If you chafe in the bindings of reality and find yourself constantly slipping into daydreams of other worlds, then you have found a common soul.

If you like chimichangas and s’mores more than is strictly advisable, you’ve also found a common soul.  Let’s trade recipes!

SkeletonI’m Amanda Carman, alias Carmanda, alias alias the Gastromancer (only one person calls me that).
I’m a writer and illustrator with one foot tap dancing in a world of goofy strangeness and the other firmly mired in the dark bog of the subconscious murmurings of our collective human psyche.

I was raised on fantasy stories, science fiction television, and an unrelenting stream of animal factoids.
These influences bubbled quietly in the background while my child self wrote melodramatic stories about the cats on the Titanic, made and sold construction paper representations of endangered species to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund, governed a nation of plastic animal figurines (complete with a functioning economy and ambassadorial representation at my friends’ houses), and pretended to be a cheetah.  I envisioned for myself a future career of artist/writer/animal trainer/cat.  I have not simplified my career choices since.

Writing was my primary interest for years until I stumbled across a community of artists thanks to a random Google search, probably for pictures of cheetahs.  The community website sadly fell apart almost a decade ago, but while it was live, I lurked and learned from skilled artists critiquing each other’s work.  Over the few years I learned with that community, I saw my abilities advance faster than they ever had before.  I was nowhere near good, but for the first time I could see how to get there.  Improving my art became my primary focus for years until I learned to balance it with writing and other interests.

Now that I’m a full-fledged adult(ish) person, I’m beginning to realize some of the childhood dreams.  Fantasy stories and animal factoids have created a stew of inspiration to influence both my art and writing and I’ve trained my cat Cricket to dance with me.  I haven’t yet started on the path to becoming a cat, but there are years yet to go to reach that point of self-actualization.  In the meantime, I’ve added American Tribal Style dance, drumming, and improvisational theatre to my docket of influences and activities.

This is Cricket.  She often helps me art.

This is Cricket. She often helps me art.

Art and storytelling have always been the throughline in my wacky life.  No matter what else comes along, I will always be drawing and writing.  If I can help you with your storytelling along the way, even better.