Atascadero Artist Colby Stith Launches New Comic Strip Series

This month we’re welcoming new contributor Colby Stith who will be giving us a new one-panel cartoon in Colony Magazine each month. 

Colby Stith

Colby said that he’s been drawing comic strips since he was in the second grade and worked with his cousin on a project that eventually became his long-running “Planet Marshmallow” strip that ran in the Atascadero News from 2011-2016. 

After working on the “Planet Marshmallow” strip for so many years, Colby said that he’s looking forward to working in the one-panel format. 

“It gives me a little bit more creative freedom I think,” he said. “With the one-panels I always figured they’d be more about the visuals and not so much about what’s written. Being able to tell an entire story or joke in one simple drawing can be kind of fun.” 

Colby wears his influences on his sleeve — citing “The Far Side,” “Rubes” and “Bizarro,” amongst others, as inspiration — going so far as to name his new one-panel series “Tales from Eno,” with “Eno” standing for “Everything’s Not Original.” 

“The strips themselves aren’t derived from other people but that style that I’ve created, the character designs and the general sense of humor is derived from other people,” he said. “It can be your own, but no art is totally original. It’s a mish-mash of different techniques and styles I picked up from people I like that I  put into one look.”

Colby said that his sense of humor comes from his “comedy heroes,” Monty Python, Mel Brooks and their ilk. 

“That really off-the-wall humor that you can’t help but laugh at but it’s totally ridiculous in the first place,” he said. “It’s stuff like that — it’s culminated through internet humor, through Monty Python through all these different sources and now it’s become its own identity.” 

Colby is mostly self-taught as an artist but he did recently attend an art class at Cuesta College where he learned things like drawing in perspective and how to work with poses that helped him develop as an artist. 

“Certain things like crosshatching,” he said. “That was something that I learned in the art class that I ended up adopting and really enjoying working with.” 

When asked what readers can expect from the strip in the future, Colby said to “expect the unexpected.” 

“I do a lot of writing as well and if I ever find myself getting to a point where I say ‘this is too cliche,” I immediately go in the opposite direction,” he said. “If you can keep it fresh I think that’s part of what makes it funny. I hope people find it funny — it is really strange, I completely agree that it’s weird. When I draw these things I have no idea what I’m making before I start. I don’t sit down and say to myself, ‘I’m going to draw a cartoon about a guy that’s dating a shark.’ It doesn’t happen that way. I start drawing a line and it makes itself from there. I’ll make a wrong stroke or I’ll do this weird line and all of a sudden it’s turned into this brand new thing.”