A Bird in the Hand

Rosemary Mosco’s nature comics make science accessible and hilarious, not to mention unbearably cute.

Some scientists scribble their stories as a bunch of formulas on white boards. Field naturalist Rosemary Mosco draws hers in comics featuring the woods and forests she loves to visit.

One of the nearly 100 artists, musicians, podcasters, and creatives selling their wares online via TopatoCo — an Easthampton, Massachusetts, company Take profiles in the November issue — Mosco calls her science and nature cartoons Bird and Moon.

Comic by Rosemary Mosco

Comic by Rosemary Mosco

She began drawing comics while still in high school — “for the school newspaper and that kind of thing,” she says. “I was always interested in science and art. [Comics] are a good way to convey information. It’s a way to do science and art, which is a hard combination to pull off.”

Mosco’s style is not in-your-face. Her colors are subtle to match her message, her recent Amazing Fall Migrations being one such example.

Mosco says she has several audiences in mind when she draws. “I like making comics for people who do natural sciences and work in nonprofits — they’re my heroes,” she says. “I like making comics that can give them a break and a laugh and a sense of camaraderie.”

She also uses her comics to teach. “I try to reach people who don’t know a lot about that stuff,” she says, noting her work is mostly geared toward adults. “I’m aiming for people who might have a little bit of interest but don’t know about the pressing conservation issues or more obscure facts.”

Comic by Rosemary Mosco

Comic by Rosemary Mosco

Mosco, who lives in Massachusetts, works part-time in a nonprofit. “It gives me exposure to people. I don’t do as well with the antisocial lifestyle,” she says. “It helps keep me current. The rest of the time I do comics.”

In addition to selling her merchandise through TopatoCo, Mosco publishes her work online via Patreon, a new website for creators. Sponsors sign up on Patreon to pay creators when they publish. “I get money when I publish a comic and interact with the people who sponsor me.”

When Mosco isn’t drawing, she’s hiking. “I think of it as work,” she says, “and coming up with new comic ideas.”

Emily Hannigan-PageA Bird in the Hand