Beaked whales and a recap

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while! With a gap of this long since my last website update, it’s hard to know where to begin. Thirteen months is a long time, and most of it has been spent with my nose in books, journals, articles and other sources of information. And I’ve been loving it, too.

You’ll see from scrolling through the last couple of posts before my hiatus, I’d been working on a bigger, longer project in the background, about whales. I don’t think it was long after my last post that I started putting all my energy into this. There is something oddly addictive about researching a fairly broad group of animals… I recommend giving it a whirl if you have some spare time.

The thing I’d forgotten about researching something so intensely – which I last did at university – is how every single article, book, or piece that you read then leads you to another thread to follow, and before you know it, you have a Miro board that looks like a stationary store has thrown up. (And the below screenshot isn’t even half of my notes.)

And that’s probably how I lost a year.

Well, kind of.

I did bring out a short comic about the changing of the seasons at the very beginning of this year, so if you’re interested in seeing more of that you can check it out on my Etsy store. It’s called This won’t be forever and it’s inspired by very old Japanese travelling poetry and the changes that come with the difference in weather and fluctuating daylight.

With Good Comics, I’ve also been fairly busy. Earlier this year we worked with the local University’s Zine Society, to do a talk about comics publishing, and then opened submissions for their own anthology comic with the students. We’ve also done comics shows, getting straight back into the wonderful atmosphere of talking comics with people after the pandemic brought it all to a close.

So, enough of this catch-up, let’s talk whales. Beaked whales to be precise, and even more precise – Sato’s beaked whales.

Whale go on then

It’s been nearly three years since I started researching whales for a longer-length comic I knew was going to be bigger than I could dream of. And after spending all this time researching so many avenues, species and areas of history I was starting to get completely and totally lost in academia and writing. With not much to show for it, though I have been keeping a sketchbook going.

And then in May, one of the many articles I absorbed kind of stuck with me as something I could do as a short comic. This article was about Sato’s beaked whales, posted by the fantastic Hakai magazine (they always have great articles, so check them out if they align with your interests). And, it got me thinking. Isn’t it nuts that we’re still discovering new species of whales? How did they even do this?

So, as I’d been elbows deep in researching, I thought it might be fun to just make a short comic to get some of these thoughts out. I read what I could of publically-available journal articles and internet articles and just started writing, re-writing and editing a short script for a comic about these mysterious guys.

And now, a few months later and a lot of exciting emails back-and-forth with one of the co-authors of the scientific paper, I am nearly NEARLY finished with this comic. It’s 6-pages long, but it’s changed my whole perspective of what I’m doing with this whole longer-length comic I want to make. And I’m so excited.

I could go on and on, but we all probably need a break from looking at the screen and I need to curb my excitement with some camomile tea. But keep an eye out for the finished comic. Even if you don’t, I probably won’t shut up about it, so you’ll see more soon.

Thanks for reading!

Rozi x

Autumn light

Hi all,

We’re already halfway through October, three-quarters of the way through the year, and I’m about two-thirds of the way through my second coffee of the day. How poetic!

After the madness of the school summer holidays, I’ve spent the last couple of months getting my priorities in order – trying to focus on looking after myself and my goals, whilst juggling work, kids’ school, my relationship and not being an inactive blobfish. I’m in a pretty good place right now, which is a bonus considering the days are closing in and I got rained on yesterday. So here’s a little recap of what I’ve been up to.

Zanna submission

Back in early September, I spotted a call for submissions from a magazine/art collective called Zanna. I first heard of them from an alumni talk by Taya Martin (where I also presented) back in March this year. And I’ve been following them on Instagram ever since!

Zanna has some great opportunities out there, and its ethos is all about breaking down barriers to art and promoting affordability and fun initiatives. This is absolutely necessary, and I am a big supporter!

Back to the submission: as some of you may know, I’ve always been a huge fan of short comics – a lot of my first work was published in places like Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies and the Good Comics Dead Singers Society zines. So this seemed like a fun opportunity to mix things up a bit and work to a new theme/brief: Candyland. I submitted my 2-page comic just in time for the deadline, and I’m thrilled to have been accepted into Issue 10!

It’ll be on sale soon, so keep your eyes peeled and follow Zanna on Instagram for all the latest.


Whales, whales, whales

As you may have seen in my last blog, I’m currently working pretty intensely on a new comic. It’ll be far longer and in-depth than anything I’ve published to date, and all I’m willing to tell you about for now is that it’s about whales. The big, beautiful mammals that are so admired and yet so alien to our everyday life.

Here are a few more sketchbook pages for now, but rest assured, things are brewing in my ol’ headbox. Big things cometh soon.

A mural for our community garden

Finally, full-admittance that I’m now officially a crazy dog lady. Or, I care about our community garden. Or both!

Earlier this year it was proposed that our local nature-filled community garden should be concreted over, along with adjacent paths and a public car park to make way for more unaffordable flats. Thanks, capitalism. I use the garden a lot with my fur-child Malibu, so as well as petitioning against the proposed development, I decided to make a mural to spruce up the garden and show what it means to me and my dog.

The chipboard I used for the project was free from a neighbour, so all I needed was the primer, paint and waterproof varnish to protect it against the elements. It was pretty new for me to work on a larger scale and with acrylic, but I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s been out in the garden for a couple of months now, and we’re waiting to hear the outcome of our neighbourhood-wide opposition to the building work. Check it out:

And that’s it for now! As always, be sure to check out what we’re up to over at Good Comics and keep my pens and coffee fund well-stocked by visiting my store.

Stay warm and cosy, folks. Until next time.

x


Recent soul-warming books to recommend:

Autumn Light by Pico Iyer
The Day the Whale Came by Lynne Cox
Home Body by Rupi Kaur
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
(please buy books from your local bookshop, hire them from your library, or failing that, Hive is great)

Err, how is it nearly September?

Hello everyone,

I can’t be the only one who feels like 2020 was a bad dream and it should be May 2021 or something? How is it nearly September? So many questions.

Well, since my last update in October, a fair bit has happened. I moved house, Sam and I adopted a beautiful greyhound called Malibu, I took way too many pictures of said dog, we at Good Comics successfully funded our Kickstarter campaign and released five new books because of it, I did an alumni talk at my old University, built a bed, self-published my weekly comics into a new book Eta Carinae, designed more postcards for my friend’s business, got Covid, got over Covid, did a charity run and all the while continued working on my next big comics project.

I feel a bit dizzy listing all of that. So, where to begin?


Since last year I’ve been working on a larger project than I’m used to – a comic, which at the moment, all I can share with you is that it’s about whales. Now, everyone loves whales, right? I’ve been doing a lot of research, reading whale-related books and reading around the subject into other areas such as craft, mythology and poetry. I even read Moby Dick, which was a very long ordeal…

Above: The fold-out whale book I created with trimmed-down cartridge paper, pencil, ink and gouache along with mountboard and hand-dyed muslin covers, using shibori techniques in grey dye

Above: A gallery featuring work from my whales sketchbook, including playing around with inks, textures and researching stitches.

Fun, huh? This is a purely self-motivated project, so it’s great to be able to find new avenues of research and things I’d like to encompass in the story. On the flip side, having no real deadlines or timelines means this has a way of getting put to the bottom of my pile. Between work, kids and Good Comics it’s tough to have my own time. Or to allow me time to work on this.

I think that’s part of the reason I’m writing this now. No, not because I’m procrastinating(!), but to share this kind of weird, purgatory feeling of wanting to dive into a project but having a lot of other responsibilities that tend to come first. But hey, I’m working on my priorities and making a conscious effort to not let my own personal work fall to the bottom of the list.


In other news, I helped my dear friend Bisi with some more marketing materials earlier this year, for her homemade French-inspired foods brand Recettes Sucrées 1859. I’ve created more illustrative work for her before, but this was a lot more simplistic and in the style of some of her own packaging she’s using now. Check it out!

Bisi is always such a passionate person to work with, and her cakes and confisures are incredible. Check out her products here.


Finally, I’m running a short bank holiday weekend sale on my Etsy store. 15% off, no minimum spend, and no code needed. Just go to this link and check it out. If you haven’t already got one, you can pick up a copy of my latest comic Eta Carinae for just £3.40 in the sale, plus P&P.

Until next time!

Rozi x