Expedition comics? What?

I’m Giselle and I like a lot of things – tramping, cooking, crafts, crosswords, collecting junk, gardening, watching nature documentaries…all kinds of stuff! I will admit there is kind of a genre to my interests.

But there are two things I love doing beyond anything else.

The first thing is drawing pictures – I’ll never get sick of drawing pictures! It’s the best! I’m very lucky I get paid to do this as a freelancer. I want to be the best illustrator I can possibly be! I want to illustrate books for children, and I want to make comics too. You can see my work here: www.giselledraws.com

The other thing is going on wild adventures in the remotest parts of New Zealand. I love where I live, but I’m never not pining for the outdoors.

Over the last 10 years I’ve done lots of tramping, but tramping can only get you so far. So I’ve also done a whole bunch of volunteering for the Department of Conservation – I’m more than happy to pay my way in hard labour if I get to visit (what I reckon are) the most amazing places in the entire world. Scrubbing and bleaching used root trainers in the cold and rain for hours at a stretch is fine with me if I’m sharing an island with 40,000 tuatara at the same time.

I’ve thought a lot about becoming a ranger, but I’d never be happy leaving my illustration career behind. But if I don’t prioritise skills that will make me useful on a conservation or scientific expedition (whether paid or not) I’ll never get to experience the parts of New Zealand that I have a fierce and ridiculous yearning to see. More than any other place in the entire world I want to visit our Sub-Antarctic islands, and most ultimately Antarctica.

I’ve travelled overseas a bit, but nowhere gets me excited like New Zealand does. I love mangrove swamps! I love sub-alpine meadows! Glaciers! Raging coastlines! Pebbly bays! Muddy rivers and wild white torrents! Fiords! I even love scree slopes and knee-deep mud. I get excited about our plants and our fungi, and every creature from flax weevils to albatrosses.

So I have thought of a solution. I want to be an expedition artist!

Not like the guys on the Beagle and Endeavour, because I don’t think I’d be very good at that and it wouldn’t get that many likes on Twitter if I tried. Nobody needs me to sketch coastlines and keep a record of plant and animal observations.

What I want to do is share everything that I love about our wild environment in a way that will educate and inform but also just be kind of funny and entertaining and cool. I think comics are a good way to do this. I want to draw comics that are as much about mind-blowing scenery as they are about trying to find a patch of ground soft enough to dig a hole to poop in.

So…err…how do I do this?

Well, I don’t know.

This blog is about me figuring that out.



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