The illustration of Caroline Parkinson

Illustration, caricatures, sketches, and comics

August 21, 2017
by Caroline

Beneath The Clouds-Researching for Webcomics

Researching for Webcomics

When you draw a webcomic, sooner or later you’ll have to do some research. For example, if your characters wield swords, you should know what different kinds of real-world weapons look like and how people fight with them. If you’re writing a science fiction story, learn what modern spaceships look like and why. If you’re planning to subvert expectations, you need to know those expectations and why they might matter. 

I write a historical webcomic set in medieval Japan. While there’s existing writing and art from that period, the language has evolved so much that the average modern Japanese reader would struggle to understand it. I understand almost no Japanese, and I can’t read kanji. Clearly, research was a challenge.

Here’s some tips that I’ve picked up.

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August 9, 2017
by Caroline

Beneath The Clouds- An introduction to Heian Japan


A Introduction to Heian Japan

I’ve been blogging about my new online comic for a while. The characters and the plot have been established, and our protagonists have started an important journey. 

But what’s Heian Japan? 

Everyone knows what historical Japan looks like, right- samurai, katanas, geisha and sushi.

Well, not exactly. Most of those tropes are from the Sengoku period or the Edo period, much later than the eleventh century. Samurai…well, they were around, but they weren’t called samurai yet, and most didn’t use katanas.

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July 23, 2017
by Caroline

Coventry- and katanas

I’m behind on my update schedule, forgive me, it’s been a busy month! I hope that you didn’t mind looking at sketches of my family’s cute dog for over a week.

-The first news item is that I’m currently developing a quick figure sketching class. I’m doing a free test run as part of Sketch Coventry’s next meet up. It is at 10:30 at 12th August at The Herbert Gallery Cafe and will last roughly three hours. Regular urban sketching will be taking place as normal in the afternoon. If you’re in Coventry and fancy learning some tips and tricks about quick figure drawing, check it out! 


– I was also employed to support Coventry’s 2021 bid for City Of Culture by drawing the Coventry skyline over the course of one day. The sketches were combined with quotes from Coventry citizens and combined into an art piece. There’s a picture of a section below. The circular car park on top of Coventry Market and I have sort of a relationship: one day I’m going to draw it and it’s going to look GOOD, dammit.


You can find more about the project, and Coventry’s City of Culture bid, at

-Finally, I’ve now started working on Chapter 4 of my Heian Japan webcomic Beneath The Clouds. It updates Mondays and Wednesdays (currently on Chapter 2, I like to keep at least a twenty page buffer) You can find it here:

I’ve attached a sneak preview of Chapter 3’s cover below. Those who would like to learn more about Japanese history can check out the History of Japan podcast here. That’s a tachi, not a katana, by the way, it just made a better title.