Fantastic Frights Creator Spotlight: Cecil G, Teddy McKay

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.

Cecil G is one half of a pair. A cartoonist, writer, and coyote incognito living at the edge of the world. Their work overwhelmingly features flowers, monsters, and kids facing off against the darkness.

Teddy McKay is a comic artist, illustrator, and animator based in Boston, Massachusetts. They specialize in comics about either weird teenagers or evil robots (and occasionally both). They are currently studying at Lesley University as a Visual Narrative major with a focus on comics. This is their first published comic.

What were you scared of as a kid?

Cecil: I was pretty terrified of spiders as a kid, even though I knew that most of them were harmless. It took a lot of time (and tarantula petting) to get over my fear! 

Teddy: I was really overprotective of my younger brother as a kid, and I used to sit awake in bed at night terrified that someone would break in to steal him, planning what I would do to fend off a burglar with all of the smarts and strength 6 year old me had available. (I also remember being absolutely terrified of the announcer rabbit puppet that would show up to introduce the sponsors on PBS’s Between the Lions, though I don’t remember why!)

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

Cecil: I love building suspense, I love dread. My favorite part has to be being able to control the pacing, setting the scene with evocative imagery and striking centerpieces, and showing only what needs to be shown. 

Teddy: Horror is a really excellent medium to draw out intense emotions from your characters, whether it’s through slow, steadily-growing tension or sudden panic. Horror comics let you communicate that emotion through the layout and structure of the comic itself.

A page from Cecil and Teddy’s story, Baa-tanical Horror!

What was the most interesting/challenging thing you experienced when working with the book’s two-tone colour scheme?

Cecil: Our story deals with plants, so I was hoping one of the colors would be green at first, but honestly I ended up loving the surreal, psychedelic look the magenta gives to the foliage more than any spooky green could work. 

Teddy: I had a lot of fun using the two-toned color scheme! I put a lot of work into creating natural gradients and transitions between the two colors, especially when it came to contrasting the overgrown, supernatural foliage with the more “real” world.

What was the inspiration behind your story for this anthology?

Cecil: We asked our oldest sister, a fellow horror enthusiast, for the original kernel of an idea, about a kid saving his brother from a monster! 

Teddy: We were considering a bunch of obscure monsters to use, and Cecil told me about the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, which is a legend about a plant that grows sheep as fruit, and the sheep grazes around itself to survive. It was a really surreal visual, and both of us really like drawing foliage and plants, so we decided it would be the perfect choice.

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

Cecil: Teddy is my little brother, and we’ve been a creative force for a long time! Webcomics, visual novels, zines… They’re my most trusted creative partner and when I saw that the Fantastic Frights anthology fit our niche perfectly, we jumped at the opportunity. 

Teddy: We’ve been collaborative partners for a long time, but this is our first comic published by someone other than ourselves! We came up with the idea for the story together when we saw the prompt for the anthology, and I’m really proud of the work that both of us put in.

Where can people find out more about your work?

Cecil: I’m on twitter @Schgain and instagram @doloreregion

Teddy: I’m on twitter @noisyrobo, and instagram @noisyrobots.

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