Shark Week: Meet the Team Behind 'The Life of Sharks'
If you love sharks, then you have probably seen their cartoons. They feature real shark facts mixed with humor and we love them! Thanks to creators Christian Talbot (writer) and Sophie Hodge (Illustrator) for taking the time to share your shark story with us.
Sophie lives in London (UK) and draws as a hobby with old-fashioned pen and paper. When she's not drawing she's studying for a new job, rock climbing, baking and fussing other people's cats.
Christian Christian lives in Dundrum (Northern Ireland). He's a comedy writer (which is what they call failed stand-up comedians) and when he's not doing that he likes to make guitars, watch Netflix with his wife and daughter and be pawed by his two border collies, Sam and Toby.
1. What is your favorite shark and why? Christian: My favourite is the basking shark because when they swim with their mouths open, they look constantly shocked which is funny.
Sophie: Whale sharks, because they’ve got all these gorgeous spots. It’s a right pain to draw them as I do it all on paper with a pen, but it’s worth it. 2. What is one shark you would like to see/swim/dive with? Christian: The basking shark but I think I'd like to see one from the safety of a boat because I don't know how to dive. Plus I think the sharks might round on me looking for royalties.
Sophie: I see a lot of amazing photos from Guadalupe in Mexico - I’d be really excited to go there and see ANY kind of shark really! I did an introductory dive years ago on the Australian Great Barrier Reef and someone said they’d seen a reef shark but the most I saw were some surprisingly aggressive angelfish.
3. How did The Life of Sharks get started? Christian: I started writing little dialogues on Facebook between sharks which my friends seemed to find funny. One evening I was in London and met up with Sophie for dinner. She pulled out a notebook with doodles and I didn't know she drew. I said, "Could you draw a Shark?". And the next day, the Life of Sharks was born. Our first cartoon went viral and so we're kept doing them!
Sophie: I first drew a shark for Christian in March 2018, and it just snowballed. I’ve recently been asking him if he can write some different sea creatures into the comics. Although I love sharks, my goal is to go from ‘Britain’s 5th most successful shark cartoonist’ to cracking the ’sea creature cartoonist’ top 10 by the end of the year.
4. Do you believe art is important for conservation? Chrisian: It's important but I think what people like Greta Thunberg and groups like Extinction Rebellion are doing is much more important. And more practical. But we hope we can help get the message across sometimes.
Sophie: We like to make people laugh AND make people think. Portraying sharks as emotional and complex creatures is immediately quite funny but in the end, it might just change their perceptions. 5. What message do you hope people take away from your artwork? Christian: That we're both very talented, funny, clever and physically attractive.
Sophie: I agree. 6. Do you have a favorite comic you've created? Christian: My favorite is the Passive-Aggressive Shark. I made myself laugh with that one. Which is a terrible thing to admit. My favorite of Sophie's artwork is the Anatomy of a Shark which still blows me away with how talented she is.
Sophie: That’s so nice! Occasionally I like to challenge myself by making more complex images like the Anatomy drawing and Lord and Lady Snootington (the ones with Victorian lord and lady outfits) which is really fun, but some of Christian’s jokes I have to keep coming back and re-reading because they never fail to make me laugh.