Share this project


Share this project

fund the second collection of the internet comic "pictures for sad children" the book will be titled "sad pictures for children"
fund the second collection of the internet comic "pictures for sad children" the book will be titled "sad pictures for children"
1,073 backers pledged $51,615 to help bring this project to life.


1 like

It was easy to pretend to be pretending to be depressed. I sat down and wrote ~650 words over the course of two days. One of the days I was writing, a roommate with anger problems I was kicking out of my apartment choked me and broke my drawing desk because of how strongly he felt emotions that he could not seem to express in another way.

For most of this year I've been taking 40mg of citalopram and 150mg of bupropion every day. I have no idea what they are or what they do or how the human brain works. If I listened to a neurologist explain how the brain works, I would continue to have no idea how the brain works but I would learn some new words.

I've spent ~7 years making comics and posting them to the internet in an attempt to connect with other human beings in any way, on any level. We have been trying to make sense of the seemingly causeless and sourceless pain in the world, and wondering why it seems like the pain we experience causes pain in other people, even when we strongly desire not to cause pain in other people.

I knew that people with depression (and people pretending to have depression) would be capable of conceiving of a world where despite all this, I was still a person who would choose to dismiss the validity of their experiences of pain. I knew that when depressed people expressed this sentiment toward me, despite my attempts to form a connection with them, I would feel "wounded" for a short time and I would imagine that everything I had done could be easily wiped out in the minds of all the people I want to connect with.

The people who believe I could be capable of some kind of systematic faking of depression are themselves faking this perspective. Even if it seems like they are not aware that they are faking this perspective as of yet. It still takes me some time to feel the emotional perspective I desire to feel.

We can think of something worse than what is happening. We can do this all the time. We can think up things that no one has felt horrible about before. We can be very creative.

I am attempting to make a home for myself where I feel safe emotionally and physically. I have lived off of very little money for the majority of my time as a cartoonist but chose this lifestyle because the desk jobs I've worked have helped make me desire to die.

The idea of a happy person drawing hundreds to thousands of compulsively melancholic stick figures "for profit" is a funny idea.

The idea that a person could believe that all depressed people are "faking it" is funny.

It would be funny if a mental illness caused someone to write the previous update in a sincere way. It would be funny if a mental illness caused me to write the previous update in an "insincere" way. It would be funny if the mental illness you have makes you interpret these words in this order in the way that you do.

Alex Anderlik likes this update.


    1. Creator Daniel Brown on September 23, 2012

      Yeah, it was unfortunate how that previous post turned out. I'm still surprised people who read PFSC regularly couldn't pick up on the joke.

      I have enjoyed both the recent updates (haven't yet read the third; it is open in a different tab), though I still regret what was done as I think you did piss off some of your fans. I still think that all this would of gone over much better as a comic... Not to say I don't absolutely love your working in different mediums. Some of my favorite PFSC's include the 'Being' strips and 'Grandma has become a wasp'. I just sort of think that people would have picked up on the inherent joke of it all, i.e. 'I love this day, and every day' or the 'taxes' comic.

      I respect you, John, and so I am always willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and appreciate the weird places your mind and your art take you, whether that means waiting months at a time for a new comic, dropping story-lines, changing the site (a functional archive would be nice though...), or writing tongue-in-cheek biographic updates.

      I do not love you because I do not know you. But I respect you and wish you all the best.

    2. Creator Chris Vermeers on September 22, 2012

      The best part so far is the way that John Campbell has turned much of tumblr into a crowd of unwitting comedians. I read the posts there, and I laugh and I laugh.

    3. Creator Christian Hofmann on September 22, 2012

      This is quite great. As is the last update. It got me, and people, thinking. (And it got many people enraged). But it's also very PFSC-ish, in the way it's strange, absurd, sad, funny and thought provoking.
      I think I know why I pledged for all this :)

    4. Creator teeviealan on September 22, 2012

      I've written some bummer songs before then later realized I was probably exaggerating but it just sounded better. Tony Millionaire seems pretty cheered up by having Drinky Crow constantly blowing his brains out. No shame in it... wait, are you just pretending to be sorry, too?

    5. Creator Dan Beeston on September 22, 2012

      I am thrilled to feel like I am part of an artwork. It's like being on the inside of one of your comics.

    6. Creator Jameson on September 22, 2012

      I disagree, I am really looking forward to the book. And I Was faking. But I approve of John using updates for purposes such as this and taking as long as it takes.

    7. Creator Angel Vidal on September 22, 2012

      I agree with Brian, Adam AND Rhiannon because I'm very agreeable.

    8. Creator Francis on September 21, 2012

      I agree with Adam.

    9. Creator Adam Kempa on September 21, 2012

      I agree with Brian.

    10. Creator Brian Baillie on September 21, 2012

      Well I for one already feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of this project. If I ever actually get a book that'd just be gravy.

    11. Creator Raven Morier on September 21, 2012

      John I thought you seemed genuinely content/maybe-just-above-apathetic in your recent hourly comics. At first I had hoped that you were less depressed, but then i remembered you had meds. So i guess the meds are working? i want you to be content. =v

    12. Creator Binkley on September 21, 2012

      This got so meta I am confused now.

    13. Creator Patashnik on September 21, 2012

      On and on went the rabbit hole...

    14. Creator rcrantz on September 21, 2012

      it really sucks that the internet chose to be indignant and outraged instead of trying to understand. you seem pretty cool, but even if you weren't pretty cool, no one deserves to deal with that. in any case: your comics have connected with me in some way, and i always look forward to more of them.

    15. Creator Bicro on September 21, 2012

      J. Cam is a cool dude who responded to my email one time. That was really cool of him.

    16. Creator Nico Dyll on September 21, 2012

      I found the first two interesting, if indulgent, but now my eyeballs have considerable rpm. I still think a pfsc book is good idea, just change the eta to like 2014 so I'm less disappointed each time you "update your progress". Depression blows a big one; I genuinely hope you're doing ok and that you spend my money on something you need, or drugs of some description. Please reach a state where I can see pictures that warm my demented heart again. I'll always adore you for the ones that exist now, and the possibility that there's more to come.

    17. Creator Aram Calebson on September 21, 2012

      I can hear my neighbours having sex right now. Every time it happens it makes me a bit sad. When I hear my friends having sex it usually makes me happy, so this whole neighbours having sex issue is a bit confusing. Anyway, I am looking forward to the books, but I am not in a hurry and I am enjoying the updates, in spite of their apparently being the product of a lot of distress. Mr. Campbell, I'd give you a hug if I could and you were into it.

    18. Creator Michael Hession on September 21, 2012

      tl;dr - updates are meant to provide updates on the status of a kickstarter project. this one is already 3 months late, which has happened now on at least 3 other projects i have backed (not by Mr. Campbell). If someone has good reasons for delay -- professional, psychological, family, etc. - that is fair enough and I'm supportive of it. Explanations of the reasons for these delays, and a new and realistic assessment of a new time frame is what updates are for. But a long, drawn out piece of fiction in lieu of an actual update on the status of the project, and no explanation of a delay or an honest assessment of a new, realistic estimate (sometime by the end of the year? really?), is disheartening and confirms to me that my days of supporting artists through kickstarter are numbered. sad, because there are many artists who use this platform in a transparent and committed way. sorry, but that's my two cents.

    19. Creator fulldamage on September 21, 2012

      Thanks for this. It really was funny! Believe it or not, it made me feel inspired and a little more courageous today.

      I've started to work more actively on creating things, and will consider myself very lucky if in seven years I'll have affected even affected a fraction as many people as you have. Thanks again.

    20. Creator Tom Smith on September 21, 2012

      I hope you come out of this whole thing OK. I like your stuff and this all shook out in a real bad way :(

    21. Creator sarina on September 21, 2012

      I was a little upset with the last post, feeling taken advantage of blah blah, but then I was just really happy for you for not being as sad as you'd seemed. I'm sorry that you are actually that sad. I hope you find a safe place to live and I hope this book's sales help some.

    22. Creator Zachary Garrett on September 21, 2012

      Let us all love John Campbell.

    23. Creator Charles Buford on September 21, 2012

      There are many things that are funny, but your things are funny in a way that I have not seen anywhere else. I enjoy reading your works and drawings. They have helped me through a few difficult times in my life such as when I worked on a suicide hotline. Your works are also funny to people there on both ends of the phone.
      I hope that you are successful in making your home, regardless of whether or not you choose continue to draw 'sad' cartoons.

    24. Creator VDZ on September 21, 2012


    25. Creator sarshin on September 21, 2012

      I'm going to assume that the part about having the book done by the end of the year was a joke as well.

    26. Creator Brian J Henry on September 21, 2012

      I know a couple people already said it, but all that went through my mind while reading this was this:
      I love you.

    27. Creator Amy B on September 21, 2012

      I love you

    28. Creator Peter Yeh on September 21, 2012

      Whelp got me good.

    29. Creator Chris Essssss on September 21, 2012

      so basically it's everyone else's fault


    30. Creator Darren C on September 21, 2012

      dear john, i found both of your updates funny. i also found them sad. i knew when i read the last one that some people would believe it, and i felt sad imagining these peoples' feelings and facial expressions as they read it. i felt discomfort, knowing that you too knew some would believe it, and were doing it anyway, and that you probably felt the same discomfort, only much stronger, and were intentionally causing yourself and others to feel that way to be funny, and i found that funny. the kind of funny where i giggle absently and then grin a bit, but afterwards, instead of my facial expression returning to normal, it becomes a very sad one, which really is the funniest part. our sad facial expressions are the punchline

    31. Creator Grey Johnson on September 21, 2012

      Thank you for explaining a joke to the Internet.

    32. Creator Chris Finebeard on September 21, 2012

      John Campbell, I understand. I've met people who thought I was pretending to be depressed for some kind of gain. Don't worry. You will be ok.

    33. Creator Matthew Farris on September 21, 2012

      john campbell, I do not know you but I find myself continuing to love your work. You have helped me laugh about struggles in my life in a healthy way, which almost nothing else I've found has been able to do. I've felt understood and empathized with and encouraged.

      I also particularly enjoy other things about the comics, like the Prufrock references in the early party scene, the observations about art as in the "artist's cafe" and history of art comics, commentaries on nerd culture ( the you-are-terrible, this-is-not-a-joke one for instance), and especially a few here and there about music criticism which make me laugh so hard! ^_^

      Thank you, and please keep up the good work.

    34. Creator Sam Smith on September 21, 2012

      I think I love you, John Campbell

    35. Creator Scott F on September 21, 2012

      Hey John, I thought your last update was hilarious and brilliant satire. This one is wearing out the joke and neither amuses nor really clarifies. Shut up for a while and make our books. Thanks.

    36. Creator David Browne on September 21, 2012

      I don't know what's real anymore.

    37. Creator Ben Morse on September 21, 2012

      The best thing about your work is exactly the last three paragraphs of this update. You find things funny, and can frame them as funny, that nobody else can. It is usually threatening and unsettling but it's very valuable to me.

    38. Creator naptalan on September 21, 2012

      I am (pretending to be) a depressed person and I found this update very funny.

    39. Creator Matt Donaldson on September 21, 2012

      I'm disappointed that anyone who is a fan of your work and the very particular emotional space it often occupies is not capable of parsing your last update, but the Internet is wide and deep, and the beasts in the black varied and strange.

    40. Creator Colin J. MacDougall on September 21, 2012

      Yes OK I find this acceptable OK cool yes

    41. Creator Grant on September 21, 2012

      I love you