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Dreaming of Auckland



I thought I’d post this Metro comic a bit early because it’s now just a few days out from the election and the central government is not supporting better public transport and bike/pedestrian infrastructure for Auckland – it’s hell-bent on building more super highways so its supporters can speed off to their luxury holiday homes. Which isn’t so great for carbon emissions and climate change. So yeah, I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted, but please vote, and not for the people currently in power.




Here is another comic that I did for the Storylines family day zine and comics table – this time I was trying to show how you can tell a story with minimal words. Also, as you can see, I was exploring the cocoon-like qualities of sleeping bags.

Hey, thank you everybody who commented on my previous post. It’s always so gratifying and interesting to generate discussion around comics. Now it’s time for me to be quiet for a little while as I finally have time to work on my Katherine Mansfield graphic novel. It’s been over 2 months since I last looked at it (how did I get so busy?!) but in a pique of frustration I quit a bunch of jobs, including my Metro comic, so I could concentrate on it. As you can see I’m still procrastinating, but, but, after I’ve finished this blog post and made myself a cup of tea and hung the washing out THEN I will work like the wind! 

Since I’m planning on being quiet (let’s see how long that lasts) I will tell you my news now: next Tuesday 16 September I will be on a panel discussing comics in a digital age with Dylan Horrocks, Li Chen, Richard Fairgray and Adrian Kinnaird. It’s at Auckland Central Library and it starts at 6.30pm and there are free drinks and snacks! See you there.

A place to stand – embarrassing encounters at the Word Christchurch festival




It’s weird getting to meet your heroes. I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that sometimes it’s better to not meet them. The relationship you have is imaginary – they talk to you, you imagine talking back to them. But the conversation is one-sided. This weekend I also met Kristen Hersh, who I love, and whose music was the soundtrack to the movie of my early-twenties life. She was very gracious, but again I felt as though I had constructed a relationship with someone that had nothing to do with the person sitting in front of me – the rather shy, awkward person who had way too many crazy fans offloading on her. I’m now reading her memoir and feeling as though she is revealing her truths to me only. But of course she’s not. 

Anyway, the Word Christchurch festival was fantastic. Hats off to Rachael King, who did inspired programming. 

(The chairs that I’m standing in front of in the final panel represent the people who died in the February 2011 earthquake.)

(And please excuse my awkward paraphrasing of Ellie Catton and Lawrence Fearnley – my memory is a bit dodgy and I know they put things differently)






I made this comic for Storylines because I wanted to show the children how you could make a mini-comic on one A4 sheet of paper that can fold up to be a book. I used our bunnies as inspiration because I also wanted to explain how you can use real life detail and morph it into a fantasy story. 


It was fun and exhausting running the zines and comics stand at Storylines – so many kids came and drew/wrote/collaged wonderful stories. I folded and cut and chatted for 5 hours straight. And that was straight after coming home from the wonderful Christchurch writers’ festival. I’ve got a comic I want to do about that one… see you soon!

Tiny and Big Ruins



This is my comic for the last issue of Metro Magazine – the new Metro is now out, wending its way to newsstands. I did get to see Tiny Ruins, and they were fabulous. The inside of the Crystal Palace was almost everything I’d hoped for – decaying splendour – and it put me in mind of Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter duet, where people went to theatres such as these to experience the dreams of the master dreamer. Unfortunately there were no flappers – only hipsters.


And here is a sneak preview of the comic I’ve got running in the next issue – it’s my public transport fantasia, where Auckland trains are reliable, you can hook bikes on the front of buses, and pedestrians get to share inner city spaces with trams. 


Last night I took the ferry across to Waiheke where I had my One Island, One Book evening at the beautiful new Waiheke public library. Public transport failed me – my connecting train was 15 minutes late so I had to grab a lift to the ferry terminal. And the last train back to Mt Albert left 5 minutes before the ferry landed. Arrrgh!!! Auckland, step up! 

It was so gratifying to be in a room where a significant number of people had read The Fall of Light and wanted to talk about it. They broke off into groups and vigorously discussed character and plot issues. They came back to report that I’d got the adoption part right, which I was deeply relieved about, because I didn’t have direct personal experience, and I had relied on research.  

And tomorrow I’m off to Christchurch, the big ruin in the title, to wave the flag for NZ comics as part of the very exciting Word writers festival programme. I can’t wait. Christchurch, see you there!



Sensory overload




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After this experience I was totally hyper. I was very grateful that I hadn’t brought Gus, who’s had an official ASD diagnosis, because he would’ve completely lost it, it and it took all my self-control not to lose it myself. 

Okay, news, news, news! This week is a bit crazy – I feel a bit like a rock star. 

On Wednesday I go to Waiheke Island to talk at the One Island, One Book event. Yes! I have colonised an island with The Fall of Light! 

On Friday I go to Christchurch to speak at the Word festival. On Saturday night I will be singing and dancing and maybe crying to Kristen Hersh.

On Sunday morning I fly back at 7am (eek!) to appear at the Storylines Family Day festival, where I will be running a comics and zine-making table for kids along with the wonderful Sophie Oiseau. Bring your kids along! Dress up as a big kid!

And I also have some other exciting news about editing an anthology of NZ women’s comics, but I will save that for its own special post. If you’re an NZ woman (living here or ex-pat) and a cartoonist, watch this space.

Self-portrait with Parisian socks



I bought these socks in Paris, in a little shop just around the corner from our apartment in the Rue de Saint-Denis. I bought them with the knowledge that my legs were the wrong shape for above-knee socks, that they would invariably slip down and drive me crazy, but I loved the print and the colour so I bought them anyway. The shop was in between a Lebanese restaurant which sold the most delicious stuffed eggplants, and a chacuterie, where I bought a slab of goat’s cheese. I wish I lived in Paris.

My ribbed turquoise jersey I bought in Palmerston North, in an op-shop off Pioneer Highway, where the circus used to come when I was a child. The circus, the circus! I remember the circus coming to my school, with its little shetland ponies and scary clowns, its trapeze artists with callouses behind their knees. Where are those little circuses now? How can I run away and join them?

I used my socks as a guide for colouring a comic:


Socks can be very useful, even when they slip down.


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