sarah becan

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Happy Father’s Day from Gavin Ashbroke and Minnaig the otter-girl!

One of my favorite things in writing and drawing Cartozia Tales has been watching Minnaig’s story unfold. I’m really fond of her — she was the first Cartozia character Mike and I came up with, and watching her get in trouble and then solve her own problems has been emotional for me in ways that are hard to explain.

In the very first issue of Cartozia Tales, we introduced the idea that Minnaig, rejected by her mother’s people the Loutra-Merre, had come onto dry land to find her adventurer father, Gavin Ashbroke, whom she had never met.

Ashbroke appears for the first time in issue 4, and it turns out he’s not a savory fellow at all. Minnaig meets him in issue 6 — and what happens next is up to Jen Vaughn, who is drawing her story for issue 7 even as I write this.

No pressure, Jen, but I really care about our little otter-girl. Be good to her.

You can find out what happens next if you’re a subscriber.

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So for those of you who have not been up to speed: Sarah Becan and I worked on a comic project together which can all be seen at her website. In a beautifully designed realization Sarah synthesized the process from seed to cup in an elegant and fun way. For those interested in that special special gift, she also has prints over at her shop. I am particularly fond of the Pokémon Butcher charts. The Farfetch’d is particularly well done in my opinion. In any event, enjoy the small project and enjoy that coffee!

Today’s Project of the Day is Sarah Becan’s Shuteye

Have you ever woken up from a dream unsure of whether or not you are still dreaming? Such is the premise behind Sarah Becan’s Shuteye, a series of interwoven short comics, where each story ends with “a character falling asleep, only to wake up as the protagonist of the following story, remembering the previous tale as nothing more than a dream.” After six years in the making, Sarah is finally ready to publish this dreamy collection. (No pun intended.) If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, be sure to read the selected pieces she’s already made available for reading.  

Sauceome by Sarah Becan

Many of my art friends will tell you that food illustration is a tricky and intimidating subject.  Visually how to do you transcribe the full experience of a dish, the smell, taste, texture, presentation, without attempting photorealism or becoming trapped within conventional illustration methods?  In many cases the food looks awkward, the food’s allure is lost and unappetizing to the reader.

However, Sauceome (rhymes with awesome), by Sarah Becan suffers from NONE of these problems, and is perhaps one of the best food blogs I’ve seen.

A combination of memoir, recipe, body confidence, and food appreciation blog, Sauceome will entice you with adorable people, emotional honesty and warmth, and deliciously hunger-inducing illustrations.

Keep reading

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My friends and I have created an all-ages fantasy comics anthology built up around this shared map of Cartozia seen above! It’s part imaginary cartography, RPG source guide and full-blown collaborative comics! We’re making Cartozia Tales because we think the world needs more comics that will attract young readers and let them celebrate adventure, curiosity, exploration, and fun. In each issue, the cartoonists travel to a different part of the map, leaving their characters to someone else’s devices and story-telling delights. In addition to the comics there are fun tutorials (like shown above) on map-making, masks, how to pack and more so make the reading experience even more interactive. 

We’re fairly certain this type of collaborative, chance-driven storytelling has never been done before on such a large scale, and the results so far have been fantastic — immersive and playful for kids, engaging and complex for adults. Apparently every child who reads issue one develops an insatiable appetite for drawing maps. (including ones of the dog poops their dad hasn’t picked up in the backyard!)

Issue #1 is out with guest stars Dylan Horrocks and Jon Lewis, #2 will be out at SPX to everyone’s delight while #3 is currently being drawn! We launched a Kickstarter campaign on August 15th to deliver an entire year’s worth of vibrant, exciting comics, and we want you to join us in the adventure. 

There are more previews available at the Cartozia website along with bios of the Cartozian cartoonists and how we split up the map each issue. One more fun fact is that we live all over the world too! From Vermont to Seattle to Minneapolis to NYC, New Zealand and more! There could be someone drawing Cartozia Tales right next to you at the coffee shop right now!

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How awesome is Sarah Becan?

If I remember right, Sarah was the first core contributor to sign on for Cartozia Tales — a conversation with Sarah at SPX years ago got Isaac thinking hard about creating an all-ages world for cartoonists to build together.

And we are so glad to have her collaborating with her sister Beckie Gautreau on a story in every issue. Together, they bring that fifth element to the book — real, unwavering, and courageous exploration of the heart. Every one of their stories has emotional stakes for the characters involved, and they’re about situations that kids and grown-ups both face: fitting in, confronting fear, or helping someone who needs you, even when you don’t feel confident yourself. 

Kids can learn a lot about the heart from reading Sarah and Beckie’s stories, and so can the rest of us.

I also really like Sarah’s simplified, sweet, super-legible cartooning. There aren’t a lot of lines on her pages, but every line feels right.

If you are close enough to Chicago to attend CAKE on June 6–7, you can get some Cartozia Tales from Sarah in person. Otherwise, you can get print or digital copies from us online: cartozia.com/store.

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Today at Challengers… prints from Sarah Becan! We’re restocked on her Pancakes print and three of her Pokemon prints, and we’ve got THREE new prints: two new Pokemon prints and an AWESOME Twin Peaks print. Pokemon prints are $10 each, Twin Peaks and Pancakes are $20 each. Thanks for bringing these in, Sarah!

The ever-expanding map of Cartozia.

The seventh issue of Cartozia Tales will print and ship this month, so I’m going to spend a little time each day until it’s done reflecting on what we have drawn so far, and what I like about it. 

I’m tagging thee posts “Cartozia Days.” Please join me! What do you like about Cartozia? What details would you want to share?

I think there’s no better place to start than Sarah Becan’s beautiful map of Cartozia, based on some continents I designed, and  peppered with place names we all invented, 

It’s just loaded with potential stories. I was looking at this version of the map close up (it’s the one that comes as a 16″ x 12″ poster with each copy of issue #5) and started wondering what the coastal town of Lavend is like. The people who live there, the Lavenders — have we seen any of them in the background of a bazaar or an Upside-Town festival?

Every map is like that, of course — so full of implied stories that you could never hear them all. But we’re getting as far into knowing Cartozia as we can.

In a little while, I’ll post secrets about one or two locations we’re not likely to explore.

And I’ll direct you to our website if you’re interested in getting copies (print or digital) of Cartozia Tales. Our store is at cartozia.com/store.

'Ouija Interviews' by Sarah Becan

This is one helluva charming little book.  Its a collection of former minis of the same name.  The premise is simple, its simply illustrated little conversations she and friends have had with the spirit world using a ouija board.  She:  "Are you happy?“  Spirit: "yes… but dead.”  And some creepy stuff too from murder victims, lost spirits, and so on.

Of course I can’t actually believe in that spirit stuff, to me its all hokum.  Spiritualism, ouija, majic; its all remained unchanged in the past 200 years or so.  Its inherent lack of evolution or adaptation to society proves that it is just a game, frivolity for fun.  If ouija was actually the inception of a way to talk to the dead some very analytic and smart people would have realized the potential in it long ago and invested and applied real method to the process, like how science and technology have evolved in the past 200 years.  If this shit were real we would have blurred the lines long ago between life and death and these would be realms we could walk between.  The church can’t figure it out, science can’t figure it out, Hasbro figured how to make some bucks off of it. 

Because when we’re dead, we’re dead.  There ain’t nothing but dirt, dust, and bone.  There might be some little spark of us that goes off to join the cosmos but it retains nothing of our identity, our sense of self, our “I”, our experiences; its probably just the part of us that likes sex and food.  That part will want to keep on living and will do whatever it has to forever. 

But of course that is always the reaction of the non believer, isn’t it?  So strongly fixated on the “it can’t be” notion that perhaps they aren’t ever gonna see what others are a little more in tune to.  Sure, i’ve had all sorts of crazy things happen in my life that can’t be explained; crazy coincidences, near death experiences, floating orbs of goo but these can’t be spirits and can’t be evidence of an afterlife because there is nothing, this whole world just exists in my head and I perpeptuate it as a form of self torture. 

you can buy the book and other fine comics from Sarah here.