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The Pestle by Carl Antonowicz

During the month of October I want to take you on a tour through my library.  The first book I would like to feature is The Pestle by Carl Antonowicz.  

Beautifully hand bound, The Pestle is a thoughtful and provocative comic book loosely based on Il Schola Medica Salernitana, the first medical school of Christendom.
The Pestle by Carl Antonowicz
I had the pleasure of meeting Carl and asking him a few questions:

1.  Where did you study? 
I did my undergraduate degree at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and my master's at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.


2.  I noticed that your books are hand bound.  Where did you learn how to bind books?

That would've been at the Center for Cartoon Studies. The amazingly talented and very friendly Jon Chad focuses a lot on bookmarking in his classes, which results in the production of many incredible handbound publications.

Page from The Pestle by Carl Antonowicz
3.  What is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration is my nonfiction reading. There are so many idiosyncrasies between what I learned in the Texas Public School system and what recorded history of the world actually is that I can crack almost any book of history and have my view of the past changed completely. Events in my own life also greatly inform character relationships and plot.


 4.  You create both the images and the text for your books.  Which comes first, the story line or the drawings?

Often they come at the same time. I used to work full-script, writing out all the dialogue and panel descriptions before I even started drawing the characters, which resulted, usually, in my needing to edit the script a lot more heavily before doing any pages. These days I tend to do tiny (usually around 1x2") sketches of the pages while I write the dialogue. Sometimes I'll type the script up, print it out and redraw those same sketches with a little more clarity just to make myself feel crazy. Then I draw the dang pages on 9x12" Bristol board, scan them into the computer, edit them for web/print in PhotoShop and compile them in InDesign.
Page from The Pestle by Carl Antonowicz


5.  Where do you create?

Where ever I can find the peace of mind and space to do so. I do a lot of my writing on the bus, which is a good way to utilize that otherwise idle time. I sometimes put my pages on a nice big piece of masonite that I can lug around while I go about my daily business. I've done pages in bars, cafes, restaurants, greyhound terminals, airports, moving cars, and laundromats.
If I had my druthers, I'd be able to work at my drawing desk in my apartment all the time, but it's hard to carve out that space when transportation and day jobs take so long.


6.  When did you know that you wanted to be an artist/creator?

I started drawing comics when I was a kid, 7 years old probably. I took an extended break from them when I was in high school, probably because of theatre, but also probably because I was already a skinny nerd and didn't want the further stigma of drawing comics on top of that. I picked it back up in college, and from the second pen touched paper I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life.


7.  What is the one thing you want people to know about your work and process that I did not ask?

I'm continually excited by other people's responses to my work. Hearing what other people think--whether they like it, hate it, or have no opinions on it--is really what keeps me hunched over my pages. So, if your readers have interest in seeing more of my stuff, they can find a fair bit of it at Cantocomics.Wordpress.com. Interested parties can also email me at cantocomics@gmail.com.  You can get a copy of the second edition from me at cantocomics.bigcartel.com. 

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