Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s parents, a bout of the flu, and a “very old” iPad. These were the circumstances that gave rise to Catana Chetwynd’s beloved cartoons back in 2016, when she was 21 years old.
“I had been playing around with drawing on the iPad for a few months and John [now her fiancé] suggested that I make a comic,” she says. “It seemed like a good way to pass the time, since I wasn’t feeling well. Turns out, it was really fun!”
Over the next few days, she drew five more comics based on everyday situations in her relationship, like not-so-subtly requesting back rubs from John and rolling her eyes at his juvenile jokes.
John, a software engineer, posted them on Reddit, and the internet fell hard: more than 2,000 comments poured in. “We were really surprised by the flood of positive responses,” Chetwynd says. John set up a website and she created an Instagram account—which now has nearly 3 million followers—and Catana Comics was born. “There are some incredibly awesome webcomics out there,” Chetwynd says, “but when we started, there weren’t really any based on a couple.” She has found that most of her fans enjoy sharing her comics with a significant other.
It makes sense, then, that the number-one request Chetwynd got from her followers was for a sticker pack. With the Catana Comics iMessage app, fans can easily exchange her big-eyed, huge-hearted caricatures with a special someone. “Shortly after we came out with the first batch of stickers,” Chetwynd says, “I received an email from a woman who said that her husband was on a very long business trip in a different time zone. She loved that the stickers allowed them to quickly send emotive messages without using words.”
Chetwynd can relate, since she and John connect via her stickers too: “We both work from home, but in different rooms, and there are so many days where the only communication we’ll have is sending each other a sticker every hour or so.” One of her go-tos: a drawing of John looking at a picture of her saying, “I miss you.” “It was in the very first release and I wasn’t thinking it could be funny when I made it, but now John will go to the bathroom and I’ll send it to him,” she says. “I use it almost every day.”
Originally published on the App Store.