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Illustration etc. update for Plantae Aotearoa

Zenobia Southcombe

This week has been pretty lazy here at Blue Mushroom Books HQ. I have been making space at the home studio to continue working on the leatherback turtle picture book, and preparing for my Nature Journalling class (spaces still available), and watching lots of nature documentaries.

Plantae Aotearoa is slowly growing, with some of the completed illustrations below, and a few more people to interview. I found an old New Zealand Geographic magazine (Jul-Aug 2013) in an op shop that happened to have a piece on the Three Kings Islands, so currently I am working on a report about them. 

It includes what was once known as the World's Rarest Tree, and a raft of other unique flora including a species of hebe that's gained popularity overseas. 

I'm loving this learning journey as I research and find out more about how fascinating our plant life in Aotearoa really is. 


The museum book is back

Zenobia Southcombe

While walking in Rangitoto, I came across their little museum and realised that I really want to make the museum book happen. So I had a think about how I could make it manageable. I've teamed up with Jane Thorne (illustrator and Waiuku museum volunteer) and for now we're going to stick to museums in the Auckland region. 

In the future I am sure these will extend to books in other regions of New Zealand, but bringing another person in board and restricting location we can make this book happen. 

We intend to publish this in Spring 2019. 


Pictured: the bathroom cabinet in the Bach Museum on Rangitoto Island. 

Book updates December 2017

Zenobia Southcombe

One thing I have learnt from my personal publishing journey is that not having an idea is never the problem - the problem is having too many ideas, and wanting to pursue all of them. So, with Blue Mushroom Books I am going to keep the number of books manageable, increasing output only if and when there are more people on board.


Jonathon Hagger and I will be working on two books together. One is a revised edition of his thesis on mindfulness in leadership, which I will be editing as a service to suit a broader audience. The other is a publication that Blue Mushroom Books will publish later in the year, also on mindfulness, but with a focus on nature and applicability. Jonathon Hagger is a friend and a patron of my personal work, so I am thrilled to be working with him in this capacity.

Leatherback Turtles

The Leatherback Turtle book that I started work on will be pushed out to later in the year as well - possibly to 2019 - as it will be getting the AR (Augmented Reality) treatment from Mark Southcombe. This requires digital illustrations, which will be commissioned by an illustrator who is confident in that medium.

Native Plants

I am working away at the plant book (possible title Grow Wild), which is in the style of Ramble On - an illustrated anthology. You can see progress for this book via our Instagram page: @bluemushroombooks. So far we have pieces on orchids, carnivorous plants, and feijoas. Illustrations have just begun.

Auckland Creative Anthology

After much consideration, I have decided that I will be dropping the museum book for now. I have had one Auckland museum, Huia Settler's Museum, confirm an interview, and they will be pulled into another book project...

...which is an anthology in the style of my personal publication, the (wo)manpower zine series. This will be a collaboration with my friend and colleague, Bernice Austin. We caught up yesterday to discuss the project, and are very excited to be working on this together. We will be editing an illustrated anthology of interviews with creative people in Auckland, our home city. We haven't confirmed timeline yet, but will probably be looking at Spring 2018.