Saturday, March 4, 2023

Come see me at the Tampa Zine Fest!

Comics from the Wood is back!  I will have at table.  There will be live music and independent comics and zines of all kinds.  The artwork was designed and belongs to a wise organizer of the fest.  See their FB page for more information.  #tampazinefest

Monday, January 2, 2023

The Beginning and the End of 2022--in Animal Art

Based on sketchbook chronology, I’ve made an educated guess that the baby alligator is my first drawing of 2022.  Indisputably, the dragonfly naiad (larva) hunting a tadpole is my last drawing of 2022.  A voracious predator with a quick-thrusting extensible lower jaw, the naiad is a real-life xenomorph.  As a young woman on my guided walk at my other job as an Everglades Ranger put it, “Nature is metal!”


Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Mesozine #2, new dinosaur comic featuring work by me, Stephen Bissette, Denis St. John, and more


Collectors of my work, take note: online sales of The Mesozine #2 are live!  I contributed a two-page comics story and a one-page essay about the science behind my story to this eclectic anthology of fiction and nonfiction works about dinosaurs by diverse talents.  Other contributors include my Center for Cartoon Studies colleagues Stephen Bissette, Morgan Pielli, Bryan Stone, and our fearless leader for this volume, Denis St. JohnThe Mesozine #2 is 44 pages total, selling for $10 plus shipping at  It makes a lovely gift for yourself or for anyone you know who likes dinosaurs.
Cover artwork and photo by Denis St. John. @deniscomix,
Oviraptor sample artwork by me, © to respective creators.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

America loves watching an alligator try to eat a football

My eyewitness account and photograph of an alligator trying to eat a football and getting rescued, originally published on the Everglades National Park Facebook page, has gone viral! The Miami Herald, Newsweek, and the Belleville News-Democrat have picked up the story. I didn't think to include any football puns in my report because I don't follow the sport and don't speak football lingo. Luckily, the news outlets and public commenters can fill in with sporting humor. For example, Newsweek's headline: "Alligator Tossing Football Brings New Meaning to 'Go Gators' in Florida." :)


Here is the post as seen on the Everglades National Park Facebook Page:

On May 31 at Shark Valley, a park visitor spotted an alligator with a football in his jaws off the Tram Trail near the visitor center. The visitor reported the situation to park rangers.
This bull gator was familiar to the rangers as he is often seen at the start of tram tours with a female (or cow) gator he is courting and her young offspring. The gator held his head high in the air, with his jaws firmly gripping the football as though it were prey. He tossed the football and caught it again, adjusting his grip. The rangers called park crocodilian biologist Mark Parry.
Upon learning of the situation, the biologist headed to Shark Valley from park headquarters in Homestead, Florida. Luckily, the gator crushed his “prey” at a measured pace and was still working on it when Mark Parry arrived. Using two long poles and rope, he attempted to snatch the football; the gator dropped it and was thus saved from ingesting leather and plastic.
Shark Valley rangers have added the football to their collection of props for interpretive programs. We don’t know if the littering that caused this event was deliberate or accidental, such as from playing catch in an inappropriate location. The lucky alligator continues to delight visitors on the Tram Trail, as they walk, bike, or ride trams past!
NPS photo 1 by Ross Studlar
NPS photo 2 by Dylann Turffs
Image 1: An alligator behind some vegetation with a football in its mouth.
Image 2: A hand hold up the recovered football covered in alligator bite marks.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Spadefoot Toads: Summer of Love - NEW POSTER for sale on my Etsy site!

This poster celebrates the rugged desert amphibian, the spadefoot toad, and their courtship choruses after rainstorms! It makes a wonderful gift for anyone who likes frogs or animals in general. Give it for Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, birthdays, or any occasion.

From my backyard in Carlsbad, New Mexico, I witnessed the spadefoot toads' summer of love. Spadefoot toads survive the grueling desert heat and drought by hiding in burrows for up to three years at a stretch. They emerge for torrential rains and gorge themselves on termites and other insects. Males sing their courtship songs (which resemble the bleating of goats) and mate with females in ephemeral pools. The eggs develop into tadpoles, then toadlets, then miniature spadefoot toads in only a matter of weeks. The year 2021 had an unusually high abundance of rainstorms in Southeast New Mexico, resulting in a productive year for our spadefoots. It was remarkable to witness this miracle of life, from cacophonous chorus to rapid metamorphosis!

Couch's spadefoot toad (Scaphiophus couchii) was the dominant species in my neighborhood. Western green toads (Anaxyrus debilis insidior) also made some appearances in autumn rainstorms, and I heard calls from New Mexico spadefoot toads (Spea multiplicata stagnalis) during a spring storm.

I could write a book about the process of making this poster, from painting it physically in layers of gouache paint and India ink to modifying it extensively on my laptop computer. I commonly hit up Duckduckgo image search for photo references for my artwork. This time, I used mostly my own photos (and some by my colleague Tristen Gleason, who rescued many spadefoot tadpoles from drying pools). The project began in August 2021; it survived my December move to South Florida and the December crash of my laptop computer. Like a spadefoot toad waiting for rain, I persisted.


Friday, January 14, 2022

I live in the Everglades now

I moved to the Florida Everglades in December 2021!  It is perhaps the closest thing there is to a real Jurassic Park, with its abundance of big reptiles and birds, and conifers and palms.  In my district, Shark Valley, there are zero sharks, at least two crocodiles, and more alligators than I can count.  I am a sailor on horseback in this subtropical climate and miss huddling by the fire against the chill of winter.

Photos #1-2 of this post: ©Ross Wood Studlar.  Photos #3-10: NPS / Ross Wood Studlar


I drove to the Everglades from the west side through Big Cypress National Preserve and met my first alligator in Florida outside the Oasis Visitor Center.  

After an arduous move out of New Mexico and cross-country trek and before the arduous task of getting moved in to South Florida, I stopped at the entrance sign.

I got introduced to the Everglades wildlife ….


Friday, November 26, 2021

Unique Gifts for Animal Lovers

For unique gifts for anyone you know who likes animals or likes stories with pictures, check out my Etsy site, Comics from the Wood: Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!