February is often the month most associated with love and relationships. Our featured artist this month, Catana Comics, NY has been winning the internet with her adorably relateable comics featuring her and her bearded boyfriend, John. With over a million followers, we wanted to get to know the artist behind the art.
We recently spoke with Catana about her plans for the future, her passion for chalk art, her degree in Psychology, her relationship with bearded boyfriend, John, and her new book coming out in May. Read on to find out more.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
My earliest memory of creating art was when I drew my kindergarten teacher a picture of us and I had scribbled blue crayon on top of the page for the sky. When I gave it to her, she said, “Look outside. Is the sky just above you, or is it all around you?” So she made me go back and draw the sky the right way. I don’t know why that sticks out so much in my head!
What are your favorite creative tools? Would you share a bit of your process with us?
Yes! When I make comics, I always use the Procreate app for iPad Pro. It’s also the only app I use for digital artwork. Every comic I make starts out the same way – I usually think of an idea, sketch it out very roughly on a piece of paper, and then make the final version on Procreate. When I say it like that it sounds fast, but it usually takes a few hours from start to finish, and there’s usually at LEAST two coffees involved.
A few fun facts about Catana Comics and her bearded boyfriend John
What happens if John shaves his beard? Have you created alternate “beardless John” comic to discourage him?
Oh my GOD I actually never even thought about how devastating that would be. The good news is, I feel like John’s beard is fundamentally part of who he is as a person and for that reason I can’t see him shaving anytime soon.
Beard is love.
Beard is life.
What is the height difference between you and John?
John is 6’5” and I am 5’1”, so 16 inches. I get a lot of comments from people claiming I must be exaggerating our height difference – if anything, I play DOWN our height difference in the comics haha!
How did you and John meet?
John and I did not meet in a romantic way. We matched on Tinder, we stopped talking after a few brief messages, and then I saw him at a bar. We stared at each other awkwardly for at least an hour before my friend finally pushed me into him so we were forced to speak to each other!
“The best lesson I’ve learned as an artist is that no matter how good or bad you think you are when you start, you will ALWAYS be better the second time, and ALWAYS be better the third time…”
What is the best lesson you’ve learned as an artist?
The best lesson I’ve learned as an artist is that no matter how good or bad you think you are when you start, you will ALWAYS be better the second time, and ALWAYS be better the third time… and so on and so forth. I used to get frustrated when I wasn’t good at something right away, but I was always surprised at how much improvement you can see literally every single piece you make. I guess I’m just trying to say “practice makes perfect” but in a really complicated way!
What has been the most difficult lesson?
The most difficult lesson is that it doesn’t always matter how good you are, it matters that you are in the right place at the right time, know the right person, or post to the right site (in terms of getting sales or recognition anyways). The good news is, if you just want to do art because you LOVE it, this lesson doesn’t really matter. Because while recognition would be great, most artists are happy just to do art in the first place. :)
We noticed that you are also a street artist. How did you get started in chalk art?
Chalk art! I love chalk art! I could talk about it forever.
I grew up in Saratoga NY which is a very artsy place with a lot of street performers. Four years ago, I knew people that were doing street performances. I loved to watch them and I wanted to get into it too. I knew that I loved art, so naturally the progression was, well, street art! And the most harmless form of street of art ever of course, is washable chalk art. So that’s how it came to be.
I love to do chalk art in my hometown because, first of all, it’s a great town. People there love art and they love street performers, so they will have great conversations with you and just really love what you are doing. I also love to perform at chalk festivals and art festivals. The atmosphere of doing sidewalk chalk and getting all dirty in a giant crowd of people who are just happy & fascinated is one of the best feelings ever. Ah, now I’m missing it!
“…if you just want to do art because you LOVE it, this lesson doesn’t really matter. Because while recognition would be great, most artists are happy just to do art in the first place. :)”
Next steps for your art/comics? Prime-time? Cuddly toys? World domination?
Shhh, we don’t talk about the plan for world domination!
But besides that, our book comes out in May so we are SO stoked for that!
What projects/campaigns have you worked on?
Before the comics, I was trying hard to get into graphic design, which is why I ever started working with Procreate. So I created a lot of not-real advertisements for potential employers to see examples of my work. However, the comics took off before I could find a graphic design job or even really before I could become that knowledgeable about design. Because of how busy the comics are now, I have stopped doing freelance work. However, I do plan to do more chalk festivals hopefully in the near future :)
What is something others may not know about you?
Hmm. I love documentaries, about anything. Literally anything. You could show me a feature-length film about the production of canned beans and I would watch the whole thing!
Love Catana Comics as much as we do? Stop by her shop and collect your favorites.