Fantastic Frights Creator Spotlight: Robin Carpenter, Paolo Barbosa

This creator spotlight is a part of a series of interviews featuring artists from Cloudscape’s latest comic anthology, Fantastic Frights. Click here to check out the Kickstarter campaign for the book.

Paolo is a science fiction and fantasy writer living on the west coast of Canada. When he’s not crunching numbers at his day job you can usually find him either with his face in a book, pencil in hand, or head in the clouds daydreaming up his next story.

Robin Carpenter is an illustrator and concept artist living in Vancouver BC. Robin’s work is strongly inspired by barely functional old Nintendo games found at garage sales as a child, and scrolling through the wikis of long format fantasy / sci-fi book series he’s never read.

What were you scared of as a kid?

PB: I was definitely scared of the dark as a kid. Always had to have some sort of light on to fall asleep because that’s what kept the bad things away right? Thankfully I’ve outgrown that fear for the most part, black-out curtains are a must have now for sleeping.

Robin: Scary movies, or even extremely mildly frightening scenes in movies scared me way more as a kid than anything in the real world. However, I grew up next to a forest that had a lot of densely wooded ponds. Something about a small, perfectly still pond in a forest with pitch black water and the ghostly image of sunken logs with hundreds of sharp, leafless, twisting branches just below the surface has always unsettled me… Like the darkest depths of the ocean have crept into being where they don’t belong. 

What’s your favourite aspect of the horror genre as it applies to comics?

PB: I love how the horror experience in comics is a very personal experience. With comics your brain sort of has to fill in a lot of the blanks subconsciously, so each person’s reading experience will vary. Comics really are a great medium for horror.

A page from Paolo and Robin’s story, Lulu Kitty

What was the inspiration behind your story for this anthology?

PB: My wife’s cat went missing a few years ago and let’s just say that story didn’t end very well so I used her love of pets and what happened to her cat as the inspiration for the story. Losing a pet is already a scary experience so I think it was a great starting point for a fantasy horror short.

Robin: While I only did the art side of the story, I was inspired in part by Howl’s Moving Castle when thinking about how the city Tali lives in. I love how the cities in that movie all have a neat twist like the train that runs through town, or the myriad of different cars without being too “in your face” steampunk or what have you. I don’t know how well it came across in the final images but I really wanted a lot of funicular railways in this city, something about those always seems a little magical to me.

How did the two of you come to collaborate on this story?

PB: I was paired with Robin on this anthology and couldn’t be happier as I think his artwork fit the story so well. His attention to detail and character design really brought the story to life.

Where can people find out more about your work?

PB: I have a website at where you can find a little more about me and my work or you can also find me on Twitter @HeyPSBarbosa and Instagram @psbdaily

Robin: I’m fairly active on twitter and Instagram, @robinobandito on both of those platforms. Drop by and say hello!

The Kickstarter for Fantastic Frights is live Oct 19th – Nov 5th.