It’s been six months to the day since I last updated you all on what I’ve been up to. And it’s been a busy six months, for sure.
Between tying the knot with my best friend, playing in a handful of baseball games (and consequently being injured a handful of times), reading 20 books (3 of them about whales), continuing my research on whales, rebuilding the Good Comics website, tackling some family mental health crises AND going away a couple of times, it’s been… intense.
Intensity aside, it was a pretty incredible 6 months, and I’m grateful for it all.
(apart from the baseball injuries. Honestly, those things fly at you so fast…)
So, last time I posted an update I’d just finished working on Sermersuaq, and was getting ready to put everything aside to throw a big party thing called a wedding. After honeymooning in Lisbon (yes it was beautiful, and yes I wanted to try and get out to see some dolphins – but sadly it was too windy), it was time to get back on top of everything.
And first up was arranging a visit to the Natural History Museum’s off-site collection of whale skeletons.
Yep, you read that right.
Earlier this year I got in touch with Richard Sabin, principal curator of mammals at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London to show him my Sato’s beaked whale comic. Luckily for me, he loved it, and invited me along to take a look at the off-site collection. There were already a few artists and illustrators working there, and after an incredible day of conversations and studying the immense amount of bones, I came home excited and exhausted.
And so the visits have continued, travelling up early from the south coast to spend a day looking through the collection, standing face-to-face with Britain’s stranded cetaceans and casualties of our whaling past.
Initially, my focus was to continue looking into my research on the Bryde’s whale complex, which I’d started looking at much earlier in the year. Which I have been doing, but if you know anything about Bryde’s whales, it’s a very complicated story to tell and will take me a while longer to process it all into a story.
Visiting the collection and talking with Richard gave me loads of ideas for other areas I could research, including what I’ve been focussing on for the last couple of months: whale oil still pooling on the bones of skeletons prepared decades ago.
It’s taken me a while to get my head around exactly what I want to say in this comic. After a lot of planning and drafts, working closely with my spouse, (fellow Good Comics editor extraordinaire Sam), I have a script. There are a few gaps, but I’m mostly on the way to roughing it out and turning it into a ~40-page comic. Woohoo!
Still, it’s the early days of thumbnail sketches and working out spreads, so I’ll have more to update you on soon.
If you haven’t heard of the NHM’s secret cetacea collection, there’s a really good article about it here. Honestly, it’s one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and I’m so lucky to have had the chance to go.
That’s about it on where my head is right now. That and finally revelling in having very few plans and I can finally sit and write, draw, stare lovingly at the dog and enjoy the quiet(ish) life.
Until next time!