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Mutton-Rogers, Laya
Writer's File

Laya Mutton-Rogers

Wellington - Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Mutton-Rogers, Laya
In brief
Laya Mutton-Rogers, working as Laya Rose, is an award-winning freelance artist, illustrator, designer and animator based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. She has a particular interest in fantasy and nature drawing and featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, and has produced numerous book covers, illustrations and merchandise, along with the webcomic ‘Overgrown’. Laya has illustrated four picture books for Huia Publishers. She was nominated for Hugo Awards for her book art in 2021, 2023 and 2024.
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Mutton-Rogers, Laya Rose (1996 - ) is originally from Whakatū Nelson, but now resides in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Educated at Nelson Girls’ College, she has a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design from Massey University in Wellington.

Laya has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2015, during which time she has produced four picture books, cover design and illustrations for novels and the School Journal, and has designed and produced merchandise to sell at events and in her online store.

In 2018 she made the original webcomic ‘Overgrown’—following a girl who is trapped in a faery realm during a walk in the forest—as part of an Honours project exploring how storytelling in webcomics can be enhanced with interactivity and multimodality. ‘Overgrown’ was a finalist in both the 2019 SJV Awards (Best Professional Publication) and Chroma Art Awards (open comic section).

Laya’s first work with Huia Publishers, The Smelly Giant/Tio Tiamu by debut children’s author Kurahou, was published in 2019, and won the the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2020. In the same year, Laya Rose won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Professional Artwork for her cover of Charlie Arseneault’s Baker Thief, and Best Fan Artwork at the same awards for The Thirteenth Doctor.

In 2021, Laya produced three picture books with Huia. She collaborated with Ben Ngaia on Ngake me Whātaitai, a traditional story told in reo Māori about the two taniwha inhabiting Te Whanganui-a-Tara’s harbour. Ngake me Whātaitai won the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Te Uruuru Whenua o Ngātoroirangi, another reo Māori story in a graphic novel style, was written by Chris Winitana and illustrated by Laya Rose and details the arrival of Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa and his exploration of the landscape. Gecko Press described it as “stunningly illustrated.”

Also in 2021, The Eight Gifts of Te Wheke/Ngā Taonga e Waru mā Te Wheke was published by Huia. Author Steph Matuku commented on Laya Rose’s work on the book: “I love the palette, her drawings, how you can read it over and over and still find something new and interesting on each page. I love her interpretation of the story, and how real and beautiful she made the characters look.”

Laya Rose also won two Sir Julius Vogel Awards in 2021: one in the category Best Professional Artwork for the cover art for “No Man’s Land” by A.J. Fitzwater and the other for Best Fan Artwork for Blue and Red (This is How You Lose the Time War). The same year, she was nominated for a highly prestigious Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, and this nomination was repeated in 2023 and 2024.

May 2024
May 2024