Hello 2024

I love a New Year. It’s the list-maker in me; looking through what I’ve done in the last year, having a little dance, and looking forward to the new year and what’s to come. Some years are more difficult than others, for sure, but I genuinely find a new year so refreshing and exciting it’s hard to focus on anything else.

2023 was an incredibly busy year. So much so it makes my head spin – there was a LOT of behind-the-scenes progress on my overall whale project, including webinars, meetings and in-person visits to the Natural History Museum’s cetacea research collection. I also wrote and drew Sermersuaq, my insanely long-but-short comic about the Greenland Ice Sheet. Sam, Paddy and I built a whole new Good Comics website. I attended two weddings, one of which was my own. I had one honeymoon and one familymoon. One complete season as a New Forest baseball player. 33 books read. I shed tears, I laughed a lot, and I have a lot to be thankful for.

There were a few bits I didn’t get around to sharing on here in the last few months of last year, one of which was my linoprint whale oil mini zine!

Any true comic creator will know this scenario well: if you have a show coming up it’s almost essential to have a great idea to make something last-minute. In October I attended Winchester Comics and Zine Fair with Sam on behalf of Good Comics. It wasn’t too much of a rush in the end, and I have no regrets about making this mini-comic about my current whale oil research.

There are three left in my store if you’re interested in getting your hands on one. Every little bit helps support my research!

And that brings me to 2024. What’s next?

Well, I’ve been working on inking up a comic, and it’s nearly through its various rounds of editing for scientific accuracy and readability. This comic is directly related to the Natural History Museum and whale oil, and I may be biased, but I think it’s going to be incredibly cool.

Here are some sneak peeks at the inks so far:

So finishing this comic is my first goal.

Then, I’m working on the idea of self-publishing it together with the now out-of-print Karasu and one other story as a kind of whale collection. Which is a hella cool idea, so hopefully I can pull it off!

Between this, work and life, I’m still reading a lot and working on having some more mini-adventures near where I live. I took a day off last week, making an early visit to Old Harry Rocks, along Dorset’s Jurrasic Coast. Then I headed over to Peveril Point in Swanage for some land-based whale watching. I didn’t spot any dolphins, seals or harbour porpoises sadly, but my dog and I had a great time*.

*me definitely, the dog might have been a bit tired.

That’s it for now. More coming soon!

Rozi x

Whale hello, 2023

Happy New Year!

What a wild and busy start to the year it’s been.

First up, my Sato’s beaked whale comic Karasu is now out in the world! I printed a handful of copies in time for the Winchester Comics Fair back in November – and you can get a copy online from my Etsy store. It comes complete with a bonus explainer about mitochondrial DNA and how it’s used to confirm whale species.

But that’s not where it ends. Things have gone from great to even more incredible.

You may remember from my last blog, but I first picked up on this as an idea for a comic from Devon Biddal’s brilliant article in Hakai magazine. Once I’d finished the comic and gone through rounds of revisions picking up any pesky errors, I sent it over to the editors at Hakai – and they loved it so much they asked to publish the comic in its entirety online!

You can read the full story via Hakai’s website here.

I’ve been totally blown away by the comments from people all over the globe. Deciding to focus my time solely on creating comics about whales has felt a little lonely at times, but the incredible reception I’ve had for my Sato’s piece has been nothing short of amazing.

And of course, I’m so, so happy these beaked whales and Hal Sato are getting some much-deserved attention! Here’s a selection of the incredible feedback I’ve had on socials:

And that doesn’t even begin to cover the emails I’ve had from whale experts around the world. It all feels like a dream! Thank you to everyone who has reached out, it’s honestly made me so happy and proud to be a part of an incredible scientific and citizen science community 💙

As I mentioned earlier, you can get your hands on a physical copy of Karasu from my Etsy store. Or, if you’re in and around the Oban area, the Ocean Explorer Centre at SAMS (Scottish Association for Marine Science) have a handful of copies. The centre is also an incredible place that deserves your time and attention (and donations).

So, that’s most of my busy start to the year. I have a couple of possible new things up my sleeve, but I’ll share more when I can.

For now, I leave you with how Devon and I have made it into the reference section of Wikipedia’s article on Sato’s beaked whale! Big thanks to Dr Amanda Whitmore at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station Library for this. Fingers crossed it stays in!

Until next time! x