Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Here's a link to an article titled The Audience Shapes the Comic that I wrote earlier this year for an online journal Eric McLuhan edits for the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design - I wanted to apply what I had learned from his book Media and Formal Cause to comics, and I'd be very interested in hearing your response, thanks!

Journal of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design

Friday, November 30, 2012

I was giving a talk about my books the other day and I mentioned these quotes; the two at the top are on my drawing table - they keep me going. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I had reached a point in my life where it was difficult to navigate - it was literally a juggling act! Sometimes we retreat into the past when we feel overwhelmed... Edgar Allen Poe's "Descent Into The Maelstrom" was one of McLuhan's favorite passages. which he used to describe modern living. He said, "Innumerable confusions and a feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological transition."  On the micro-level my life was dizzying but on the macro-level the world was changing without much awareness of the change. In my generation the technology of the book was being overshadowed by the new media of TV, and an awful lot of technological change has occurred  since then. Good or bad, we all have to navigate through these changes, no matter how big or small. Both Poe and McLuhan thought pattern recognition was key to navigating through the maelstrom.

I'm sorry to say, I won't be posting pages for a little while because the rest for this book are still in various stages of completion, but I'll be working diligently on them over the holidays. It's actually been in a real juggling act in the last few months - Ken and I are teaching a new certificate program in Comics & Graphic Novels at Camosun College here in Victoria (the only one of its kind in mainstream post-secondary schools in Canada!) that just launched in september, and we're having an amazing time! Hope you'll check it out at:

Anyway, I'll still be posting things, and thoughts on things at least one a week - so please stay toooned!! ;^)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My childhood was not the norm, so we made do with what we had and learned to be creative at an early age. We used an old Volkswagon hood as a toboggan in the winter, and the shell sign from a gas station as a raft in the summer. Growing up in a junkyard was always interesting - it was constently changing and filling with things that were either obsolete or just old and discarded. I guess you could say my dad was one of the early recyclers, but the term hadn't even been coined back then!     

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My dad and Ken's dad were two very different people, but they got along just fine. Mine ran his own scrap metal business and had lived in the same house for more than fifty years, the one I grew up in! Ken's dad was a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force and  they lived in just about every province in Canada, as well as in Germany, where Ken was born. 

My dad didn't go far in school, and was uneducated in the traditional sense, but he was a self-taught man, who possessed earthy wisdom. He loved talking to people about any subject - had a knack for storytelling, and he'd have you hanging off his every word. My Dad never wrote much but loved to read, especially about different cultures of the world; in a way, he travelled to distant countries via the books he read.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Visiting my parents in the country was always an adventure. My dad would eventually arrive, but the car was a bit unpredictable. "Junky Jack"  loved to tinker with his old cars, he often extended their life before they ended up on the scrap heap!

Friday, October 5, 2012

I really got into reading more and more McLuhan books after taking Eric's class. The work seemed to resonate with me and my thoughts on literacy. The Gutenberg printing press made mass education possible - and that was hundreds of years before it came to me! We all take for granted that the book has been around for a long time but it hasn't really, if you look at the big historical picture. Anyway, Ken had planted the seed of relocating out West, but I wasn't ready to consider the thought of moving so far away at that time in my life...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back in the late 70's we took a trip to New York; I had never been there before, and I decided to do drawings of our trip rather than photos, 'cause I'm a bit camera shy! 

The upper left drawing is us standing around waiting to get in for a tour at the Marvel Comics office. Tom Orzechowski (he's one of the greatest letterers ever!) and Dean Motter were there with us. 2nd picture wis of Times Square, the 3rd pic is us at a great restaurant in NYC, in pic 4 we went to see the play A Day In Hollywood a Night in the Ukraine. Pic 5, we couldn't afford much so we stayed in the Iroquois, a scary cheap hotel; in it's day it was a great place but by the 70's it was totally creepy!. Pic 6 is us at the Metropolitan Museum, pic 7 the  World Trade Centre (!) Pic 8  window shopping at Bloomingdale's, and Pic 9 the scary subway!

Although these drawings weren't comic strips, they did have a certain narrative that I enjoyed doing, but didn't take them seriously at the time!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I think Alex's first day at school was more traumatic for me than it was for him. He had an amazing inventive spirit even back then, and I just hoped he would retain it while he learned to read and write. We are all born with imagination, but hanging on to it is another story. Some of us draw, some of us dance, some sing effortlessly as children. The effort of becoming literate is a huge task that takes many years to perfect - I'm still working on it! ;^)  

For many people the creative side gets pushed aside in order to focus on literacy - as Picasso once said said " It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to paint like a child." And Einstein said, "logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere." 

And so it goes. I'm glad I can draw, that  is my first language - the other one is English, which is a lot of work! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This quote by Marshall McLuhan ties in nicely with these images:
"Innumerable confusions and a feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological transition" 
The technology of TV had a profound effect on literacy; our brains were changing as a result. The dominance of print was being overshadowed by TV, but both technologies had an effect on how we think, and literacy remains essential in order to function in our world. I had fallen through the cracks of the educational system, so the fear at that time in my life was; what's in store for my children? McLuhan observed that every time a new technology emerges, the ground changes, and the more we are inundated with new technology the more we have to adapt. The next generation is growing up in a digital world that requires a new kind of literacy, but hopefully we learn how to communicate effectively with all the new technology we have today.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The children's book CDB! by William Steig, was an interesting find because it used the individual letters of the alphabet, as actual words. By saying the letters Alex thought he was reading the book, it was a fun thing to do but I hope it didn't mess him up to much!! The book is full of fun stuff, although you have to read it aloud for the full effect. Another  book I recommend is Mots D'heures: Gousses, Rames  IBN 0 14 00. 5730 7  it's worth a look. The rhymes sound like English but are written in French - it's fun to ask someone who speaks  French and English to read it aloud and wait for their reaction!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I've got nothing against streetcar drivers and there're a lot of great ones out there but this time - this guy really pissed me off!  He actually said that, I was shocked, all I could do was blert out a few sarcastic words. I think if that were me today I would have said what's in the thought balloon. (I just noticed the thought balloon should have been placed above my head, oops!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

As long as I can remember I loved to draw people.  Drawing was a form of language for me, a way of communicating that I lacked when it came to the written and spoken language.  I needed help in school but was to shy to ask for it, so, I drew more and more, as I failed more and more grades.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

We lived in the Beaches area  four nine years and the Goof  is a Toronto land mark, your typical greasy chinese food restaurant. The letters in the neon sign burnt out decades ago, that's how it got it's name the " GOOF" Recently the place has gone upscale, although the sign still remains the same.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My career started to take off after I got the teaching job and realized my own ability to sculpt - ironically I didn't study sculpting in art college. I was inspired by the 3D caricatures of a British show called Spitting Image, an outrageously funny satire of politicians and Royalty. Three dimensional illustration became popular in the eighties so I took my work around to art directors and managed to get some freelance work. 
I was happy to be doing illustration in my own style, and in a medium that I felt comfortable with. Ken loved to take pictures so he became my official photographer. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

After living in Toronto for thirteen years, the traffic and pollution became increasingly tiresome, but that was part of life in the city. The thought of moving elsewhere did cross our minds, until I landed a teaching job at the Beach Art Centre. I was excited at the prospect of teaching, but a bit terrified at the same time. My nervousness wasn't visible to the students because the lights were out and all eyes were on the image and not me - fortunately!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Having Raymond, our second child, made me a full-time mom, even though my mother-in-law often corrected my grammar as if I were still a child myself. I actually didn't really mind, because in a way she was doing me a favour - it was like having a tutor, and that meant less class-time for me!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I was eager and willing to learn French, but my first class was so upsetting I never returned to it, unfortunately. Defeated by my own frustration, I was down and out - but not for long! I got back up and carried on with English, even though at times it felt as if it was not my first language. I really can empathize with immigrants who have to learn English - it's not a easy language!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I finally got to study King Lear at a local highschool in the evenings, when I had more energy. Writing the papers was hard, but overall the subject was fascinating to learn, and fortunately Ken helped me over some rough spots. I managed to get through the year and decided to take on two courses a week. I was still somewhat resentful I didn't get this stuff during the five years I spent in vocational school, but proving to myself I could do it helped me move on. 
Learning French was my next big challenge!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Having a baby has its challenges, and I think my profanity vocabulary grew that day! The responsibility of raising a child was daunting, but Alex was a joy to hold and behold... You're never really prepared for what's ahead, but I soon learned to take things one day at a time and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of parenthood. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

When I started my high school night class I was five months pregnant, but because I was thin normally, I didn't look much bigger until December. I really didn't want the other students to know I was preggers so I tried to disguise my plumpness with big clothes. The last few weeks of my class were tricky, but I made it through til the Christmas holidays, then I had Alex on the 27th of December. I went back to my class about two weeks later, and nobody knew I'd just had a baby!

Friday, June 8, 2012

When I started my high school night class I was five months pregnant, but because I was thin normally, I didn't look much bigger until December. I really didn't want the other students to know I was preggers so I tried to disguise my plumpness with big clothes. The last few weeks of my class were tricky, but I made it through til the Christmas holidays, then I had Alex on the 27th of December. I went back to my class about two weeks later, and nobody knew I'd just had a baby!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I will be posting four pages a week of my second book, with all the word balloons in place. This is from my preview book I presented at TCAF last month. I'll try not to be redundant with the comments I made on the pages I've already posted, but I've done sixty pages so far and I'm curently working on forty more to add to this book. There will be more editing that needs to be done, so if anyone wishes to make suggestions, by all means feel free to do so!

One of the things I miss about Toronto is the snow - ironically that was one of the reasons why we left. You really don't know what you'll miss til you don't have it. A snowflake is a beautiful thing until there are too many of them!! One of the things my McLuhan studies have taught me is that the way you learn about something is to take it away. What is the effect when a new technology apears then disappears? We get used to something when we have it all the time but when it's gone, it becomes precious, as McLuhan observed:

"When the globe becomes a single electronic web, with all its languages and cultures recorded on a single tribal drum, the fixed point of view of print becomes irrelevant - however precious."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hi everyone!

Sorry I missed a few weeks of posting, but I'm in travel mode and I'll be in Ontario till the end of July - living the nomad life. This picture of me is at TCAF, and the energy there was amazing! Every year it just gets bigger with more artists and more interested people of all ages and backgrounds who are there absorbing all the creativity. 

I loved being part of this event and having interesting conversations with the people stopping by my booth. A BIG thanks to everyone at the show, and to my booth-bunny Ken (my biggest fan!) who's always supportive of my artistic pursuits, and also to Emily who helped me out.

I hope to keep on track with posting pages from my second book, at least once a week. Cheers for now - Joan :^)