyond.
Big thanks go out to Lesley, Mark, Sam, our Emma Stewart and Rob Johnson, and everyone at LGBT Youth Scotland for helping bring all of this together! Happy Pride Month, everyone!