Comics Features

INTERVIEW: Mike Medaglia, Author of One Year Wiser

We recently had our souls filled with positive vibes by Mike Medaglia‘s book One Year Wiser, a collection of 365 illustrated meditations, one drawing for each day of the year. The book, published by the good folk at SelfMadeHero, takes hundreds of infamous quotes across the world and condenses them down into an adorably-sized graphic anthology whilst bringing those words of wisdom to life via Medaglia’s drawings. We had a chance to have a chat with Mike about the book and dig a little deeper into the background of One Year Wiser

AP2HYC: Can you tell our readers a little bit about One Year Wiser?

Medaglia: One Year Wiser is a collection of illustrations and comics where I take inspirational quotes from poets, writers, artist, activists, etc and adapt them into visual representations. The aim is to enhance the meaning behind the quotes and give the reader an aesthetic experience on top of the the emotional impact from the words.

AP2HYC: What made you want to compile this book?

Medaglia: I started the project online, posting a new image every Monday, so it just seemed like the natural next step to bring the images together into a one a day style book. I loved the idea that people could have an object that would encourage them to take a minute each day to sit and reflect on a different meditation. It is always nice to have something that allows you to engage with the world but not have to stare at a screen to do it.

AP2HYC: How might you hope people will be enticed to buy this book when they can indulge in your meditations online for free?

Medaglia: I will say that I get just as much joy knowing that people find some comfort and inspiration in reading One Year Wiser pages online, as much as print. And the book really isn’t a hard sell at all. People are often happy to spend a little bit of money if it means that they get a nice object that they can go back to time and time again. Many people have gotten in touch saying that they use the book on a daily basis, leaving it on their bedside or kitchen table and take a moment to open it and read the quote of the day. I think that having the physical book in their view is a good way to be reminded them to have a look each day.

AP2HYC: How did you go about choosing the quotes included in the book?

Medaglia: I had a massive spreadsheet filled with quotes that I would find in books or online. Also, friends and family were constantly sending them my way. Then each week I would scroll through the spreadsheet and just see which jumped out at me with an image and I would go from there. If I was stuck and couldn’t find images for enough then I would choose quotes that I enjoyed and would sit with it for a while and see if I could think of any ideas for turning it into a drawing.


AP2HYC: What was the process of bringing the quotes to life like?

Medaglia: That was the most satisfying and most challenging part. It took me a while to realise that the best way to come up with an idea for an image was just to loosen my trying and let the images pop out at me. I tired to take a very hands off approach to the design and let the words do the work. When I had a vague concept I would then do a small thumbnail for the image to get the overall design and how it would sit on the page. I did about 16 of these every Sunday night, which would turn into my drawing for the week. Then each day I would get up and methodically draw each page in order of the thumbnails. It was at this stage that I could refine the designs making them more cohesive and representative of the overall feeling of the quote.

AP2HYC: Where did the idea of the companion colouring book come from?

Medaglia: Well, I just loved the idea that I could take the initial concept of One Year Wiser and then make something that the reader could actually physical engage with. I hoped that it would deepen the effectiveness of the quotes if people were able to sit and linger on images while colouring them in. Plus, the whole project is about personal growth through messages of love, positivity and growth, and colouring is having the same effect on a great number of people right now. So it was very natural to create something to go with the growing energy and excitement around colouring books.

AP2HYC: A slightly odder question (bear with me!), but why is One Year Wiser such an adorably snug size?

Medaglia: The size (which I totally adore) was chosen so that the book could become an everyday house hold object for the owner, rather then a bigger object that would need to be put on a bookshelf so it wasn’t in the way. I wanted people to be able to keep it close at hand and grab it whenever they needed a bit of a boost or some inspiration to help balance out their day.

AP2HYC: Have you any other projects your producing at the moment?

Medaglia: I am just about to start a new weekly web-comic for the Elephant Journal. It will be a combination of a four panel comic that explores ideas of mindfulness, meditation, spirituality and personal growth with additional writing to expand the idea and to relate my own personal experiences with each topic. Keep an eye on my website and social media for updates on when this will begin!

You can find out more about One Year Wiser via its website here, and perhaps indulge in buying a copy here. You can also keep track of Mike’s future work on his Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as finding out more about Elephant Journal here!

About the author

Fred McNamara