NBS Comics
Nature to save the world

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

NBS Comics 2024
…the call is now closed. The next call will be in late 2024. 

NBS Comics has been a big success, with over a million readers. We now open a new call for a new batch of comics. NBS Comics 2024 is an open call to comics creators all over the world.

Want to create a comic about nature that saves the world? About nature-based solutions to our shared global challenges? We are creating a new series of comics called Nature-based Solutions Comics, or NBS Comics; it’s a partnership between NetworkNaturePlus and The Nature of Cities, and funded by the European Commission.

A nature-based solution is some design or aspect of nature that is a solution to one of the many wicked problems we are facing today.

Create a love story to nature. Tell a funny story about how business-as-usual will be the death of us. Or a business or community taking an ecological approach. Convey a scene of nature solving our gathering problems, from floodwaters to urban heat, if we just let her.

This is an open call to all creators for proposals for short comics that explore graphic storytelling about the challenges we face as people and societies — climate change, biodiversity loss, stormwater surges, urban heat, inequity of green space distribution, social justice, and more — and how working with and not against Nature can help us create a world that is better for both people and nature.

A tip for people proposing ideas: make sure there is an NbS in your comic, and a solution found in nature to some challenge. This solution could be built nature or wild nature.

New to NBS Comics 2024: we offer the opportunity to be paired with a scientist or practitioner as a teammate. You can indicate in the application form your interest in this. This is entirely optional.

We welcome teams of artists and scientists to propose a comic!

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under project NetworkNaturePLUS 101082213. The work is also funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee [grant number 10064784].

The theme? Nature to save the world 

We invite comic creators from all over the world — using any comic style, various approaches to storytelling, many languages — to imagine comics about nature and her benefits. Based on submitted proposals, we will commission up to 10 comics and intend to publish them on both public platforms and on our own, purpose-built platform. After that, we’ll do it all again to continue to build a series. Check out our 2023 commissioned works here.

NOTE: we are not accepting animations at this time.

One of our hopes for this series is to tell good stories about nature that are both intelligent, entertaining, and change-making; from new voices; stories that reach more people. We want to create dialogue and raise awareness about nature and what essential role it plays in our daily lives.

NbS: Nature-based Solutions

Want to read this in a different language? See SELECT LANGUAGE at the top of this page.

A nature-based solution is some design or aspect of nature that is a solution to one of the many complicated problems we are facing today. These could be parks designed to flood with stormwater; or city greenways cooling urban heat; or re-wilded cities reducing biodiversity loss; or sand trapping to keep your favorite beach from flooding; or teaching children how to grow their own food; or a tree under whose shade we fall in love. It could be realism, or fantasy, or sci-fi; whatever your heart desires!

And without nature? Our problems grow worse.

NetworkNaturePlus is a resource for the nature-based solutions community, creating opportunities for local, regional, and international cooperation to maximise the impact and spread of nature-based solutions. Network Nature PLUS is funded by the European Commission.

Read more about NbS.
Want to know more? Read on to The Call.
Questions? Write us here: [email protected]

The Call

Who is Eligible? The NBS Comics Call is open to all comic creators, aged 18 or older; final comic submissions can be in any language. The application itself, however, must be in English.

Theme: “Nature to save the world”. Submissions must include, as plot elements or central ideas, both people and nature, and specifically with nature as a solution to social/environmental challenges; that is, a “nature-based solution“.

Style and Mood: Any style of comic. We like good storytelling, but the proposed work can be comedic, dramatic, present or future, realistic or fantastic or sci-fi, utopian or dystopian. It could be a love letter to nature. It could be a crime story or a sad tale of people in need. The storytelling can be simple and allegorical, or densely complicated. It can be pitched toward young people or adults. The art can be lush or simple.

Submissions: Propose a storyline, idea, or scenario that fits the theme. We accept any style or form of graphic narrative. Include a brief story proposal (storyboard or sketches optional but appreciated); artist statement of why interested; resume and portfolio/previous work (at least enough so we can see your style). Any individual can propose more than one idea, but each idea must be a separate and complete submission.

You are welcome to apply with a scientist-practitioner as a team of scientist and artist creating one comic. We will have a range of different scientists available after being commissioned if you wish to create one of these teams.

Commission fees: Comics that are selected for commission receive €1,500 to complete the finished work and additional €1,000 if it is selected for publication. It is our intention to publish all commissioned comics, but we retain the right to decline to publish any that are not complete or otherwise inappropriate.



Want to know more? Read on to Commissions.
Ready to submit? Click here.



Credit: Julia Louise Perreira.
  • From among the submissions, up to 10 proposals will be commissioned to create finished comics. NOTE: we are not accepting animations at this time.
  • Up to 10 completed works will then be chosen for publication. The expectation is for publication, but it is not guaranteed; it depends on the quality of the finished work.
  • Selection of commissions: Submissions will be judged on: (1) connection to and creativity of storytelling in relation to the theme of the call; and (2) evidence of quality prior work and innovation. We also appreciate an innovative approach to the call (e.g., in graphic style or interesting storytelling).
  • In some cases, the TNOC curatorial team will work with the appointed artists to help interpret nature-based solutions for the purpose of their storytelling.
  • Decision to publish: Finished commissions will be judged on (1) artistic merit (e.g., storytelling); (2) technical merit (e.g., drawing, shading, and, if appropriate, coloring skill); and (3) relevance to the theme of the call.
  • Selected proposals will be commissioned by 23 February 2024 to complete the proposed comic.
  • Comics selected for publication must be completed by 17 May 2024.
  • The selection committee reserves the right to modify the total number of commissions.
  • For works not selected at either stage, all rights revert to the creators.
  • We intend to publish accepted comics on both public platforms and on our own, purpose-built platform.
Ready to submit? Click here.


Read on for the FINE PRINT.

The Fine Print

  • We welcome submissions from all comic creators aged 18 and up (as of 19 January 2024).
  • Final commissioned works may be in any language; creators must provide an English translation of the text as a Word document.
  • Any individual can propose more than one idea, but each idea must be a separate and complete submission.
  • Teams of creators, including scientists, for example, are welcome.
  • Submissions that are incomplete at the deadline will not be considered.
  • All submissions must include a text with an English translation of the story idea if the finished story would not be in English. (Don’t worry: submissions will not be judged on the quality of the English translation; it just helps our jury work.)
  • Submitters must be the owner and/or hold all rights associated with the comic’s characters and story. Any submission determined to be a copy, reproduction, variant, or derivative of another artist’s work will be disqualified.
  • Works that have been previously published are not eligible.
  • We ask that submitted works to this opportunity not be simultaneously submitted to other opportunities. But if your submission is accepted elsewhere, you must withdraw from ours.
  • The decisions of the selection committee are final.
  • The selection committee reserves the right to modify the total number of commissions.
  • The selection committee will be made up of scientists, NbS practitioners, and artists.
  • We will be unable to provide comments on submissions that are not selected.
  • No proposals will be accepted that are racist, sexist, otherwise offensive, overtly sexual, or gratuitously violent.
  • Submitters will be asked in the submission form for which age groups the comic would be suitable.
  • NBS Comics makes no claim of rights on comics that are submitted to us but are not selected for publication.
  • The authors retain all rights to their comic, including characters, settings, and story.
  • The creators of comics that are ultimately accepted for publication must grant NBS Comics the right, in perpetuity, to (1) publish the comic; and (2) use the comic’s name, its art, and the names of the comic’s creators for promotional purposes without any payment beyond the commissioning and publishing fees.
  • After the publication, creators are free to submit their comic for publishing with any publisher or sell the comic without any payment to NBS Comics. Such uses, however, do not affect the rights of NBS Comics to use the work. (If you make a huge pile of money, we would appreciate a charitable donation, though.)
Ready to submit? Click here.


NBS Comics Advisory Group and Jury

A mix of comic creators, artists, designers, scientists, and communicators: Kjella Acosta; Carmen Bouyer; Emmalee Barnett; Rebecca Bratspies; Rubén Cristóbal Cruz Colbert; Marthe Derkzen; Ivan Gajos; Angel Guiñazo; Firdaous Halim; Lucie Lederhendler;  Hanuka Lohrengel; Patrick Lydon; David Maddox; María Mejía; Claudia Mistelli; Sandra Naumann; Heeyoung Park; Mitch Pavao-Zuckerman; Alice Reil; Michael Rosen; Kassia Rudd; Curtis Walker; Ibrahim Wallee; Diana Wiesner; Bettina Wilk

Image credits

The comics above are based on original photographs, all originally published at TNOC. Photo credits, top to bottom: Dragonfly (Bruce Roll); Parking Lot (City of Melbourne); Where is the shade (Rawle C. Jackman, Flickr Creative Commons); Pelican Skyline (Eric Sanderson); Bangkok flood (Richard Friend); Central Park (David Maddox).

All comic renderings and texts are by David Maddox.   EXCEPT: “All our cultural forms …” which is by Julia Louise Perreira; and “and so he rode his bike”, which is by Patrick Lydon.

NOTE: The images included here are simply “teasers” and in no way intended to limit the choices of the creators proposing ideas.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under project NetworkNaturePLUS 101082213
The work is also funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee [grant number 10064784].


Project partners

Special call on urban hedgehogs

Drawing of a hedgehog by Jana Walczyk
Illustration by Jana Walczyk: https://www.janawalczyk.de/

The European hedgehog is the animal of the year 2024 in Germany — this year’s host country for our international TNOC festival. Help us bring to life a story about these highly beloved wild animals! Among our 2024 comic call, we’ll include one about hedgehogs, sponsored by Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung.

Have you ever seen a hedgehog in your city? Habitat loss has driven these formerly true farmland animals to the urban fringes of cities all over Europe. Here, in the hedgerows, urban woodlands, and untamed gardens, they find food and shelter and build their nests out of leaves. But life in the city can be dangerous!

By naming the European hedgehog “animal of the year”, Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung wants to raise awareness of the human-made threats that are leading to population declines in rural as well as urban areas and promote for more wildlife and hedgehog-friendly landscapes and gardens. As part of the campaign, garden owners, for example, are invited to provide small passages for hedgehogs, so the tiny animals, that can not jump over fences or even small walls, can pass between gardens. A great example is the British Hedgehog Friendly Fencing campaign. But also other measures to support hedgehogs must be taken: leaving deadwood and leaves in gardens, growing native and untamed hedges and bushes, and turning off automatic mowers at dusk. By creating hedgehog and wildlife-friendly cities, we bring nature into our cities — and strengthen our relationship with the non-human world around us.


  1. We will commission one Hedgehog comic, in addition to the nine other comics in the general call.
  2. All the rules of the general call apply this this special call.
  3. An additional requirement for a hedgehog comic is that the comic must include the hedgehog as a main plot point and/or character.
  4. The commissioned hedgehog comic can be drawn in any language, but the final commissioned comic must be drawn in two versions — English and German — in addition to the original language (if not in English or German). A German version of the hedgehog comic will be printed and distributed as part of the animal of the year campaign.

More information about hedgehogs can be found here (in German).