Showing posts with label Kata Kane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kata Kane. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kata Kane's NBM double debut

by Mike Rhode

At  the Small Press Expo, Kata Kane had her own table as usual, but she was also signing books at NBM's table. They have published the first book in a new series Ana and the Cosmic Race by Amy Chu with art by Kata. We caught up to ask how her career was changing.. 

After our first interview, you published Altar Girl vol. 2. Did that wrap up the series, or do you have plans to continue it?

Altar Girl is ongoing, and you can read up to Book 4 online at my website I've also started releasing the series on webcomic sites like WEBTOON and Tapastic. I'm hoping to do a print version of Altar Girl Book 3 soon, but for now it's still going strong online! 

You've done the art for two new series coming out this fall from NBM's Papercutz imprint. How did that come about?

Papercutz reached out to me when they started the launch for their new Charmz romance book line. They saw that my art style and stories were all-ages/tween/YA and asked me to pitch. My first pitch was for GFFs: Ghost Friends Forever with Monica Gallagher [also of Baltimore]. Then they asked if I'd be interested in doing the art for Ana and the Cosmic Race, a story already in production with Amy Chu. I'm so glad I've gotten to work on both series! 

What kind of script do you get? Do you work directly with the writer at all?

I do work closely with the writers when it comes to collaborating and world-building, especially with the characters. As for the script, it varies from writer to writer the level of detail, but I do try to give suggestions if I see a spot where we could do something fun with the art, or if there's a chance to insert some great reactions from the characters. I'm lucky that I've gotten to work with wonderful writers who have given me a lot of freedom and great feedback too. I think pacing is one of my strong points, so in cases where I've been given either a lot or just a little to work with script-wise, I always aim to get a good flow going with the dialog and art.

Will there be more books in the two new series?

I'm currently working on Book 2 for both Ana and the Cosmic Race as well as GFFs! There's still much more to discover, so I think readers of Book 1 for both of these series will be eager to see what's in store.

My online/social media info: | @kata_kane

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sneak peek: 'STEAM Within the Panels' at AAAS

by Matt Dembicki

In conjunction with this coming weekend's March for Science rally/events in D.C., the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Friday will open an art exhibit of science-related comics titled "STEAM Within the Panels: Science Storytelling Through Comics Books, Comic Strips and Graphic Books."

The exhibit will be in the art gallery at AAAS and is open to the public. (Make sure to take the 12st Street entrance to the building.)

There will be a few events over the next few weeks related the exhibit, though AAAS hasn't yet released a schedule. Stay tuned.

I was lucky enough to have several pages from Xoc: The Journey of a Great White (Oni Press) included in the exhibit, as well as pages from Wild Ocean's "The Galapagos" (Fulcrum Publishing) right next to Hay Hosler's "Tortuga, the Island the Swims," also from Wild Ocean. The art prints for the exhibit were still begin posted when I visited today, so I wasn't able to look at all the credits for local creators, but I see work by Baltimore's Kata Kane. The exhibit also includes what I guess could be called a challenge: taking older versions of comics characters (from the Golden, Silver and Bronze ages of comics) and "re-inventing" them with a modern science twist.

Maria Sosa, a senior project director at AAAS, championed for the exhibit

Pages from Xoc: The Journey of a Great White 

Jay Hosler's pages from Wild Ocean's "Tortuga: The Island That Swims" 

From Wild Ocean's "The Galapagos"

Work by Kata Kane


Friday, March 20, 2015

Kata Kane, Baltimore's Altar Girl

by Mike Rhode

Kata Kane has returned to her Altar Girl webcomic, after a decade away from it. She's moved in the meantime from suburban DC to Baltimore, but was back in town recently for the Smudge Expo in Arlington.

 "Ashley Altars is a typical high school student, attending a prestigious Catholic school with a long history. Seth Charming is a boy who died in 1929. They are both the keepers of mysterious key necklaces, and through them Seth has been brought back from death and to Ashley's present day, assisted by the Gemini Twin angels and guardians of the keys, Sera and Cherry. Ashley now has to deal with angels, demons, and bullies... but she just wants her crush Adam Evenine to finally notice her." - Kata Kane

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I draw “shoujo manga-style” comics, and I’m best known for my original comic “Altar Girl.” My art style is really inspired by both American comics and Japanese manga influences. “Shoujo manga” means “girl’s comics” and usually have themes of school life, friendship, and romance. Someone once said my comics are like Archie and anime combined, so I think that’s a pretty good way of putting it.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I do a combination of traditional sketching with finishing done on the computer. I start out with rough
pencil sketches, scan them in, and then I ink, color, and use screentones digitally. I use a Wacom tablet, and a combination of programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Manga Studio.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in 1984 in Takoma Park. I grew up in Silver Spring!

Why are you in Baltimore now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I really like the vibe of Baltimore. It’s an interesting city with a small town feel, and a great art scene too. When I first moved here in 2009, I lived in Hampden, but I now live in Mt. Washington. All of my family is still in Silver Spring and my siblings are in DC, so I’m there plenty of weekends too!

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I didn’t go to art school, but ever since elementary school I took any art classes that I could. I always liked reading the Sunday funnies in the Washington Post while my parents read the newspaper. I tried making my own comics based off of that, and really since then everything I did was mostly self-taught and inspired by my own interest.

I was always drawing at home and writing my own stories, looking at my comic collection for references. Taking classes like Life Drawing & Design in college really helped me learn proportions and refine techniques. I feel like I learned a lot more specifics on-the-job as a graphic designer and illustrator than I did in school.

Who are your influences?

When I first read Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi as a tween, that was a game-changer for me. I already liked comics – but this was my first “manga” and I was totally drawn to the story and art style.

My biggest influence is Rumiko Takahashi. Her manga “Ranma ½” is hands down my favorite of all time, but I love everything she’s done, and especially her one-shot comics in “Rumik World.” I also really admire Chynna Clugston, the creator of “Blue Monday” and “Scooter Girl.” Her style is also an American-manga influence, and reading her published works when I was in high school & college made me feel like someday I could do the same!

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I would have pursued a full-time career as a freelancer in comics much sooner. I went to school for graphic design, and at the time I felt like comics could only be a hobby: that I couldn’t really be a success at it. But I’ve learned to measure success not by the biggest paycheck but by hard work and happiness. If I can make even one person feel inspired to keep drawing and follow their own dreams by reading my comics, that’s success to me. It sounds corny, but it’s what keeps me motivated!

What work are you best-known for?

Most know me for my webcomic Altar Girl, which I originally ran online while I was in school. I never fully finished the story back then, so in July 2012, exactly 10 years after I had published the first page of Altar Girl online, I decided to start over again, but this time using the skills I’d learned as an illustrator & graphic designer to fully pursue it. Last year I did a Kickstarter to get Book 1 printed, which was successfully funded, and I think helped some new readers discover the comic too. I’m hoping to do a Kickstarter for Book 2 this year, so keep an eye out!

What work are you most proud of?

I’m proud of Altar Girl. The comic is very much ongoing, but it’s already given me so many opportunities to meet comic creators and artists I admire, as well avid comic readers and aspiring young artists. I’m especially proud to meet the young women who come to comic cons and feel a connection with my art and my book. It’s really wonderful and also very humbling.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I’m a full time freelancer, so I want to keep working on my own comics and stories, but I also love getting opportunities to work on other comic projects I can lend my skills to - especially pencils and inking. I’d really love to work with all-ages comic publishers, and help get new and exciting titles out there for young women especially.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I like to watch or read something that inspires me. Sometimes I’ll turn to a classic comic or anime I really like, and other times I’ll try to find something new I’ve heard of or just been meaning to check out.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I hope to see more independent artists able to create their comics and tell their stories through their own means. I think we see a lot of that in webcomics now. Self publishing can be really rewarding!

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I’ll definitely be at SPX this fall, but sooner than that I’ll be doing some library events in DC, Creators Con (which is happening at my old high school – James Hubert Blake!) in April, and AwesomeCon end of May. I’ll also be at Baltimore Comic Con, and I’m always doing Bmore Into Comics shows, which are smaller one day shows happening at cool hang outs in Baltimore. I recently did SmudgeExpo for the first time, and I really enjoyed it!

I love the smaller shows for an all-ages crowd that encourage creativity. It’s really inspiring for me too!

What's your favorite thing about DC?

The museums, the zoo, and eating delicious food in Chinatown.

Least favorite?

Driving. I always end up getting lost and losing track of what street I’m on somehow!

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I love the Cherry Blossom Festival, and especially the Kite Competitions by the Monument. My first job out of school was illustration and design for a kite company, so there are a few kites out in the world with my art on them! I used to do the Rokaku Battle, where you try to cut your opponent’s kite strings out of the sky using your own strings. It was a lot of fun to do, and fun to watch too when we’d inevitably lose!

I always tell friends if they can only visit one museum, make it the Museum of Natural History! I personally love going to the National Gallery.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Daikaya Ramen! I also really like brunch at Zengo on the weekends.

Do you have a website or blog?

Altar Girl’s website is, but I post on Twitter @ashleyaltars, Facebook (, and Tumblr ( too! You can find more of my illustration and design work at as well! I'm usually available for illustration commissions and more.