Welcome to Katie Armentrout’s Playhouse

Katie Armentrout’s comics are primarily auto bio based with stories from day jobs, marriage, insecurities, anxieties, and how she deals with her body. She’s really into accentuating the grotesque and highlighting the funny in the lowest of everyday moments. She likes to turn her self deprecation into a good time and hopefully connect with others who may feel similar! 

STL SPEX (Rachel): What are your artistic influences?

No doubt one of the the biggest influences on my life (artistic or otherwise) was the greatest television show for kids and adults alike, Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Without this show, along with my parent’s collection of underground 70’s and 80’s comics that I had access to way too early in life (especially Crumb and the Hernandez brothers), John Waters’ books/movies (again, from a very young age), and hanging out in the weirder parts of Chicago just drawing interesting people I saw on the street, I’d probably just be some rube who made ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ art. 

STL SPEX (Rachel): Who do you create for?

Maybe this sounds selfish but now I make art for myself. That means I make comics I  think are funny or, say like my chubby tattooed babe prints, I draw my idea of a sexy body instead of stressing myself out trying to make art that matches what I see trending on Etsy or Instagram. I spent too long trying to come up with a “trendy style” instead of trusting my own skills and letting my natural comic and storytelling sense flow and by doing that, I’m now making better art and connections with other people than ever before! There’s a few people who relate to my work and appreciate me for it and it blows my mind. Trust yourself, People! You really are unique and enough and the people want to see/hear what you’ve got to say! 

STL SPEX: What are your favorite tools and how do you use them to create your art?

I LOOOVE me a great Micron/Prismacolor Premier/ or Pentel brush pen, a classic Canson brand sketchbook and the notes feature on my phone. I keep all my ideas for comics/jokes in there and it’s truly been a lifesaver.

STL SPEX: Your work is very body-positive – what are some changes you’d like to see elsewhere in the world to promote this message? (if you had a magic wand and could point it wherever you wanted to…)

Besides being able to walk into ANY clothing store, ANYwhere and be able to shop a full collection of quality fashion that ranges beyond size 14, I would love it if being fat was not touted the same as being unhealthy or lazy. These are not one and the same and is a load of BS. I also REALLY want to see more fat bodies in sexy settings and situations like high fashion photoshoots, ads, movies, and television but not get singled out like a “token fat person” to make it look like a brand or company “truly cares about body inclusivity” when they really don’t. When you can make a show similar to “Friends” but with heavier people (and people of color, but that’s another tangent for another day. PS, ‘Friends’ sucks, fight me) WITHOUT using their size as a marketing gimmick, that’s when I feel like things are actually changing. Bottom line is I want fat bodies to be welcomed, respected, and loved as they deserve to be. 

STL SPEX: What to you find fun and/or challenging about sharing stories from your life?

My favorite part about creating comics and art is the relating to other people or seeing other people see themselves in my work. I always want to relate to others because I LOVE that feeling, especially if you’re in a dark place, when you finally confess to someone what is going on in your seemingly screwed up mind and they say, “Dude, that’s happened to me! I know exactly what you’re talking about.” UGH, it helps clear SO MUCH of my fog knowing someone else came out the other side and maybe I will too. I can learn from them because I trust them now.  Same when it’s normal or good stuff too, like in my comic “You’re Too Kind” which is the visual representation of what compliments make me feel inside.  Internally, I’m an awkward undeserving wreck but outside (thankfully) I have the wherewithal to at least say, “Thank you, I truly appreciate it!” because I do! Who doesn’t enjoy a nice word once in a while! That comic has brought me so many people who say they feel like it’s an excellent rendition of their feelings about being recognized positively and I couldn’t be happier knowing there are lots of people out there who also feel like cringey weirdos all day everyday. It’s a nice sense of solidarity and it encourages me to share more and deeper feeling stories.

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