Scott Chantler

BA '95

A master of graphic narratives

Scott Chantler. Scott Chantler (BA ’95) has been telling stories for 16 years as a comics artist and author, and in 2015 he became the first writer-in-residence with a comics background with the University of Windsor’s English department.

His work has received critical acclaim, including his 2011 graphic memoir, Two Generals, which was listed in CBC Canada Reads: True Stories as one of the top 40 Canadian non-fiction books of all time. His fantasy book series Three Thieves won the Joe Shuster Award for Best Comics for Kids in 2011.

Can you tell us about how you brought your comics background to the writer-in-residence program at Windsor?

The fact that I do comics was a big deal, because it’s the first time a cartoonist had held such a position at a Canadian university. But, I’m a writer first and foremost. So I was in there talking plot, structure, character, theme, etc., just like any other writer. That stuff doesn’t change much, whether you’re writing a screenplay, a novel, a short story or comics.

You wrote the blog post, “Yes, Cartoonists are Writers” after receiving some comments about your position at University of Windsor. Can you tell us about this?

There were a few sideways glances when my position was announced, but I’m pleased to say not many. It really shows how far comics have come that people were mostly excited about my appointment. Very, very few looked down their noses and bemoaned the death of literature. And those who did, mostly seemed confused that I wasn’t the artist-in-residence. But comics are a narrative form. What I do is about storytelling, not picture making.

What advice do you have for students or young alumni thinking about breaking into similar work?

Like any creative field, it’s difficult to make a living, even if your work is successful and well-regarded. Comics are also incredibly time-consuming to make, so it’s not something you can really do on the side of something else. So be prepared to spend a lot of time alone, and be broke. But it’s a great art form, one that can be incredibly subtle and meaningful. And it’s the one area of publishing that’s actually growing.

University of Waterloo

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