Friends and relatives of Bridget Finnegan know their lives are fair game. If their actions are crazy enough, or funny enough, or strike her as even mildly entertaining, they could end up in her blog. Even her significant other and his daughter make an appearance sometimes; she just doesn’t give them faces.
That’s one of her few rules. Another is that all things UNH are off limits. Oh, and animals are always smarter than people. Beyond that, almost everything else is fodder.
The campus webmaster and director of New and Emerging Media, Finnegan has been serving up her illustrated blog three times a week for almost a year now. To date she has more than 100 posts. A longtime illustrator who has two unpublished children’s books to her credit, Finnegan began blogging as a way to further challenge herself.
“I’ve been an illustrator for a long time and decided it was time to challenge myself and improve my storytelling skills,” says Finnegan. “Doing the children’s books was fun but I’ve found I like an older audience. I can do things in the blog that I couldn’t do with kids.”
That’s true. The humor is often adult-geared, as pointedly shown in a blog entry tied to recent headlines that has a brown-haired, bespectacled character named Bridgee talking about flossing.
She pokes fun at the things we all do or think or say but would never admit to. Like the post about what really happens in Vegas or the one where Bridgee goes to confession with laments so inane the priest makes a confession of his own. Or the one about being on the telephone with a person who doesn’t need to breathe when she’s updating you on her life.
“Sometimes I see or hear things that I think would make a great blog. It might come from a conversation with a coworker, or something in the news,” Finnegan says. “So I keep a little book where I write down ideas,” Finnegan says.
Many of those ideas come from an incident that has happened in her life, like the time time she met “Where the Wild Things Are” author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, and when she traveled to British Columbia. As her parents get on in years, Finnegan just might introduce an old “Bridgee.”
“Bridgee is me and it’s not really me. As a fictional character, I can make her say or do things that I find hilariously funny or absurd that I couldn’t get away with saying or doing,” Finnegan says. “It’s such freedom. One advantage of having a character that is you is that you can be so self-deprecating.”
In addition to past work as a freelance illustrator, Finnegan had a stint at a toy manufacturing company where she won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award for her doll clothing and packaging designs. She came to UNH in 2001 as a graphic designer. You may have witnessed her illustration and animation skills in a holiday card, or through a virtual tour of UNH, or when you were trying to understand space plasma physics or the Ecoline Gas Landfill Project.
Finnegan’s next challenge has her thinking about doing short films or a series of shorts; she already has a couple of ideas. She also would like to turn some of her illustrations into a book. It’s all a matter of finding the time.
“Right now, I’m trying to entertain people for six minutes a week,” Finnegan says. “Even if the readership doesn’t grow, there’s enough value—and entertainment—in it for me to keep going.”
To check out her blog visit www.bridgetfinnegan.com.