A local artist-writer team has had their cartoon work distributed by a major publisher for the first time.
Artist Matt Ryan and writer Steve Kanaras have their collaborative cartoon work — familiar to Patch readers from the pair’s Junk Food comic published in Patch’s Local Voices section — in the new book The Utterly, Completely and Totally Useless Science Fact-O-Pedia, put out by an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The science book is full of fun and interesting facts about a very wide variety of science topics and is illustrated with more than 40 pieces of the duo’s work.
Ryan was excited about the book’s arrival on Thursday for two reasons: It’s the duo’s first work for a major publishing house and he now has copies to distribute during the Granby Artists Association Open Studio Tours, which take place this weekend.
“This is a whole new game for me,” Ryan said.
Ryan and Kanaras got the job through a friend, Wendy Leonard, PhD, a veteran science writer who specializes in writing science texts that are geared towards the average person. Leonard found out about Ryan and Kanaras through their Junk Food comic and the three collaborators met at a book signing in Washington, D.C.
“She’s super nice,” Ryan said.
Ryan said he and Kanaras were on a tight deadline, submitting ideas, getting approval and creating more than 40 illustrations and one-panel comics in a span of just 10 days. But the hectic schedule was worth it for the pair.
The 310-page work officially arrives in bookstores on Monday with a cover price of $12.95. Ryan is offering advance copies of the text during his open studio this weekend and will add an original drawing to the book for patrons. The studio will also have original copies of their Junk Food comics and illustrations from the book on display.
Ryan and Kanaras' workplace, Free Lunch Studios, is located at 518 Salmon Brook Street in Granby. You can find out more about the Granby Artists Association’s Open Studio Tours, .