Brooke Pelczynski is an artist, illustrator, and comic creating multiple sclerosis fighter, based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration. Brooke recently became the art director for Health Union, an online health community.
In 2012, Brooke was diagnosed with a neurological degenerative disease, known as multiple sclerosis, when she was a junior in college. After finding out she was diagnosed, she did not want to draw anymore. However, Brooke now uses her art to express the challenges of multiple sclerosis and has spoken openly about the struggles that come with it. Her main objective is to produce as much work as possible and to learn how to adapt and be open to new ways to create.
Brooke has spoken at Columbia University about the challenges multiple sclerosis has taken on her artistic life and continues to speak openly about the struggles it will cause in the future. Her work has been honored by the society of illustrators, she has been featured by Yahoo for International Women’s Day and is an Adobe Creative Jam winner.
Brooke was also featured as a consultant and illustrator on the revisited “DarkHawk” Marvel comic book for the 30th anniversary celebration of the superhero. Written by Kyle Higgins, the main character of a new, five-issue reprise of the original “Darkhawk” Marvel comic battles crime while navigating his way through being newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. "It’s very, very cool to see MS in the mainstream where it’s not portrayed as some super-debilitating disease,” said Brooke in the edited transcript. “And it’s nice to see a character go through the diagnosis process — which is the worst part — and then see them do something with it.”
In this interview, with our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Brooke speaks about adapting to adversity, knowing your value as an artist, and about the challenges multiple sclerosis has taken on her artistic life. Brooke also discusses how her art has helped her communicate, connect with others, and cope with this chronic disease. Brooke states that her work is now “more abstract and more beautiful than it used to be, and I think that has made me a better artist. I’m making work that makes sense to me and to my life and my diagnosis.”