Cartoonist and printmaker Lane Lincecum uses art as a form of exploration. The Bertrand descendant enjoys opportunities to share Potawatomi culture and heritage with others, especially through visual formats. For a final project at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, creating a comic book seemed like a no-brainer. The project, titled Flyover, includes Nishnabé-inspired themes and stories.

“I just took the skills that I had … and I just decided to make the cool, weird sci-fi, floppy comic that I wish that I had when I was a little kid,” Lincecum said.

Flyover provided Lincecum an opportunity to mix disciplines, from its colors to hand-binding.
Lincecum, who focused on printmaking during college, said, “One of the fun parts for me was designing the whole thing.”

Background and process

Their interest in art began at an early age.

“I’ve been drawing since, I think, I could hold a pencil,” Lincecum said. “I’ve always just really enjoyed drawing cartoons … it’s just something I’ve gotten really good at over the years.”

Studying as many disciplines as possible during college helped define the Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member’s signature style.

“I really like when my drawings feel very familiar and lived in, which I think makes it fun when I write like sci-fi kind of stuff or fantasy kind of stuff because it’s combining like a very realistic, lived-in world with sort of an out-of-this-world concept,” Lincecum said.

Anime and manga, popular Japanese art trends, along with fine artists like Philip Guston and everyday life provided inspiration.

“I get a lot out of observing the things around me in daily life — on the street and on the ground, in the grocery store, when I’m driving around,” Lincecum said.

Opportunities arise quickly, making sketchbooks essential for the creative process.

“It’s where I collect all my ideas. … I go back to my sketchbook and look at my notes, look at my little drawings and see how I can take those and expand on them, put more time into them and turn them into something else,” Lincecum said.

Flyover evolved from prior sketches and an alternative print technique called a risograph, which created the comic’s late-winter, early-spring setting using mint green and blue hues set in the Great Lakes region.

“I just think about like what that area looked like 200 years ago and maybe what it’ll look like that same amount of time in the future,” Lincecum said.

Sugar bush

Despite living around the Great Lakes, researching and learning Potawatomi traditions and history is a more recent interest.

“What I wanted to do in this story was talk about something that I think a lot of people my age and experience, or just a lot of people in our Tribe’s experience, is— growing up kind of not having that perspective and then gaining it as an adult and trying to re-learn about the world around you through the perspective of relationships to the land and what our ancestors went through,” Lincecum said.

Childhood visits to northern Wisconsin and fond memories of tasting fresh maple syrup drew Lincecum to this traditional Potawatomi food.

“It’s an example of a story I think is good for kids and like younger people to understand the relationship between people and the land and that give and take,” Lincecum explained. “So I chose to take that and kind of extrapolate it out into this climate change scenario.”

The comic’s main character, Bertie, lives in a post-apocalyptic world and uses a drone to explore and map her surroundings. Bertie comes in contact with Ollie, who introduces her to Amy in the nearby sugar bush. Bertie discovers they are harvesting maple sap and learns what caused the wide-spread desolation.

“I hope it makes (readers) kind of think about the world around them a little bit more and maybe take interest in some different science concepts — maybe like mycology,” Lincecum said. “If they’re Potawatomi, it makes them interested in the oral history, it makes them interested in the ecology of the Great Lakes.”

Lincecum hopes to one day create comics completely in Bodéwadmimwen and is currently working on developing an online commerce platform along with several artist colleagues.

Find Lincecum’s work, including Flyover, at Follow on Twitter @uglygrlswag and Instagram @uglygirlswag.