Katharine Vingoe-Cram’s comic relief

After years as a painter, the Dartmouth native is bringing *Kettle Harbour*, her first graphic novel, to life.

"I have to tell this story."

That was drive enough for Katharine Vingoe-Cram to start writing and illustrating her first book—an in-progress graphic novel called Kettle Habour. The Dartmouth native, who holds a BFA from NSCAD and a Masters in art history from Queen's, spent most of her creative career painting, but a long-time interest in comics—and a life-long desire to make one her own—crept back into the forefront of her mind recently.

"I always wanted to do narrative painting, and it's not necessarily cool. I was always hinting at things in my paintings and struggling to be being explicit enough," says Vingoe-Cram. "Last year I wrote some prose and my husband was like, 'Why you don't you just illustrate this?' And then last summer I started to draw."

With inspiration from Japanese manga (her childhood obsession), and a cast of characters she couldn't stop sketching, this fall she was accepted into Visual Arts Nova Scotia's 10-month mentorship program and paired with poet and NSCAD prof Karin Cope for the journey. With the help of Cope, Vingoe-Cram has been carefully weaving the story of Kettle Harbour, following three characters over an explosive week leading up to the opening of a play. Now she's 14 chapters into her first draft—"flaws and all"—tackling issues of family, relationships, grief and queerness.

Vingoe-Cram says while diving into a new medium made her nervous at first, it's what she was meant to do.

"Painting doesn't bring that kind of passion, for me anyway. It's a bit more meditative. It's calmer. There's not as much of that heavy intensity, in the sense that the people are living in your head," she says.

"It feels like a good fit. It feels like coming back home."

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment


For a couple weeks at this time of year, the blooming cherry trees on Park Avenue make for the ultimate photo backdrop in the city. But what’s the most photogenic location year-round in HRM?

Get more Halifax

The Coast Daily email newsletter is your extra dose of the city Monday through Friday. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.