Interview with Rachel Arnow

Hi everyone!! Sorry we didn’t post last week, but we were in Yellowstone and there wasn’t any WiFi. This week I want to tell you about a cool interview I did awhile ago. As you probably know, I love manatees, so when I found out about Man versus Manatee I was ecstatic.  They are adorable comics about manatees, and they’re totally relatable. So I did an interview with Rachel Arnow, a recent college graduate and great artist, who puts up a new strip every Monday. I decided to post this interview now because we just saw Cali Perry (more on that next Monday), and she loves manatees, too, so it reminded me.


These comics are super fun to binge-read, or to read every Monday to help you ease into work (I always read the new one before I do blog work).
Rachel lives in Wisconsin, and she’s never seen a manatee (other than in videos)! So how did this comic come about? Here’s my interview:


Me: Why did you start to make Man versus Manatee?
Rachel: The origin of Man versus Manatee is a spontaneous one.  I did not always know what a manatee was, so after my friend Stephen described it to me only a few years ago, he helped me out by finding a good video for me.

The video is a young manatee nibbling a diver’s hand, and the level of adorable is almost too much to handle.  My thought after watching the video all the way through was, “This would make a great comic!”  So I made a three-panel comic that I named “Man versus Manatee.”  In effect, “Man versus Manatee” was just the name of that one comic.  But after showing it to my family and a few friends, I began to come up with new ideas out of the blue and couldn’t help drawing them out.  After four or five of them, my friends said, “You need to talk to Erty.”

Erty Seidohl is a sweet person who loves to help other people and has experience making his own webcomics.  So the general consensus was that Erty and I should get together to make Man versus Manatee into its own online comic series.  He is the proud webmaster of my comic, and to this day he handles anything outside of my realm of technical understanding and is my go-to person for any novel ideas that I have for Man versus Manatee.



Me: Have you always liked to draw?
Rachel: I am currently a studio art major and psychology minor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I have experience in silversmithing, ceramics, drawing and painting, and although I may not delve into process as much as many artists, I wholeheartedly enjoy the fulfillment of completing a body of work.  Man versus Manatee is a very odd and informal artistic endeavor for me, but it is also a welcome change of pace.


Me: What inspires your weekly comic?
Rachel: Each week, when pressed to come up with Monday’s comic idea, I am inspired by my interests in psychology, physics, art and biology, or some strange, random thing that a friend of mine does or reminds me of.  My friends’ personalities inevitably find their way into my weekly manatee world.


Me: Is there anything else you want to say?
Rachel: I think it’s important for people to know that I began Man versus Manatee after being inspired by only one encounter with the manatee, and that I continue to make the comic because the positive, humanlike attitude of the creature has the power to make people happier.  When I share my comic, I’m not sharing my art—I’m sharing the manatee.


P.S. The featured image (the one above the post) is Rachel’s first-ever Man vs Manatee comic!

6 thoughts on “Interview with Rachel Arnow”

  1. If Rachel would like to see live manatees, I invite her to change visit Columbus, Ohio! The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has the only manatee rehabilitation center in the northern part of the US. We have a permanent resident, Stubby, and have rehabilitated many other manatees throughout the years. They’re amazing in person.

  2. Lil, that was a inspiring interview. Rachel has so many interests that tie into her artwork. This comic strip is adorable for sure, they remind me of you describing your encounters with manatees in Florida.

  3. Great job, Lillian! I can’t wait for Jonas to read this. He loves manatees & comics too. I hope Rachel makes it to Florida soon so she can experience the majesty of the manatee in person. 😉

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