Welcome to the artist interview series! This series is all about getting to know cool people making cool work, and today, we’ll be hearing from comic creator and illustrator C.E. Chant, aka Hades, creator of the forthcoming paranormal webcomics Field Guide of the Infernal, Celestial, and Paranormal and Synth.
“Storyteller with a passion for comics. Hoping to inspire those around me with great stories and memorable art.”
C.E. Chant’s Work
Every time I look at a piece Hades has made, I get lost in the wonder of it. Their art feels like I’ve entered a whole new world, a parallel realm to our own, much like tales of the fae living just beyond the local bramble bush. He has a deft hand at layering atmosphere in their work, and when paired with his beautiful backgrounds, these marvelous worlds are breathed into life.
Just as vivid as the worlds he brings to life are his ideas and stories. Paranormal and fantasy themes abound in his work, but I feel like the overarching theme of C.E.’s art, regardless of the specific story, explores potential– what would be possible if this? What if this character could do this? What if these personalities had to do this? And so on. It’s the kind of playful speculation in art and comics that I love to see, a free exploration of what’s possible.
Hades’ art also includes plenty of beautiful queer relationships that will tug at your heartstrings.
So let’s get to know Hades and their work in comics a bit! 😃
Hades + Comics
How did you get into making comics?
On an Avatar forum decades ago they had a newsletter type going, and I wanted to make a long standing comic for it and ended up falling in love with the medium. I started reading more graphic novels and Western comics and fell head first into it all.
Comic Page by C.E. Chant
What’s your favorite thing about making comics?
I love developing them, from character designs to actual pages. I love being able to share what exactly I am planning!
On the other side of the coin, what’s the hardest thing about making comics?
Perhaps scripting and sometimes sketching the pages. I never feel confident in those areas until the pages are fully finished.
Do you have a favorite color palette to work with?
Blues and greens!!
What’s the biggest influence on your art?
Oh this is very hard since it changes per project and what I’m working on. I can’t really say honestly. Especially because my adhd has caused me to forget every single artist I admire upon reading this tweet. HOWEVER, a large influence in my art is actually cinema and animation. I’d love to someday be the Guillermo del Toro of comics. He really inspires my own stories and why I want to create.
How do you prioritize rest and self-care while working in comics?
Due to my health, I have to take frequent breaks and allow myself to only work on them a few times a week.
What do you wish you had known before starting to make comics?
Honestly? Just that it’s alright to jump around projects if I need to. That I DON’T have to focus solely on one story, only to end up terribly burnt out and resenting it.
What’s the best advice someone has given you about art or comics?
That things don’t have to be perfect and the rules are really just guidelines. Comics are still a pretty young medium, experimentation is its bread and butter.
Do you have a favorite comic?
I have many! And while it isn’t the best comic out there due to personal reasons, I have a major soft spot for the series Saga. It got me into reading Western series and helped kick start me getting into comics on my own.
Current and Upcoming Work
Fantasy is my absolute favorite genre, including paranormal work, so I’m very excited to see what C. E. has planned for their work. They spoke with me a bit about the comic projects he has going on lately:
Is there anything you’ve finished recently or about to finish?
I’m very happy with this character design for the main antagonist of my graphic novel that I’m currently pitching to editors.
I can see why you’re happy with the poltergeist design, it’s incredible! I love the anatomy details, particularly around the jawline with the ways the skin wraps around it in sections. That kind of detail is just beautiful.
I’m a big fan of Hades’ character designs! I love seeing so many queer and trans characters, and they always feel so well designed and fully formed. The way he blends the paranormal with the mundane in that pitch is very enticing.
Ghoulish Animal sounds so fun! I hope someone picks it up. I love the ideas you come up with and the details you include in your work. How do you come up with your character designs?
Oh man. I tend to have a few basic ideas in mind for the character as I mull over the initial story concept. Ivor I wanted to be a ginger with an eye patch and then went from there. I do look at photographs of people to help get an idea going and then start researching the time period’s fashion! I figure out what the personality is like for said character and start making clothing choices based on research and what they’d actually want to wear [or need to wear!].
Are you working on anything at the moment?
Mostly my webcomics, Field Guide of the Infernal, Celestial, and Paranormal and another cyberpunk horror called Synth. But I do have a gothic horror romance on sub for editors called Ghoulish Animal. It is about a late-regency trans man body snatcher falling in love with a surgeon and overcoming an obsessive poltergeist that claims to love him.
Do you have any upcoming publications we should keep an eye out for?
Not currently but I do hope to launch Field Guide publicly this Halloween!
I will be eagerly anticipating Halloween even more this year then!
What’s something you’ve created that you’re really proud of?
My webcomic Field Guide of the Infernal, Celestial, and Paranormal! There’s not much yet due to both me and my character inker being disabled but we put our whole heart into the pages, and they’ve been some of the best I’ve ever made!
Thoughts for People Entering Comics
What’s one comic you would recommend to someone new to comics?
This is hard to say. It’d depend on the person. I rather not push for something only for the person to not like it and give up reading comics as a whole. It really depends on someone’s likes and interests, comics have so much variety.
I also have ADHD and other disabilities, so I can relate to what you’ve said about prioritizing your health, rest, and the flexibility to move from project to project as suits your needs. Do you feel like your experience as a disabled person brings a certain strength to your work that isn’t often found in comics, whether in your art or in your practice as a creator? And how would you encourage people new to making comics who might worry that their disabilities may prohibit them from entering the field of comics?
I can’t say. I know it can make my process and output different or even unique, but I don’t think it adds an uncommon strength. Everyone that makes comics has a unique voice of their own a strength that attains to them. It’s unfair to say I’m special just because I work with a disability. However, I do try and showcase that you CAN make comics despite being disabled. You just have to find a process that works for you and understand that your output/process may be different that someone without a disability and that is all right. You still have a unique voice worthy of sharing.
For my final question, what advice would you give to artists who want to work in comics?
Just start and have fun. You’ll never feel good enough and honestly your art will improve on its own by actually making the comic. Most readers enjoy seeing the improvement over the time and feel just as prideful over it as the artist. As well, don’t be afraid to quit a project if you aren’t having fun and it’s not contractual. What matters most is that you actually are enjoying what you are making, otherwise you might end up burnt out and resentful.
Follow C.E. Chant’s Work
Thank you so much, Hades, for sharing your thoughts and spending some time with me for this interview! It’s been so fun to get to know more about you and your enchanting work. And thank you to all of you readers for reading!
I encourage everyone to check out C.E. Chant’s website, keep an eye out for his comic Field Guide of the Infernal, Celestial, and Paranormal this fall, read their comics and support him on Patreon, and follow them on Twitter to hear more about his latest and upcoming works like Synth and Ghoulish Animal!
If you enjoyed this interview, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter Into the Bramble to see more artist interviews in the future, as well as other comic-related series like More Comics Please! and Behind the Design!