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Symbiartic


The art of science and the science of art.
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Cartozia Tales: a Comic about Maps Made by Escaping Geography

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Detail from Cartozia Tales #1, cover art by Leah Palmer Preiss.

Part of the purpose here on Symbiartic is to put forth ideas about how science communication can learn from art, the way art is increasingly informed by science. Cartozia Tales is a wonderful new example.

Put simply, Cartozia Tales is a comic about the fantasy-land and map of Cartozia, and the adventures beings have there. The idea, energetically wrangled together and produced by Isaac Cates with Mike Wenthe is to have each issue feature a number of regular and guest contributors. And that’s what I found amazing about the project: it’s a story about maps made at a time when maps no longer matter to creators. It’s no longer necessary to have a central studio for a project like this to involve brainstorming, sketching together or even drawing on each other’s digital paper. It’s a project about mapping fictional flora and fauna (many of which talk back) where it’s not necessary for the explorers (comic artists and writers) to be within proximity of each other.

Scientists are used to conversing and sharing ideas over long distances already of course: perhaps this comic-creation-via-Kickstarter is unremarkable in that way. But I also can’t help but wonder how it would feel to read about true exploration into a new frontier of science that’s currently off the map; with each collaborator illustrating what they learn in a rich, visual, sequential narrative.

Art by Lupi.

Art by Shawn Cheng.

Fictional fauna: "Hriglas" by Lucy Bellwood. There's tons of great animals in the Alphabetical Bestiary.

The first Cartozia Map, by Sarah Becan.

Help out this great Kickstarter! Only a 3 days to go, and lots of fun prizes, including co-designing a pirate for a future issue. Who can resist a pirate?

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I heard about Cartozia Tales because I’m a fan of Leah Palmer Preiss, who’s painting graces the first issue’s cover. Upcoming issues will feature work by Eric Orchard and Kelly Sue DeConnick (squeee) among many others, so I’m probably now lost in Cartozia.

*Copies of the first issue and supplementary material were provided by the publisher for review. Thanks Isaac!

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On this day last year, I featured art about two things near and dear to my heart: coffee and fossils. Cretaceous Critter Coffee Co. was created by Raven Amos. Check it out!

Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at www.glendonmellow.com. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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