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Rat Tales

One of the notable events during the Lockdown 2020-2021 and into 2022 was the emergence of rats as many restaurants - and hence the food waste dumps on which they normally rely - closed. This meant that many rats started to enter houses and gardens, including my own. We had previously had the occasional rat, but the numbers in which they suddenly appeared - up to six in one compost bin on one day. They also bred in the wall cavity of our neighbour's new extension and came under our fence, despite all the bricks and stones and peppermint oil placed in an attempt to keep them out. Equally seriously, they ate any bird or hedgehog food we left out and we had to stop feeding nesting birds and emerging hedgehogs. I became completely obsessed with scutterings in the loft above my office, gnawing sounds outside my bedroom and even in 2022 was still seeing rats out of the corner of my eye as I watched the birds on the bird table.

Rat Tales are two sketchbook-based tales for further development as graphic fiction.

Rat Tale 1  consists of spontaneous pencil sketches, pen and wash doodles and scribbled notes in my Everyday Sketchbook that conveyed my subjective experience. These overlay and respond also to the photographs by Elliott Erwitt that act as daily prompts on pages of the diary I was using.

Rat Tale 2 is a more subconscious surreal 8x5cm 'folded zine' narrative suggested by the random lines in oil pastel from a 'creative cut' sketchbook exercise from a drawing of furniture in my room.  These were then scanned using black and white document settings to produce a more edgy and abstract effect (compare the header image scanned as photo greyscale adjusted in Lightroom with the same sketch in the book below.) The different  experience of the rather jumbled page compared with leafing through the small sketchbook itself (only approximated by the slideshow) is also interesting.

Rat Tale 1 : Everyday Sketchbook

Rat Tale 2: Creative Cut Zine

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