Wallis Eates & Headway: Like an Orange

Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming book about some of our artistic members in 2019! Learn more about Eates' graphic novel, how we partnered up, and thoughts from one of our members on the project.

In 2016, Headway welcomed Wallis Eates, a talented comic artist, to stay with us for six weeks. Filled with new experiences and stories from our artists in our ‘Submit to Love’ studio, Wallis was inspired to share her experiences through words and pictures in her upcoming autobiographical graphic novel titled 'Like an Orange’.

As a practicing comic artist of four years, Eates specialises in autobiographical subject matter and collaborative community based projects. Whilst completing her creative residency with us at Headway, she was able experience first hand a kaleidoscope of perspectives of how art serves a greater purpose in one’s journey through brain injury.

“I loved my time in the studio,” Eates adds. “It was such an inspiring place to be and that’s what I want to capture in ‘Like an Orange’. It will be full of unique stories and artwork, exploring what it is to face challenges to memory, identity, ability, and to develop a whole brand new voice."

Our Communications & Fundraising intern, Diana, had a quick chat with one of our Headway artists, Phil, to get his thoughts on the project: 

Hey, Phil! Do you remember Wallis Eates from last year? 

Very much, that poor girl had to endure me, that’s how I remember her very well. She’s a lovely girl.

What can you remember about her when she was here?

I remember I had to associate names and I remember asking her, "How can I associate names," and she said to me, "Oh um, associate me with Wallace and Gromit,” so within that moment I just thought "Wow I love that," because that’s sort of where my head would go anyway... Wow, yeah, Wallace and Gromit, yeah that’s a good association.

Wallace and Gromit, that's clever! What do you think about her making a book about her time here?

I think it’s amazing. Something about an orange… it was this orange… like an orange! And there was this um… I don’t know what you call it. Is it a slice of an orange? I think that was the thing… and it resembled the brain. I think I like her way of thinking out of the box. It’s incredible to see it. When you see it, it makes sense. It makes a lot of sense.

She’s a gentle soul, she’s a very gentle soul. I remember she told me about her past story and that was my running joke with her... She’s a soft person who it was lovely to be around. She made you feel comfortable...

What do you think about this portrait she drew of you?

When I seen this picture, it messed around in my head because she was only there for about 10 minutes drawing it... and it’s not normal for me to have a portrait drawn of myself. When have I ever had a portrait of myself? It feels like the first time. I think it’s amazing, I really do think it’s amazing… but it was the first time, and hopefully she didn’t think that I thought “oh my god, what has she done," you know what I mean? Because I mean my face might have shown that but inside I was like “No this is incredible,” and it’s lovely to look at, it really is and the detail in it is great, you know? 

It is incredible... Do you think you would be able to capture people the way that she’s been able to capture people?

Who me? No, no. God, no. No, no. I think she taps into your heart. She’ll tap into your heart, she’ll tap into your feelings, into your soul. She gets it. That's how it feels for me…. She has that way of just tapping in. As much as she’ll do a portrait, she’ll add to the way that you are as well. She adds your feelings, your emotions within that picture… and um yeah, yeah… incredible, incredible, yeah it really is.

Eates’ crowdfunding campaign currently has a number of pledge levels available for supporters, ranging from £10 to £2000. Each level comes with its own set of rewards (in addition to a copy of the publication) and we have just partnered up to offer lucky £50 pledgers a ticket to our upcoming Headway Eats supper club on 3rd May.

Headway Eats is a relaxed dining experience led by a group of brain injury survivors who are rediscovering new talents and skills. Guests are treated to a three course menu, which has been developed and prepared by the team using fresh ingredients over a number of weeks. Throughout the evening, diners are also treated to readings, musical performances, or talks from brain injury survivors which invites them to learn a little bit more about the charity’s inspiring community.

Like an Orange’ is a book about the members she has met here at Headway, incorporating their stories and artwork, whilst exploring the ins and outs that come with being a survivor of brain injury. ‘Like an Orange’ is set to debut in 2019.

For more updates on ‘Like an Orange’ or if you’d like to support the project, check out Eates’ page on the Unbound website or contact her by email

Interested in our next Headway Eats supper club on 3rd May? Buy your tickets here.