Monday, November 18, 2019

In some ways I like the portability of working small. 
It's easy to fit into my pocket and take to a coffee shop.  

Every summer when my sister and I visit my brother in Ontario, we do a project.
This year, it was laying the lino... I tried to capture the essence in this postcard size comic. I posted it on instagram but this version flows a bit better and is also cleaned up somewhat. It was not easy working this small...

Karen Gillmore did an excellent watercolour demonstration in my class last week.
 Here's her web site, she has so many valuable tips about watercolour and lots more...

Thursday, October 3, 2019

I came across this great quote by W B Yeats...

"The matrix of innovation is a junkyard."

As a young girl growing up in a junk yard, my dad gave me and my three siblings jobs... picking copper out of wrecked cars or any other junk in the yard that contained copper wiring. 
It was like mining for gold. At an early age I new the deference between copper, brass, tin, steel and aluminium. The wires were often coated in a plastic casing, which would have to be removed before my dad could sell the metal, so, he would just burn it off! Cough cough… not environmentally friendly!
 Another job we had was to collect the smaller pieces of metal and separate them into different piles, then through them into lugger boxes ( a large steel container)  
As the cars accumulated over the years, the yard got so full of junk my dad would 
hire a crane service to  come into the yard, to load all the car carcasses onto a flatbed long truck.  
That and all the other junk would be taken to a bigger scrap metal dealer in Hamilton, 
to be crushed into cubes and recycled…This repeated itself about every five years. 
We had the best playground anyone could ask for.  

This was the front yard view of the house we lived in, that little white house,
was our first home we lived in when we were very small. It was used as a storage space at the time this picture was taken. 
In the foreground is my father chopping wood and me and my brother with our dog.
The photo above this was the side view of the yard. Just to give you 
a sense of scale. Behind that big shed was a skating rink, shown in the picture below.

I'm the one siting in the back seat of our car made out of junk.
 Very innovative I'd say! 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Yesterday Ken and I were at Word Vancouver .
We shared this table with Sean Karemaker.
It was a tight fit but we made it work

Here's Ian Boothby who was the moderator on our panel.
Sean with hisVR device, his drawings came to life in
3D stereoscopic view. Amazing to look at!!

Monday, September 23, 2019

 episode, starting at the 1:01 mark

I was interviewed on the CBC last week!

This Sunday the 29th I'll be at Word on the Street in Vancouver with a big box of books! 
I'll also be on a panel with Sean Karemaker, one of my favourite graphic novelist. I'm so excited!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Here's a pod cast with Speech Bubble, Ken and I did last spring at TCAF.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hey everyone, I'll be signing my books at Legends comic store on Sat.7th.Sept. Hope to see you there! Here's a link...

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

This just came in from Comics Journal! It's an interview Alex Dueben did with me a few months ago. Check it out!

Monday, July 29, 2019

I saw this quilt in an Art gallery near Rhode Island School of Design. I did a
double take when I saw what it was made of!! Talk about the "medium is the message"

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

When Ken and I were in New York in May we decided to go into 
Barns & Noble  to check out their graphic novel section and 
saw our books! What a thrill!!

They were also in Forbidden Planet a comic shop.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Every year TCAF grows its hard to keep up with all the talks and panels, so many great ones at the same time, it’s hard to choose. One of the panels I really liked was Craig Thompson (Blankets) I’m a big fan of his work. He talked about his new serialized comic Ginseng Roots. I found some parallels in his life to my own childhood. As a kid he had summer jobs working on a ginseng farm, picking rocks from the fields, hoeing weeds and all the things that go along with growing that crop. The money he made was not much but it paid for his comic habit! He equated how much money he made with how many comics he could buy. He mentioned now a days immigrants do most of that work, back then it was a  summer job for teens but not anymore, either they don’t want to do that kind of work because it is hard, or the immigrants  don’t mind the hot sun and work harder. When I was old enough to work in the farmer’s fields, I did every summer into my late teens. I picked beans, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, we hoed weeds and picked rocks out of the fields so they would’t damage the farmers machinery. With the money I made I’d buy Basil Wolverton gum cards at the corner store. They were exaggerated cartoons of faces with common names. We would find our friends name and laugh at the ugly face on the card while we chewed our gum. Wolvertons were a big influence on me, I started drawing caricatures throughout my art college days, that money paid for my tuition!
Anyway… getting back to TCAF. The range of diverse art styles was inspiring. I was incredibly happy to be part of all the debut books at the Conundrum table. I also had a signing on Saturday and Sunday as well as a panel called Then and Now with Jeffrey Ellis of (Cloudscape Comic)a publisher from Vancouver,  soon to publish my son Alex’s comic, in the fall! Michael Charka (Silent Invasion) was also on the panel, with our moderator Brendan Montgomery of Sequential magazine. There’s a review of Aurora BoreAlice in the latest issue. Ken and I were also interviewed by Aaron Broverman of Speech Bubble Podcast. There’s also an interview I did with Comics Journal but I’m not sure when it’s coming out… I keep you posted.

Basil Wolverton cartoons
Add caption

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The last two weeks have been exciting, interesting, exhausting and fun! I’ll try and keep this as brief as I can - ha! Now that I have some time to reflect… I'm at my brothers place in the country with no internet (not a bad thing). I walked three miles to town to get it, or sometimes I hitch a lift, so I won't be posting to often.
First day at TCAF The Toronto Comic Art Convention. Ken and I started with educators day the Friday before the con. The whole day was organized with panels and talks on a wide range of subjects for librarians and educators. Raina Telgemeier (Smile) Scott Chandler ( Two Generals), Gord Hall (War On The Coast), James Daidge ( Utopia) and more, it was hard to keep up... 
There were also lots of publishers showing graphic novels, so many more now then when I first made an appearance at TCAF in 2011. The two publishers that stood out for me were First Second from New York and Manga Classics. The enthusiasm of the publisher of First second was exciting when he talked about the reneasance  that is happening  now in graphic novels being published. Scott McLoud's novel on Visual Literacy will be out soon - can’t wait! Also a new line of Science Comics and Maker Comics. The other publication I found inspiring was They’re  publishing a whole line of classics, from Shakespeare to Poe but the kicker is the artwork style is Manga, these are not adaptations, they’re the original text and young people are eating them up! The form has changed but not the content. A lot of the classics in literature are being transformed and published at a fast pace, kid’s no longer bulk at reading them anymore. Teachers who grasp this new form will have an easier job trying to get kids into reading the classics. That is, the teachers who are progressive...

That was Friday, Educators Day, it was very well organized by TCAF. Later I’ll fill you in on Sat. and Sun.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
I'm very excited about this!!! I'm leaving tomorrow - can't wait!

Monday, May 6, 2019

The image below is me when I was in my early teens. This was my junkyard playground, where I grew up. My dad wasn’t the most organized, random junk came and went over the years... scrap cars, appliances, anything made of steel, tin, brass or copper.  One year my dad got in some old vending machines, it was a gold mine for us because we found lots of money that had fallen in the back of machine! I think we made more money that way then my dad did from scrapping the machine!! I’m not sure how the toilet got in there but it did...

The little house in the background was our first home before we had electricity, didn’t have that till the early 60s - hard to believe! But we managed, four kids and my parents in that small house. I still remember my mum heating water on a wood burning iron stove, so we could have a bath in a metal tub, I often shared with my sisters. I have lots more pictures were that came from...

Thursday, May 2, 2019

I've been looking through some old photos and found this, I used as reference for a page in my graphic novel. The page is below. When I was growing up in my dad's junkyard we had some interesting junk to play around in... This was a Shell gas station sign from back in the 60's.  I might have been about ten when this photo was taken. That's me with the pole, our junkyard dog, my sister Beryl standing on the shell with my friend Kathy, who I'm still friends with. The pond or rather swamp was lots of fun in the summer and in the winter became our skating rink, near the front of our house. The pond has since dried up.

I made the Shell sign more visible in my drawing as you can see, with my brother and
sister playing. The house I grew up in is in the background and my brother still lives there. I visit every summer and winter. That's my nostalgia trip for today!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Ken did an incredible job on this book! Now it's all three comics in one hardback book.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

I heard there's only one copy left at Munro's. My official release date for my book is the 16th of this month, so I'm not sure why Mono's got four copies so soon...?
I was really happy to see it on the same shelf as the  The Handmaids Tale. Rene did an amazing adaptation of Margaret Atwood's original novel. The artwork is stunning!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Jay and Willa at Capital City Con. These conventions are a wonderful way of connecting creative people of all ages. I've enjoyed the ride! I was really happy to see so many of  our students  participating in this event. It was also great to see lots of our alumni selling comics and  related things at their own tables. Good on you all!!!

I've pretty much decided not to draw my caricartoons at any more comic conventions, although I will still be taking home commissions.  I've enjoyed many years of engaging with the public and the joy I got from their appreciation of my caricartoons.My focus  now is on my Graphic Novel,  as well as new stories I have to tell. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ken and I will have a booth at this event, 
along with some of our students Fri. Sat. Sun. 
I'm going to be drawing people in their costumes 
or as their favourite character! Please join us 
and support our students.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

I found it!

Hi Eric,
Hope all is well with you, busy working on any new books or finishing off old ones? I'm currently finishing the last chapter in my Graphic Novel, Aurora BoreAlice - finally!!! I'd like to ask you if you would take a minute to answer a few questions about education? They don't have to be long answers and they could be point form... It sure would help me out. I'm working on a double page spread in my book where I have dropped out of UVIC and you're encouraging me to go back and finish... here goes.
Cheers :^)
1.Why would you encourage anyone to get a university degree and if so why or why not?
2. Is a University degree relevant? (My story takes place in the 90's so you'd have to consider the time frame)

Below is what Eric said...which I adapted to word balloon text, in a few pages of my book.

I'd encourage think in terms of getting the education, not necessarily the degree. But the courses put you in touch with trained minds (and a few dopes) from whom you can learn much about how to think and how to SEE. When you enrol in a course you have carte blanche to pick the minds of those charged with teaching. Their job is to save your time not feed you data (though few of them know this and sometimes you have to learn in spite of them and their idea of what they are doing). So your job is to be working on something for them to help you with. Read every book on the reading list. Come to every class prepared with questions you want answered (i.e., = how you prepare for each class). Exams are generally not much use--a way to keep others in line who are not working on anything for themselves. Writing papers can be a useful employment. Most of the time what you remember from a course years later is the papers you wrote. So write more papers than they ask for and maybe hand them in to the teachers you respect. 
Way back, a century and more ago, the course load was structured this way. Undergrads are allowed to take 5 courses (3 hours per week each) = 15 hours class time / week. It was assumed that the student would spend 2 hours on homework for EACH hour of class = a total of 45 hours = the same load as a full-time job of 40 hours / week. Nobody does this today, but that was the thinking. You do that and you'll sail through every course. The grad student was allowed to take 4 3-hour courses and (assumed) do 3 hours homework for each hour. And to work at a much deeper level than the undergrad. The restrictions (# of courses) remain but the rationale has been utterly forgotten. Undergrads party instead of study.
But the degree has its uses, as an indication to others that you have mastered this or that. I.e., its value is just public accreditation/acknowledgement; it is not a measure of what you know or have learned. There is no such measure except what you produce using what you have learned or gleaned.
Another use of the degree (not the piece of paper) is that it will force you to examine ideas and material that you would not otherwise look at: it broadens you. Here the survey courses are useful. Along that line, if you find a really interesting course being offered, ask the prof if you can audit it--sit in the back and just listen. You don't enrol in the course, you sit there and learn what you want. You don't write papers or exams (unless you want to write a paper or two). Some places charge for auditing.
The one thing a university is NOT designed to be is a job factory, though that is the usual way of "measuring success." -- I.e., they ask, "how many of the students got jobs in the field they studied?" Utterly perverse. But it is the way they measure and sell the idea of relevance. What a university education ought to be about is in the word universe-- It makes you capable of using your mind and talents universally, in any and every area and at a sophisticated level, the more so the higher you go. It opens doors in the intellect, helps the intellect and the spirit grow and mature and become strong. And daring. I often compare it to being locked in the bank vault over the weekend: you have complete access to ALL the goodies of civilization--take everything you can and ignore the restrictions.
Relevance? That's whatever you can make of it. The idea is not that the University will give you the goodies: it will give you the tools that you need to go anywhere and get the goods for yourself.
Is that any help?


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

This is one of my favourite quotes - I was that fish in the jar! 

Eric Mcluhan who I dedicated my graphic novel to, was my mentor and friend I was very fortune to have for over forty years. I completed the first version of my book which was about 95 pages, way back around 2010. The story ended in 1980 after Marshal Mcluhan wake, at Eric's house, new years eve... my birthday.  I gave Eric a copy of my book to read and I remember that I was a bit nervous as to what he would think. After reading it,  he referred to my journey as an odyssey.  He encouraged me to tell more... so I did. Below is a letter he wrote after reading my book. Sadly... he past away last May 2018 and never saw the completed 265 page version. The letter below is what he wrote back in 2010.

This is a page from a sequence in my book, were I'm having a conversation about education with Eric.
When I was working on these pages, I asked Eric if he could help me out and answer a few questions I had about the importance in a University education... What he wrote was just what I needed to complete these pages. I will try and find that letter...

Monday, March 11, 2019

These are the most important numbers in my life!

ISBN 978-776262-037-5

Monday, March 4, 2019

I'm sooo excited - my books arrived today!!!
I'll be posting random pages and talking about them later.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Because it's Valentines day... I thought I'd post a Valentines 
story from this 2nd grade reader I had as a child. I was at Bolens

book store the other day and saw a bunch of the Dick and Jane
books in reprint!

This is a page from my graphic novel but it doesn't
 have word balloons at this point. If you look closely 
you can see the reader in the middle of the stacked books.

I don't know why I kept this book... maybe nostalgia? I do like looking 
at it from time to time. I'll always remember those snowy days around 
Valentines day in Ontario. It's rare but we had a blizzard in Victoria this 
weekend, it made me think of this reader... hope you enjoy!