The illustration of Caroline Parkinson

Illustration, caricatures, sketches, and comics

May 31, 2017
by Caroline

Brinklow Castle


A sketch from the top of Brinklow Castle, walking distance* from my house. Warwickshire is mostly  flat, so there’s an spectacular 360 degree view from the top of the castle mound. It was a windy day and that’s reflected in the sketch, but not in the photo I took from the top.

Brinklow Castle is beyond the “small wall” stage of archaeology, it used to be a burial mound and I’m sure that someone’s dug it up at some stage but in modern times there’s nothing but some grass covered mounds and picnic tables. My archaeological knowledge is sketchy but I assume that the picnic tables are from a later date.

.*quite a long walking distance!

May 10, 2017
by Caroline

More sketches from Sicily

opera street nomafia

The top sketch was drawn while I was watching opera on a big screen in Palermo, in the middle of a rainstorm. It’s so messy and energetic that no one else can understand what’s going on. I have other sketches, drawn in the dark, and down mines, and in caves, that are similar, and often commented on, while friends hold my sketchbooks the wrong way up. They’re very evocative to me.

The other two pics are Masala, from the town square, and Palermo, the road to the airport, under the “No Mafia” sign


May 3, 2017
by Caroline

Sketches from Sicily

buswindmills windmill2

Helped with a University trip to Sicily recently- here’s some quick sketches of the coach and the salt pans, in a Moleskine sketchbook about 10cm square. The ink bled badly through the paper. I’ve never really gotten on with Moleskines, people who love them tell me that I’ve obviously bought the ones with the wrong kind of paper. All of them seem to have the wrong kind of paper for me.

April 19, 2017
by Caroline

Urban Sketching-Coventry in March



A couple of seethes from an urban sketch crawl in Coventry. The Brittania Hotel is one of the grimmest Brutalist buildings in Coventry, a hotel chain voted the worst in the country, built on concrete pillars across the road to the bus station. What’s not to love?

The second picture is the interior of Drapers Bar, an example of good modern architecture, and local craft beer. I used coffee to colour this picture- it didn’t really work. Maybe need to start drinking espresso?


April 16, 2017
by Caroline

Enter the comic

 I haven’t updated much lately because I’ve been working on my new webcomic, which debuts tomorrow, Monday the 17th April. Updating twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. 

You should check it out!


A comic of ghosts and gunpowder, set in 11th Century Japan. Guaranteed to be the best web-based graphic novel about Japanese exorcists that you’ll read all week.

Genza, a exiled nobleman-turned-monk, is offered a chance to redeem himself by undertaking a perilous journey to Heian Kyo. Will Genza be prepared to confront his own demons in order to save the life of the man who exiled him, will his daughter Masako make a new life for herself in the city, and does a stranger met on the road offer a chance for a new way forward?

The Historical Setting

Heian Japan ran from roughly 780 to 1160 and is seen as a golden age of Japanese culture. It produced arguably the first novel, Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji, and one of the most famous ancient diaries, Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book. The authors worked as ladies-in-waiting to rival empresses. There’s a snide reference in Murasaki’s diary criticizing Sei’s writing as “presumptuous” and “full of imperfections”, and a small but active modern Sei/Murasaki slash fiction fan base.

The Heian period is also known for the art of writing poetry, the founding of the modern city of Kyoto (Heian Kyo) and the beautiful costumes worn by high ranking court ladies.

The Comic

I was introduced to Heian culture as a teenager by Liza Dalby’s novel The Tale of Murasaki, and read as many books written and based in the period as I could get my hands on. Several years later, on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto, I wondered what it would be like to make the same journey a thousand years before. Eventually that thought became this story.