Baggywrinkles: A Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea (Elea Press, 2016)

By Lucy Bellwood ’12

Reviewed by Katie Pelletier ’03
Lucy Bellwood Baggywrinkles

Lucy Bellwood is a self-descibed adventure cartoonist with an interest in sailing. In her recent full-color educational and autobiographical comic series, Baggywrinkles: A Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea, (made possible through a successful kickstarter campaign) Lucy brings tall ship history and culture to life with humor and smart, captivating illustration.

Lucy’s graphic work is remarkable. Lucid, quick-to-read, expressive and captivating, her drawings have an Hergé sensibility: clear line style and a pallette that tends towards bold pastels. She employs a pleasing diversity of layout, setting, and figurative detail in panels that are dynamic and always amusing.

The title of the collection takes its name from the soft rope coverings designed to prevent sail chafe, just one of the many maritime topics and ephemera covered in a series of delightfully illustrated sections. Topics range from scurvy (“the biggest, baddest afflicion in all of maritime history”) to tattoos (do you know the meaning of a pig tattoo on the foot?) to the splendor of being on a tall ship at sea.

Lucy has been an avid lover of sailing and tall ships for many years, having worked as a deckhand aboard the Lady Washington (which features in the book). She has also spent time aboard the Exy Johnson in San Pedro, California, the Charles W. Morgan (the last wooden whaling ship in the world), and a Schmidt Ocean Institute research vessel. Such expeditions inform this work, which teams with her infectious enthusiasm, as well as her other adventure comics, which can be found on her website.