Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I dedicate this page to Alex, one of my adorable sons.
Today is his 30th Birthday, and when he was just a little guy he used his bowl of spaghetti as a pillow!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Here's the first two pages from Aurora Borealice, book 2 - I'll be posting something every Friday till the book is done! Please feel free to ask any questions regarding artwork or content. I'm going to show the artwork in progress, and not necessarily in any order. The dialogue (word balloons) still needs some work, so they'll be added when I finish all the images. So for now, I'm going to add captions like I did for my first book.  
This book starts off where the first one ended, new year's day 1981. Ken and I were both 26, living in the Beaches area in Toronto. Art school was now behind us, but the rest of my education was still ahead of me...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Aurora Borealice is a series of four autobiographic novels that span 40 years of my life, and I've been working away on Book 2. For those of you who have read the first book and are wondering what happened next - well, here I go... These books are about my ongoing struggle with literacy while  juggling kids, Ken, career, and getting an education, all the while finding out that life itself is the real education. I hope my story resonates with anyone who takes the time to have a look. 
I'm hoping to be finished in the spring 2012, and I'll be posting both finished and unfinished pages over the course of the next few months so you can see the work in progress. The page above is the  first pencil drawing, soon to be  finished with pen and tonal washes.  The word balloons won't be added for a while. I've written the first draft of the whole book and layed out the pages in thumbnail sketches, now I'm in the long process of copying them onto lined off 11x17 comic pages for all to see - gulp!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And now for something completely different...

This is Ken having fun at my expense! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today is Remembrance Day and I think of how my dad missed both wars because he was too young to serve in WWI and too old for WWII. But he did his part, in a way, by working in the munitions factory turning scrap metal into tanks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

 Here are some photos I used as reference for my book. This was the view of the scrap yard from our living room window, taken by my sister Barb sometime in the early 70's with my dad and sister Beryl in the foreground. That's me in the background with my brother Ed and our dog!
Here's a wider angle view of the front yard - directly behind the big building was an ice rink. It took us hours to clear the snow, but it was worth it to have our very own little Maple Leaf gardens!

The scrap piled higher and higher, and every few years my dad would hire a crane to stack the cars on a flatbed truck to be hauled away to Hamilton and recycled. This was my playground growing up!!! 

This is the only good picture I have of my dads boom-truck, unfortunately you can't see the back part. In my book I did show the whole thing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sorry for not posting in a while - in future I'll try and post something weekly. Today I'd like to show samples of the stages I went through to make my book, starting with thumbnail sketches of the page layouts. For anyone who is not familiar with the term - thumbnail sketches are very small sketches, I should have put my thumb on the sketch to show the size but anyway, you get the picture. 

From these sketches I'd work up the drawing into the actual-size pages of the book. Then transfer that drawing onto a an 11x17 inch sheet good quality paper, then pencil the final drawing, scan it and colour it digitaly using Photoshop. Done! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Here's the back cover of my book, with one of my dads favorite ditties he loved to recite on his birthdays. Next week I'm going to show you the stages I went through to make this book. 
I hope whoever is looking at my blog has enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing and illustrating it. When I started this book, I wasn't sure if my dad would live to see it, and I was so happy to give him a copy on his 100th birthday, five years ago this weekend. He loved it, and passed away a few months after that - so, that's that!


Friday, September 30, 2011

 Jack really did have nine lives. My dad actually seemed to get younger as he got older. The beach ball was colourful, just like him - playful all his life.
 On his 100th birthday we threw him a party, and as he leaned over to blow out the candles he said "I'm going to die... but I don't know what colour!" 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jack was on the road again, and sometimes we'd just have to turn a blind eye and let him go. As far as as he was concerned, his wheels were as big as theirs, and he was on a mission - to the store for ice cream! As a joke I drew a skull and crossbones on his flag to let people know he was dangerous - he liked it, so it stayed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My dad was still playful well into his 90s - no one could stop Jack! This is just a small example of his antics. Another time, while driving his tractor, he ended up in the ditch - laughing uproariously. We couldn't help but laugh along with him.

Friday, September 9, 2011

If you look closely, you'll see a nail sticking out of the half-frozen railway tie he's sawing, an incredibly dangerous thing to do especially without a saw-guard in place. Dad was so confident that nothing would go wrong... and luckily it didn't!
  The saw he made music with was fine as long as the bow slid down the flat side.

Friday, September 2, 2011

   We were squashed into the family car, like scrap metal into a cube.
   I grew up with the smell of gas and oil. As a young girl I remember watching my dad syphon gas out of scrap cars and thought this was a novel idea, until I tried it myself!!!!  Now I know...gas smells better than it tastes.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This was the front of the scrap yard, at various states of accumulation. Dad was clever at turning one thing into another when it came to lifting cars. Like the character in the Red Green show, he sometimes got unexpected results! He never made a lot of money in his scrap metal business, but we never went hungry.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Playing in life-sized cars sure was a fun way to grow up! My dad got away with a lot in those days, except when a the odd tire would go astray! My mom was smart for staying in the house. I can still remember the dynamite caps my dad used - I think he had a guardian angel watching out for him. As kids, we were very fortunate to never have gotten hurt by the flying shrapnel!! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The posters that you see on this page and the one previous, I found in the Hamilton library while I was researching this book. My dad must have seen many of them during the war years - maybe they influenced him to start his scrap metal business? Working in a munitions factory was not a bad job...surrounded by women all day - he must have loved that!

Friday, August 5, 2011

SO, THAT'S THAT! Continued every friday...

I just noticed a misplaced modifier in my dad's quote - oops! Anyway, I always wondered why my dad got into the scrap metal business. I'm thinking he was influenced in some way by the scrap metal drives during the war years, so maybe we can thank the war for bringing us recycling!

Friday, July 29, 2011

SO, THAT'S THAT! Continued...

A coat is just a coat, until it saves your life. Luckily for my dad, his warm personality could charm anyone, including the engineer. The chicken story was told to me when he was 98 - the description of that meal was delicious, it was like he was tasting it all over again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

 The Great Depression taught my dad a few things - mostly how to survive with very little. He loved to tell stories of his hobo days which, to him, was an adventure - if you made it out alive! They used to call it the "the jungle" for a reason... I believe the experience made my dad a stronger person - it certainly toughened him up for real life!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My dad's life was filled with the usual mix of tragedy and comedy. As a wise guy once said "All humour is based on grievance" and is a mechanism that helps us cope with life. Sometimes when my dad told me a funny story, he would burst into laughter and not be able to finish the story. I would then laugh at his laughter and we'd both crack up!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

When my dad told me this story I thought it was horrifying, but it made a lasting impression on me - something you never forget. For him as a young boy, I just can't imagine. There is a movie on the subject by Dalton Trumbo called Johnny Got His Gun which is quite difficult to watch, but well worth taking a look at.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Institutions of any kind, including educational ones, never agreed with my dad, and he never agreed with them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My dad had a habit of leaning on his elbows with his hands covering his ears. This trait stayed with him since he was a boy, and to me it was a sign of distress. He still did it at times, like when he didn't want to talk about a difficult time in his life, or an experience that had stayed with him all that time.
My dad told me about really wanting a Meccano set as a young boy, so I eventually  tracked one down and gave it to him as a Christmas present one year. By that time he was well into his eighties, but when I gave it to him, he looked to me like he was eight years old again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I've always been interested in how early experiences influences and shape peoples lives. In my dad's case, his first encounter with the mechanics of a boat that size must have been really amazing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

They say our earliest memories are the most vivid. When my dad told me about his journey to Canada I could only imagine what it was like. That's him, on the far right of the photo album picture below. When the movie Titanic came out he really wanted to see it, so we went. Dad was not a movie-goer, but he wanted to see it again, so we went - again!

Friday, May 20, 2011

When I decided to write and Illustrate this picture book for my dad's 100th birthday, I had no idea if he would live to see it, but happily he did! The book is based on stories he told me over the years that I would like to share...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Winding down from TCAF!

Well, TCAF is over, and I've just found some time to blog. This festival was a first for me and a really great one at that! I've been to a lot of mainstream comic-cons over the years with Ken, but this one was different - he was MY booth bunny this time.

TCAF had no wild super-hero costumes, just people interested in stories about extraordinarily ordinary people, drawn in a style unique to each artist. I really like the fact that TCAF was held in the Toronto Reference Library, which means comics are finally being recognized as a viable medium to communicate ideas - the marrying of words and pictures is not just for kids!!!

I'll be slowing down on posting, but I will commit to once a week, until I finish the second in the series of my graphic novels, which will take a while. But next up is the picture book I did as a tribute to my dad's life which I presented to him on his 100th birthday - hope you'll enjoy it too!

Friday, May 6, 2011

See you all at TCAF this weekend!

I'm at booth 157 just outside the Beeton Auditorium, where I'll have copies of Aurora Borealice, and a limited edition print for sale - I'll also have some original artwork available, and will be doing sketches too! 

No worries if you can't be there, I'll be posting snaps of the show next week - and you can order my books from me directly. I'll be posting pages from my first book, "So, That's That!" a biography of my dad, who lived to be 100!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

And so ends the first chapter of my quest - as my dad used to say, "So, that's that!" I really hope you have enjoyed my story - stay tuned for volume two, which is already in the works! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The new years eve party turned into a wake. We watched White Zombie just as planned, and we became what we beheld.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Without speech McLuhan was forced to communicate non-verbally, and at that point in my life I just wanted to say a few words, but found myself unable to speak. I so wish I could've said goodbye...

Monday, May 2, 2011

The technological maelstrom of the 70's had a torrential effect on how we communicated. McLuhan once said " We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us." 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thanks to Eric's strength as a teacher and mentor, having taken his class for just a year I had dramatically increased my ability to understand McLuhan. Eric spoke his dad's language with clarity and wit, having collaborated with him on a number of books in the 60's and 70's. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Having a conversation with Eric seemed effortless - he listened to what I had to say, and responded accordingly. This give-and-take helped me a great deal to believe in myself.   

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making plans for yet another party - remembering that my birthday is on new year's eve is always a bit of an afterthought  but I got used to it. Besides, two celebrations are better than one!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Martha and the Muffins played at my graduation - art college was fertile ground for the music scene in Toronto, it literally rocked!!
Marshall's stroke was a shock. Ironically, I already knew about the function of the right and left hemispheres of the brain because we had been studying it in Eric's class.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I had a hunch TV was having a profound effect on our world and here was someone who studied those effects. McLuhan was from a literate book culture and I was part of a post-literate one. What he was saying was rich in metaphors that I could somehow understand, in my own way.   

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wow! Here I was at the Centre For Culture &Technology, hiding in the background trying to absorb every word - I was spellbound! McLuhan spoke with such authority.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ken and Paul shared a studio and the cracks were starting to show. I was amused at how Paul used drawing to communicate an unspoken language... Queen St. was alive with artists that flocked there, either to be seen, or to see others.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eric's Media Interface class proved to be very insightful as to how our ground shapes us in ways we are unaware of. I got to explore this idea through the billboard project, that was up at Dundas and St. Patrick for three weeks. The Punk Rock scene was in full swing in the late 70's, and OCA was a great venue for bands like the Diodes. The parties sure got more interesting...