Past and present come together in a 2011 work by Katherine Roy. She depicts an impossibly detailed city called Industria, from an 1884 novel, Ignis, by Comte Didier de Chousy. While crowded with wondrous, wheel-like roads, strange flying machines, and delicately columned, domed buildings, Industria is a troubled city, ripe, as Roy notes, “for a satirical tragic comedy of utopian proportions.” 

-From Steve Starger, Art New England. (November/December 2011 print edition)

Perhaps the most engaging of the visions is a beautiful painting commissioned for the exhibit: “View of Industria,” by Katherine Roy, of Providence. Industria is a metropolis imagined in the novel Ignis (1883), by Comte Didier de Chousy. He describes a city whose energy comes from the Earth’s molten core but whose slaves revolt, only to be replaced by robots, who rebel. Roy captures Industria at a more idyllic moment, but you can still see the robots plotting as fashionable ladies fly about town with their cats. “Ignis” was among the earlier visions of the future to hint at the dystopia of utopia.”

-From David Brusset, blogger for the Providence Journal. (9/15/2011)

Roy is a gifted illustrator with a light touch reminiscent of Jeff Smith.  Her comic about a young caterpillar, Spots, could have been a try-out for a slot in the Toon Books rotation.  Her line is playful and supple, and it’s obvious she has great control over it.  Her composition is clever and engaging, with figures dipping out of panels.  Her panel-to-panel flow is perfect for this story about a caterpillar who dreads growing up and makes friends with a squid.  Roy also subtly injects a bit of dark humor when the teacher at the beginning of the story matter-of-factly rattles off the life cycle of a caterpillar and its eventual, grim conclusion.  She substitutes typical coming-of-age teenage concerns with references to spots and pupating, to fine comedic effect.  This comic is charming without being cloying. Egypt is part comics diary and part sketchbook of Roy’s trip to [Egypt] with her husband.  Here, Roy gets to show off how sharp her rough pencils are as well as a gorgeous color sense.  The actual details of the trip weren’t all that interesting, but her use of colored pencils made her illustrations pop up, especially when combined with the loose immediacy of her scribbly line… she’s simply a talented writer and artist who has a bright future ahead of her doing all-ages or slice-of-life comics.”

-From Rob Clough, writer for The Comics Journal. (10/23/2010)

…I’ve been to a few other schools that offer curriculums in cartooning, and hands-down, the quality of work coming out of CCS was the best I’ve ever seen. Very little work derivative of the dominant genres in comics — namely, manga and superheroes — and instead a focus on personal expression and style with little regard for learning what it takes to be a “commercial” artist. We all did portfolio reviews one afternoon and I was frankly dreading it a bit but found myself thoroughly enjoying it. I saw a *lot* of good student work, but there were several who stood out, including but not limited to Kenny Widjaja, Katherine Roy, Mark Bilokur, Casey Bohn, Jose-Luis Olivares and Nick Patten.”

– From Eric Reynolds, editor at Fantagraphic Books. (4/22/2010)

“There were a few anthologies so large that it felt wrong to include them in this list. They’re mostly from schools, so I’m not going to go more to list with every name in each of them because that frankly sounds horrible to do. So I’ll list the names of the folks in each that struck me positively. That doesn’t mean the rest are bad, just that these are the standouts: TABLE BUFFET–Katherine Roy’s piece strongly resonated of Feiffer in tone and style; Garry-Paul Bonesteel is headed to a good place with his dialogue and incongruous critters. CABOOSE–Nomi Kane tells a nice morality tale; hey, it’s Katherine Roy again!”

-From the blog of John Ira Thomas, Graphic Novelist. (4/14/2010)

“The only thing better than enthusiasm is enthusaiasm + talent. Katherine Roy is an exemplar of both— a cartooning machine whose Caterpillar Tales celebrates the adventures and struggles of its namesake hero. Roy is a natural storyteller (she released her first childrens’, A Kid’s Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail last year) and a zippy cartoonist. She also maintains a nice little blog cataloging her art experiments and assorted daily thoughts. Just delightful.”

-From Magic Molly at We Love You So, a website created by Spike Jonze to show some sources of inspiration for the making of the film Where the Wild Things Are. (3/2/2010)

“These two comics by Katherine Roy share a number of exemplary traits. The most obvious is that although likely to be regarded as “kids” comics, they have just as much to offer adults and maybe still more to parents. Child readers usually get stuck with “safe” comics that smack of canned wisdom from old grown ups; these tales court the drama of natural tensions resolved with finesse. Roy’s work boasts a real economy, both in visual style and in smooth storytelling. It feels natural and unlabored. That economy suggests prescriptive forethought and a fairly precise mapping of the stories even while presentation on the page appears spontaneous and full of vitality.

The titles share a protagonist, a young caterpillar anthropomorphically busy with the upheavals of his biological years. “Spots” has the room to flesh out the commotion of early adolescence. Weighty matters, in this case pubescent changes and life-cycle destiny, are presented deftly; even mating and death are broached with no-nonsense aplomb. Here Roy’s line-work and composition is airy, buoyant and expressive. The short “25 Cents” is just as effective emotionally and graphically. It features a heavier and entirely called-for use of blacks abetted by skill in juxtapozing and shading. Plus its finale reincorporates some printed cover information for a socko conclusion. Both comics show an affinity for capturing the animated dynamic of water. There’s also the matter of a repeated visual motif within and between these efforts, still further evidence of guiding cartooning intelligence.”

-From Rich Kreiner of the Comic Journal’s Mini Mondays weekly selection. (1/25/2010)

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Adventures in Art & Story by Katherine Roy