astrayinthewoods

A Stray in the Woods: the complete cat comic collection
250 full-color pages of Cat, Other Cat, and their adventures in the forest


The story wrapped up exactly two weeks ago, and in the meantime I’ve been working hard to finish preparing for my very first Kickstarter: funding a print edition of the A Stray in the Woods!

The printer I’m working with has a minimum run of 100 copies, and I can afford to pay for some of that cost; but a color book of this size is a lot for an individual to fund out of pocket, and the goal of this Kickstarter is to cover what I can’t manage on my own. I’m hoping that with the help of my readers, I can make the print edition of Cat’s adventure a reality!

So please, if you enjoyed A Stray in the Woods, take a moment to check out my little Kickstarter!

The video features an original score by the lovely and talented Paul Tuttle Starr, as well as a thrilling live-action cat coda at the end. (Note: I may be using an over-generous definition of “thrilling.”)

Fingers crossed! And thanks for taking a look!

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I’ll be at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD in just over a week, and I’ll have TWO new books for sale at table W17!

The print edition of A Stray in the Woods, which came out really beautifully!

And Visiting NASA #1, a minicomic version of the 27-page NASA comic I posted to Tor.com earlier this summer!

Plus lots of other fun stuff, Cat and/or Rocket-related and otherwise.

The show is on September 14th and 15th and admission is just $10! I AM SUPER EXCITED TO GO, and I hope to see some of you there!

Someone was asking earlier about my process for creating a panel in the A Stray in the Woods comics, so I put this together to give you the basic idea. All the panels are done entirely in Photoshop, although as you can see I sometimes thumbnail sequences out on paper beforehand.

This particular panel is from a ministory I just finished this evening, which you can start reading here.

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Last night, my good friend KL loaned me the use of her Print Gocco machine, her living room and her expertise. It took five hours, but we made over two hundred prints for the backers of the A Stray in the Woods Book Kickstarter! I’m thrilled with how well they came out, too – the photos really don’t do them justice!

Everyone who backs at the two “silkscreen print” levels – as well as all the backers at the “sketch” and “pet portrait” tiers – will be getting one of these in the mail very soon. There are plenty of slots left, if you’re interested!

Thanks so much to The Sockdolager for taking all these photos while we worked.

Just under one week left!!!  

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As I’m typing this, there are 39 hours left in the A Stray in the Woods print edition Kickstarter. Perfect timing for a last-minute, super-special bonus surprise for my backers!

These are letterpress bookmarks, printed by the masterful Sayre Gaydos at Peter Kruty Editions, a shop located just a few blocks from my apartment here in Brooklyn. I picked them up from the shop an hour ago, and oh gosh, I cannot believe how gorgeously they came out. 

So here’s the deal.

Every person who backs the A Stray in the Woods project at a silkscreen, sketch or “pet portrait” tier will be getting one of these. No extra money, no special additional tier – I’m just so grateful to everyone who’s helped my little cat comic project get this far, and this is my way of saying “thank you.”

There are still some silkscreen slots left, if you’d like one of these bookmarks and the gocco prints I posted about last week!

ALSO: As of this evening, we’ve made the final stretch goal and will be printing everyone’s books on offset presses. I honestly didn’t think we’d manage it, but…well, here we are! And man…these books are gonna look FAN. TASTIC. 

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> Cautiously approach the creature making sure to stay hidden.

You watch as it pulls the treetops down toward its face, snapping their thin upper branches. You can hear the whistling, windy sound of it sniffing at wood and leaves. You’re standing very close, now, but it does not look your way.

You think it’s searching for something.

>>>>

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Hey, remember how I talked about doing this forever ago? I’m finally doing it! The cat or cats of your choice, drawn in the style of A Stray in the Woods!

Things are temporarily not-super-insane around here, so I’m gonna start with ten cat slots. Once I’ve confirmed with you, you’re on the list! And if you miss this round, you’re first in line next time.

I’ll draw the kitties in the order they’re requested, and will only ask for payment AFTER I’m done with the art, mostly for my own peace of mind.

My email address again, just for clarity: awilgus@gmail.com

Cats cats cats cats CATS!!!!!

EDIT: Thanks for the reblogs, everyone!! Slots are still open, so send me an email and let me draw your kitty friends!

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S! P! X!

I hadn’t attended since 2007, and had NEVER tabled at the show, so this was a pretty intense year for me!

The weekend started out a little rough – when I went down to the floor with my awesome table-mate, Alisa Harris and all of our stuff, we discovered that our table had be moved clear across the room from where it appeared on the map. (Which both of us had helpfully posted to our blogs, of course.) Luckily the SPX staff were all extremely nice and apologetic about it – they put up a sign to direct people to the two tables that had been moved, and helpfully explained our new location to anyone who asked. Turns out I picked a good year to finally buy myself a banner – it made me much easier to spot from a distance, and Alisa could tell people to look out for it as well if folks were having trouble finding her.

Like just about everyone else, I was only able to see about half the folks I wanted to and bought a fraction of the books on my ideal shopping list. I really underestimated how much pressure I would feel to be at my table non-stop through the entire day – it seemed like every time I stepped away to use the bathroom or run (like, actually run) across the room to try and catch a friend at their table, I returned to discover that someone had come by looking for me. 

In the past I’d mostly sold licensed books that I’d worked on at big, mainstream shows like NYCC or fan-culture-oriented venues like anime cons, and the people at my table were there to buy a book about Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation, not because they particularly cared about me as a creator. Which was totally fine! And a relief, in a lot of ways – it meant that when I had to step away, most folks were perfectly happy to buy a book from my husband if they wanted one.

In retrospect, it should have been obvious that SPX would be very different. People who take the time to show up at a “Comics Art Festival” are there to meet creators, talk to them in person about their books, and support their work directly. There’s this intense, irresistible need to make a physical exchange with the artists themselves, even if they aren’t people you particular know or follow. And I mean, I was just as swept up in this feeling as anyone else – there were tables that I went by two or three times over the course of the weekend as I tried to catch the creator in person, despite how pressed for time and energy I ended up being. And if the artist was someone I knew online and really wanted to meet, I started running by once an hour until I finally tracked them down. 

I’d also never been to a con where EVERYTHING on my table was basically brand new. I have them up in my little online store now, but both Visiting NASA and A Stray in the Woods debuted at SPX, so I had no idea at all how people would react to them or what I could expect in terms of sales. TERRIFYING! Although it worked out just fine, in the end – I even managed to sell two copies of the Off Nominal minibook, which….wow, I had not expected, as it’s a self-published novella with no pictures at a comic book show?! (THANK YOU KIND STRANGERS. <3)

There’s been a lot of conversation on Tumblr and Twitter about how to present yourself at your table and how much you should interact with people on the floor, which is very helpful. But the advice can be so contradictory that after a certain point I have to just take a step back and trust my own instincts. Look busy by drawing in your sketchbook, but make sure you’re standing up and paying attention! Greet people as they approach your table, but don’t make them feel pressured! Don’t offer information that hasn’t been asked for, but explain your work so they know what they’re looking at! Be friendly and outgoing, but don’t talk to anyone or make eye contact! Hahaaaa I wish I was exaggerating – it’s enough to make me want to just put a “pay what you like” sign next to my books and hide under the table. 

Looking back, I feel pretty okay about how I handled things, but in the future I think I’ll let myself sit and draw a little more. I’d been scolded so thoroughly by past internet essays that I stayed on my feet for basically the entire weekend, but that was exhausting! So I’m happy for an excuse to maybe take it down a couple notches, particularly when things are slow.

All of that said, the stress and effort and lower back pain were TOTALLY WORTH IT! Gosh, it was great to finally get to be in a room with all of these amazing people, to catch up with old buddies and introduce myself to newer Twitter friends. 

But I somehow hadn’t really expected to be on the receiving end of that at all. And boy, it was intense! Fantastic, but INTENSE! Strangers had put me on their shopping lists! Kickstarter backers came to say hello! Lovely friends stopped to chat and bought books and made trades and were AMAZING! 

And you know who else is amazing? The whole Table W17 crew, that’s who! Alisa Harris (who was charming and great company and has adorable fans) and Paul Tuttle Starr (who had his VERY FIRST ZINE on the table oh my god so proud) and Scott Price (my lovely husband who bought us food and watched the table and drove many many many hours). I felt extremely lucky to have all of them with me.

Now, if I can just read all of these books before MICE next weekend…. o____o

ETA: WOW I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO MENTION the single-most unexpected and amazing thing that happened all weekend! Two very polite librarians from the Library of Congress asked me to donate both Visiting NASA and A Stray in the Woods to the collection! THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS! I’m so honored and overwhelmed, honestly, I can’t really get my head around it! THANK YOU, KIND LIBRARIANS!

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Hello! <3

First of all, I’ll be posting the next update for the Other Cat Mini Adventure really soon! I’ve been busy with the holidays and with other work commitments, but I plan to be finished with the story by the end of the year. So if you’re wondering what will happen with Other Cat and the Sky Foxes, keep an eye on this Tumblr!

Second, for lots of you the holiday gift-giving season is kicking into high gear, and so now seemed like a good time to post a quick update on the various A Stray in the Woods books and stickers and tee shirts and such that are out there, in case you have someone on your list who might enjoy having more Cat Comic Stuff in their life!

You can pick up physical copies of the book over here, as well as a couple of different “Cat Packs” that include stickers, silkscreen prints and letterpress bookmarksIf your package is being delivered to the US, orders placed on or before December 19th will arrive before Christmas.

I’ve also added a couple of new designs to my shop on Society6! That’s where the shirts and phone cases and mugs and such are from! And if you order before this Sunday at midnight you’ll get a discount AND free shipping worldwide.

Finally, if you or your gift-ees prefer to collect comics digitally, you can download a nicely formatted and DRM-free PDF of A Stray in the Woods from Gumroad, as well as a copy of the theme music to listen to while you read.

That’s all from me for now! Next time: BACK TO COMICS! :3

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The march toward a paperback edition of A Stray in the Woods continues, and yesterday my assistant, Miles, and I finished with one of the final steps: correcting the proofs and mailing them back to the printer!

In the case of this particular book, there were two kinds of proofs: color contract proofs and content proofs. Color contract proofs are meant to offer an accurate preview of what the color pages will look like – they’re printed on quality paper at high resolution, and are as close to the final offset “press sheets” as possible. Content proofs are printed on a regular laser printer, and are meant to simulate the physical construction and layout of the book – the signatures (stacks of sheets folded together) are all the same as they will be in the actual book, and so if there were any problems with page order or alignment, this was my chance to catch them.

We’re still on track to have books in hand by late August. Fingers crossed!

(PS: If you’re interested in knowing when A Stray in the Woods books, prints, stickers and bookmarks will be available for sale online, I’ve put together a single-use mailing list for just that purpose!)

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> Follow him with your eyes while you catch your breath.

Its silhouette quickly fades into the dark forest, although you can still hear it move through the trees. You think it may be curving back toward the house, but it’s difficult to keep track of direction on a moonless night like this one.

You’re glad the other cat decided to come along.

>>>>

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OH MAN! New goodies have been added to the A Stray in the Woods Kickstarter, and I AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THEM!

Handmade silkscreen prints, at only $5 above the regular tiers! Glow-in-the-dark stickers FOR BASICALLY EVERYBODY! 

I’ll post photos of both when I have the final versions of them in my hands – for now, I can only sigh dreamily over mockups in Photoshop. But if you’d like me to gleefully mail you these things, please consider chipping in to the Cat Comic Kickstarter

(Also note: if you’ve backed already and want a silkscreen of your own, it’s super-easy to upgrade your tier. Unless you backed at the “sketch” or “pet portrait” tiers, in which case I WILL ALREADY BE MAILING YOU ONE! Hooray!)