Poaching has hit Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve hard. Over a decade, nearly two-thirds of the preserve’s savannah elephants were lost, most for their ivory.

In “Poacher’s Regret” an ivory smuggler and an ex-poacher in Tanzania describe in their own words how their illegal — and brutal — hunts worked. The story is told using comics journalism, with hand-drawn charcoal drawings.


This story was part of a larger VOA series on poaching. During their reporting in Tanzania, Idd Ligongo and Omary Kaseko recorded interviews with a poacher and a smuggler. The project editors wanted to describe the poaching hunt using graphics. I suggested we use parts of the interview that weren’t included in the documentary, to describe the hunt in their own words.

The illustrations were drawn in charcoal on heavy Rives BFK paper. The drawings were photographed and then colored using Photoshop. The text and responsive design were added using HTML and CSS. And in a moment of typography serendipity, I was able to use a font called Pangolin for the dialogue.

In addition to illustrating and designing the comics journalism story, I also designed and programed the project site and created an animated version of the story.