Stephen draws on life experiences for comic relief 
By Kate Sears

This comic designer dons his superhero cape, grabs his SurfacePro tablet and gets creative on his daily commute on the train. By day he’s an animation director at communication agency 21-19 in Melbourne — but out of hours he’s creating humorous and heart-warming comics.

At 29, Stephen Elliget takes inspiration from his life experiences, video games, comical jokes and pop culture references to create comics that not only get the chuckles flowing but also encourage his readers to spread the joy by sharing his comics with their friends on social media. His preferred source of inspiration is to encapsulate a moment that happened to himself or a friend, and share the humour or joy that he got out of it. Often, a lot of conversations with friends that have included endless laughter and in-jokes have inevitably become a comic — no brainstorming required. 

While growing up in Baxter, Stephen went through the phase of drawing the typical suspects like dragons, wolves, and Dragon Ball Z characters. His father was a teacher, so Stephen would stay back after high school playing in the computer lab while his dad wrapped up his work day. He’s self-taught and has progressed his digital skills from drawing with a mouse in Microsoft Paint and making stick figure animations in PowerPoint to using Photoshop and a tablet to paint digitally. 

Having been an avid drawer since he was a kid, Stephen moved on to study an advanced Diploma of Multimedia at Chisholm, then went on to complete a Bachelor of Multimedia Design at Swinburne. It was in 2010 in his first year at university that Total BS Comics was born from a desire to create short narratives that he could share with others. Bryce, his friend and co-owner of their brand, not only brought the ‘B’ to the name and subbed the comic dialogue (with high sarcasm levels) but also introduced Stephen to the world of web comics. They’d spend hours engaging in back and forth banter over coffee with Stephen manning the sketch book, where they’d find themselves saying, “Hey, that’d make a good comic!” 

“I realised that the ideas I get the most excited about tend to be the ones that come from the heart and from my own experiences,” said Stephen. “So I've been trying to embrace my own ideas a bit more.”

After a six-year hiatus due to full-time work and general life stuff getting the way, Stephen decided it was time to revive the comic with a fresh illustration style and new character designs, with Bryce taking a step back while remaining Stephen’s sounding board. Ultimately, Stephen’s dream is that one day the comic takes off to truly become something that he could dedicate more time to. 

“I follow a lot of artists on Instagram — some super-talented, some who just post the occasional scribble. I honestly just love seeing an illustration that portrays a bit of heart from the person who drew it. That’s what I admire the most, capturing an honest or emotive moment.”

To get your giggle on, check out Stephen’s work on Facebook at TotalBSComics or follow the comics on Instagram at totalbscomics