The multi-talented Morag ‘Moogs’ Kewell is someone I’ve known through the small press/indie scene for a while and her illustrated diaries, Big in Japan & Crossing Borders, were an inspiration to travel more AND read more comics.
What was the first title you worked on?
The first comic I self-published was called ‘Gaijin Da’ (There’s a Foreigner’) which was a travel diary about my first trip to Japan in 2007. It was hand photocopied and stapled and only 10 copies were ever made because it was terrible.
How has your work changed since then?
My early stuff was very stark black and white. I used to favour traditional drawing and inking but was never very good at it. For the last few years I’ve been working between traditional coloured pencils which I feel suit my work better (but takes much longer), and using a graphics tablet for digital inking and colouring.
Who are your main influences?
My teenage love of manga (specifically Sailor Moon), Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison) and Liz Prince (Will you Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed) were big inspirations in my early work, both in stark black and white style and in making short 3 panel gag strips. These days I’m very influenced by Craig Thompson’s (Blankets) and Lucy Knisley’s (French Milk) travel work, an indie manga artist called Kan Takahama and a french artist called Florent Chavouet who has written two beautiful colour pencil books about Japan. Shoujo Manga is probably still in there too, because it was what inspired me to draw as a teenager,I catch myself adding manga-esque things into my comics all the time, often unintentionally.
What comics are you reading just now?
I’m re-reading Alex Robinson’s ‘Tricked’ because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to search for something new to read. The last new comics I read were ‘Fanny and Romeo’ by Yves Pelletier and ‘Goodnight PunPun’by Inio Asano.
What’s the best thing about creating comics?
For me it’s immortalizing my travel experiences in a different way, rather than just having some photos and souvenirs (I have those too obviously!) I also like to be able to share those experiences and inspire other people to travel because I think it’s really important to do so. Occasionally someone will tell me that they were inspired to travel or used one of my comics as a guide whilst travelling and that makes me really happy because it’s one of my main goals in creating comics, which is why I often try to put in useful information, history, cultural and educational bits for travellers that perhaps a guide-book wouldn’t provide.
What are you working on just now?
I’ve just finished working on a project with a Doctor of Social Sciences at Glasgow University, whose research centres around prison system reform. ‘A Life in Pieces’ is a comic adaptation of one of her interviews with a female prisoner, recounting her life story and what her repeated sentencing means to her.
Now that’s done I’m really looking forward to getting back on with drawing my comic about my trip to Vietnam and Indonesia, and my occasional web-comic ‘Romance is Dead’. There’s also a follow-up to ‘A Life in Pieces’ and another more comprehensive comic about Japan in the pipeline, but finding the time is hard!
Where can we see you next?
For the foreseeable future, I won’t be selling at conventions, but you never know. I might miss it! My comics are available through my Etsy store, you can keep up with what I’m doing on my Rocketpuppy website & Facebook page and I also my web-comic on the Romance is Dead Facebook page too.
BIG thanks to Morag for taking the time to catch-up and keep an eye out for the next chapter of Crossing Borders which will launch later this month.