Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide Part 3: Children's Books

Our whole family was hit with a bad cold, so this gift guide has taken a bit longer to put together, but it looks like we're all on the mend just in time for Christmas! Let's jump right in now though shall we to Part 3 of my Holiday Gift Guide, focusing on the best in Canadian Children's Books.

As many of you parents know, reading to your child can be one of life's great pleasures. If your little one happens to have selected a poorly written and drawn book for a bedtime story however, the night becomes a long and arduous one. I'm looking at you Dora books! I'll admit, there are even a few books in Rosie's collection that I've had to hide or give away, because they're just too painful to read.

Here are a few that we've read this year that have been a joy for both parent and child to read. Again I'm focusing on books by Canadians because well - I'm Canadian and we're blessed with lots of good talent here.

I Want my Hat Back
Written and Drawn by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press,

Jon Klassen is an award-winning animator, and this is the first children's book that he's written and drawn. The story: the bear has lost his hat, and wants its back. He goes through the forest looking for it. Here's a little YouTube video for it:

What I like about this book, beyond the wonderful illustrations is the clarity and simplicity of the storytelling. This is something that looks easy when done well, but is very hard to pull off. The bear is a character and the forest animals have a lot of personality. The dialogue is also very funny.
Everyone in the family will love this book!

I Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza, Pictures by Matt James
Groundwood Books
HC, $18.95 

This is the first book by Laurel Croza. It's based on her own experiences as a little girl moving from place to place as her father worked on various dam projects in Saskatchewan. The story follows a little girl's move from Saskatchewan to Toronto. She talks about all the things she loves in her small town, and the fear and excitement that moving to an unknown big city.

What I love about this book is that it doesn't undermine a child's thoughts and feelings, everything the little girl describes is meaningful and true. Here's a sample:

"This is where I live. I don't know Toronto. I know here."

Every word seems careful chosen and honestly the book is quite powerful. The drawings are lovely as well. This is a real treat. Happily, I'm not the only one to have discovered it. The book has garnered a lot of attention, getting shortlisted for a Governor General's Award for Children's Illustration, and is the winner of the 2010 Boston Globe Book Award, the 2011 Ezra Jack Keats Award, and the New York Public Library New Writer Award.

When You Were Small
Written by Sara O'Leary, Drawn by Julie Morstad
Simply Read Books
HC, $19.95

I first became award of Julie Morstad from Drawn and Quarterly's "Milk Teeth" book of her work, still my favourite of their "Petits Livres" series of books. When I found out she had drawn some children's books, I was anxious to check them out.

It turns out that she has actually done a series of books with writer Sara O'Leary and each is lovely, gentle, sweet, charming and GORGEOUSLY illustrated. They are all great, and you should get them all, but I think the first one is the best (although honestly it's hard to pick): "When You Were Small". Every night Henry sits with his dad and asks to hear about when he was small, and his father tells him stories...

Here are the other two books in the series which are equally deserving of attention.

Where You Came From

Saturday, December 17, 2011

London Free Press Holiday Gift Guide

I'm very happy to have been included in James Reaney's yearly Holiday Gift Guide (under "O" for  "Original"):

Original, hand-screened T-shirts with logos including a Nihilist Spasm Band-inspired kazoo image are available from London artist Diana Tamblyn. She also has comics, $2-$24.

If you're in the London area, I'd be happy to do arrange a drop-off or pick up. I have plenty of tees in just about every size and various colours. Email me for your preference and to make arrangements.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide Part 2: Graphic Novels & HCs

Parker - Martini Edition HC

By Darwyn Cooke, IDW Publishing, 308 pages, $75.00

What would be one of the best books to get a comic book lover this Christmas (or crime lover, or film noir lover)? This book! If it's not under the Christmas tree for me this year, I will be sorely disappointed.
This oversized hardcover book collects the first two Parker graphic novels: "The Hunter" and "The Outfit", along with an additional 65-pages of content AND a brand new 8-page story by Cooke. Other extras include an art gallery section and bonus material by the likes of Ed Brubaker and Abbey Westlake (Donald Westlake's wife). It looks gorgeous too,  packaged in a slipcase edition!

If you haven't read them, the Cooke Parker books are very faithful adaptations of Richard Stark's (aka Richard Westlake) books, but they also work perfectly in and of themselves. You don't need to have read a Stark book or know anything about the Parker character (played by Lee Marvin in Point Blank and also Mel Gibson in Payback), before picking this up.

Cooke one of the modern masters working in comics right now. I'd put him right up there with Mike Mignola and Jaime Hernandez, and I think this is his best work. It's that good.
Check his work from the Hunter here.

Now don't delay, go out and buy this book for your favourite comic lover today!


By Rebecca Kraatz, Conundrum Press, 138 pages, $15.00

I picked up this book at TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) in the Spring. It was the release I was most looking forward to at the whole show - and that's really saying something, since the whole space at TCAF buzzes with energy, creativity and talent. Apprently I wasn't the only one, as Andy Brown from Conundrum Press said it the book his best seller at the show.

Her previous graphic novel - House of Sugar was so good that Hope Larson had to start a publishing company just to print it. It remains the only title that Tulip Tree Press ever put out. It won Kraatz the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2007. The book remains one of my favourites - and Snaps is even better I'd say.

This book is a series of short stories - some connected some not. All the stories were inspired by 1940s photos that Kraatz has collected (mostly from flea markets). The photos gave her ideas for the stories and images.

Kraatz is also a visual artist in addition to being a cartoonist, and does a lot of her work as woodburns. This technique translates to pen and ink really well, giving a woodcut kind of look.
Snaps had stayed on my night table since the Spring, which is where my favourite books end up staying as I tend to look at them over and over again. It has a wonderful, ethereal quality to it, and it stays with you for quite some time.

The stories pack quite an emotional punch. I've lent this book to a couple of friends and the response tends to be "I never knew a book could be like that".
My only complaint of the book is that the cover isn't nearly as strong as the contents. I wouldn't want people to overlook it on the shelves because it is really subtle and doesn't jump out at you.

Don't judge the book by its cover though, pick it up today!

Hark A Vagrant

By Kate Beaton, Drawn & Quarterly, 160 pages, $19.95

What can I say about 2009 Doug Wright Best Emerging Talent winner Kate Beaton and her "Hark a Vagrant" comics that hasn't already been said?

Her comics (about mostly Canadian history) are witty, charming and hilarious! This NYT best-seller is a compilation of some of her best webcomics. This is a great gift for almost everyone you know - they don't need to like comics to enjoy it either. 

I want to add something that most people don't comment on - her cartooning skills. Don't let her style fool you - though the comics may look like they've been dashed off, Beaton has been getting more and more polished. It's very hard to do what she's doing and depict characters and situations with just a few lines. I'd say she's approaching Quentin Blake style, and she's only going to get better!

Over the past few years, Beaton has built up an ardent and loyal fan base who have quickly turned this online sensation into a best-selling book. See what all the fuss is about and pick it up today.
You can also check out the webcomic here.

Two Generals

By Scott Chantler, McLelland & Stewart, 152 pages, $19.95

Full disclosure: I'm a good friend of Scott Chantler's and I've watched him work on this book for years now. You know what though? It's been worth the wait as it's the best thing he's done to date.

Two Generals tells a story near and dear to Scott's heart about his grandfather - Law Chantler's experiences in the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, along with his best friend, Jack, a fellow officer, during WWII.

As mentioned, this book was a real labour of love for Scott and involved his going back through family history, his grandfather's diary and photos and a huge amount of research. In fact he's devoted a whole website to outlining his research process for the book here

Scott's toured the county speaking about this book at different book festivals and has picked up a boatload of awards nominations to boot: White Pine Award, Eisner Award, Joe Shuster Award.

This book would make a great gift for history lovers and graphic novel lovers. If you can, try to pick up the hardcover version that looks like a leather bound diary. It's gorgeous!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: Minis

I thought I'd make a stab at posting some recommendations of quality comics you can give (and receive) this Christmas. First up we'll start with a category that is near and dear to my heart: mini-comics!

I'll also be focusing on Canadian cartoonists & artists and/or books with Canadian content (just 'cause that's how I roll).

Old-Timey Hockey Tales
Rob Ullman & Jeffrey Brown

32 pages, colour cover, B&W interior. $6.00

This is a great mini-comic full of stories of hockey legends like Rocket Richard, Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuk. Stories alternate by Rob Ullman and Jeffrey Brown, a pair of terrific cartoonists.

A MUST for all the hockey fans on your list. I ordered a copy awhile back for myself (not because I'm a hockey fan so much, but because I think Ullman in particular is a fabulous and underrated cartoonist). I kicked myself once it arrived as it's perfect for many people I know and I ended up making another order.

Don't be like me. Save yourself $$ on your purchase and buy multiples the first time out!

The Doug Wright Awards 2011
Dustin Harbin
24 pages, Fancy, schmancy shiny colour cover, B&W interior, $4.00

This 5-part series was original published on The Comics Journal website. It covers off Harbin's experience in attending the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning this past year at TCAF.

As a Canadian, I'm a sucker about reading what Americans think of us. Luckily Dustin thinks we're all charming, cultured and polite (which of course we are).

Harbin is really coming into his own as a cartoonist, check this out and see what all the fuss is about.

I Love You Gabrielle Bell
Jason Kieffer
20 pages, 2-colour cover, B&W interior, $1.50

I had to pick up this cute little mini-comic, because I too love Gabrielle Bell. Who doesn't really? In this comic, we find Kieffer falling for Bell at TCAF where he was selling his comics close to her booth. It's an unrequited love story, but quite funny and charming. 

I admit it's a little unfair to include in this holiday gift guide as Jason doesn't sell this mini-comic from his site, so I'm not sure where you can get it. I picked it up at The Dragon in Guelph this past summer, so I imagine stores like the Beguiling, Luckys and Quimbys would have it.

Kieffer does have a free preview for an upcoming work in progress though about "Zanta", the guy who wears a Santa hat and no shirt and is found doing pushups in the Toronto subway. I totally remember this guy and he does have a good back story. I hope Kieffer finished this book!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas

Well it's not really. Here in London, Ontario it's unseasonably warm but you won't hear me complaining!

I've gotten myself more organized this year and have already done up my Christmas card designs. Just waiting to get them back from the printer, and then I can send them out! Rosie put me to shame by doing a completely original design in plasticine (look out Barbara Reid!), while I cheated by re-purposing some older drawings. Hey - it works!

Surfer Christmas

Wolvie X-Mas

Spidey Christmas

Christmas Scene - by Rosie
This is two people skating on a frozen lake with a Christmas tree nearby and Christmas lights shining in the background.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Literary Diaspora - Bad Day

Cecil Castelluci, a talented author and friend always has a lot on the go - be it writing an opera, young adult fiction, graphic novels and more.

One of her current projects is Literary Diaspora - "an experiment in sending words and images out into the wild through post. It is a playful game of narratives."

Basically it works like this, Cecil did up a bunch of postcards with different pieces of text on them. Then she sent the postcards out to fellow artists and writers in the mail. Based on the words she sent us, we are to do an image or text/poem/etc to accompany it. Neat huh?

My text was "Bad Day". I have to say I did go the literal route and thought about what a bad day looked like - gray and rainy right? I did experiment with washes a little with it too though, and I'm pretty happy with the result below.

Check out the site with other entries by such people as Melissa Auf der Maur, Mo Willems, Cory Doctorow and more!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steam Whistle Show

Currently there is a terrific exhibit going on right now at the Steam Whistle Gallery called "Toronto Draws Tintin". Produced by The Beguiling, the show features takes on Herge's class Tintin character by dozens of  comics artists and illustrators from Toronto (as well as former Torontonians like myself).

The show started on November 2nd and runs until November 27th. On the closing night (Nov 27), all art on display will be auctioned off in support of The Canadian Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund and a graphic novel biography of Tintin’s creator Herge will be launched with the French author, Stanislas in attendance.

I'm a big fan of Tintin and did up the following for the show.

For me, the red rocket is a very iconic image, so I knew I had to include it in the piece. When I think of Tintin - I think of that red rocket. That is why it has the I chose to highlight it by having it be the only part of the image with colour. I'm pretty happy with how it came out... 

I plan on attending for this final night, and I know a lot of other participating artists will be in attendance as well.

The Canadian Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund provides financial relief for Canadian comics retailers, publishers, professionals, or readers whose right to free speech has been infringed by civil authorities.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Forest City Prints

The Idea

When I began my "Tree" series for the Arts Project (running November 1 - November 12), I decided I wanted to try something different for the show that I hadn't done before which is to do some high-end prints of my work.

I'm really fascinating by printmaking in general and think my line style suits it. I really like the look of Letterpress printing, so I did some research of who in the area could do this for me.

Letterpress printing was for years the normal form of printing text from the mid-15th to the 19th century. It's relief printing using a "type-high bed", in which a reversed, raised surface is inked then pressed onto a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image. It provides a really beautiful, hand-made quality to things. 

I found just who I was looking for with Vincent Perez at Everlovin' Press in Kingston, Ontario. Letterpress printing is a laborious process that requires someone well-schooled in the technique, and Vincent is a print expert who oversaw the Dawson Printshop at NSCAD University (which has one of the largest collections of moveable type in Canada).

The image I selected to get prints made from is this one below, of a Hackberry tree on Colborne St., which was voted the "People's Favourite Tree" in the 2010 Amazing Tree Quest contest.

And, since the trees of London provided the inspiration for the series, I thought I could also give back to them a bit by donating some proceeds from the print sales towards ReForest London, a great non-profit organization that's doing its best to look after the trees of our community.

The Process

The Original Scanned Image. For the print I thought I would like to make it look a little like a tourism poster to promote London (also known as the Forest City), so hand-lettered some text as a separate file to be dropped in.
I sent a high-rez digital file (1200 DPI) to Vincent, which he then made a plate from.
He then applies ink to the plate, and runs the paper through the press. For the colours, Vincent works from Pantone colours which I supplied. I used Lagoon Blue ( Pantone 16-5418) and Grass Green (Pantone 15-6437).
For the 2-colour prints (black and one-colour), the paper must pass through the press twice - one for the colour background, one for the black foreground. Paper is 130 lb Coronado (beautiful heavy stuff).
The paper is then cut to size (12 x 16 in this case).
Look at that perfect registration! The prints then just to need to dry, and they're all set.

The Result

I did a few different variations of the print including one of the tree with no text. Here's what the finished ones look like. I have them all packaged up individually in acid-free sleeves and mat boards. They are $35.00 each with $5.00 going towards ReForest London.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Tamblyn Show

I've been working like crazy preparing for my upcoming joint show at The Arts Project with my uncle - John Tamblyn. For almost a year now I've been drawing native trees of London (The Forest City), in my pen and ink style. At the show I'll also have some of my comic book art.

Here's a new piece I just finished of a White Oak in Mount Pleasant cemetery. A lot of the trees on the cemetery grounds are really outstanding. This one in particular really took my breath away.

John's series is on trains, specifically focusing on the graphitti art he's found on them. The combination of the rusting trains with the bright spraypaint colours provides some amazing images.

For the full info on the show, see the site I did up for it here:

Accidentally Pineapple Article

  • I also wanted to highlight an article about me for a new site called "Accidentally Pineapple" (great name I know). I was flattered to be asked to do an interview to help launch the site.
    >> Read the article.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Behold Orion!

I've been re-reading Jack Kirby's Fourth World saga recently and it's really been blowing my mind! The visuals are just so dynamic and lush. This is one that particulary struck me from a New Gods issue (I admit I changed the text around from the original). 

I find I do learn a lot doing pieces like this. Kirby is so big and bold with his imagery. Long live the King!  

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Some Recent Drawnings

Tree Series I've been working on new pieces in my "Tree Series" for my upcoming show with my uncle John at The Arts Project for November 1-12th. Here's three pieces I've recently completed.
Mount Pleasant Oak Tree

Colborne Hackberry

950 Colborne


Commission done for Dan Brown. I've always wanted to draw Lockjaw. All of the designs for the Inhumans are pretty amazing really. Black Bolt is another fave who I will draw one day soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Krypton Crawl

This year I'll be exhibiting at FanExpo for the first time ever at the Koyama Press booth (many thanks to the wonderful Annie Koyama for the space at the table).

I've worked the show a number of times for the Silver Snail who always have a super gigantic booth (which was a lot of fun - never have I gotten to sell so many big items like Lord of the Rings swords, Green Lantern power batteries, Cap shields and more). Let me tell you - people save all year and they spend a ton of dough at this show! Plus hanging with the Snail crew, talking comics and having a large space behind the table where you could move around was great too - unlike the aisles which are jam-packed! One year we even had Rosie at the booth in a playpen with Ciaran's son! A family affair for sure.

I've never had a table at the show though because I've felt that the stuff I do wouldn't go over very well at such a mainstream show - figured I'd be sitting at a corner and hearing crickets you know? I know that Kevin Boyd has been trying very hard over the past few years to showcase the diversity of comics work and talent though, and I know from friends that things have changed and indie stuff gets some decent attention now.

Special Print for FanExpo

Those of you who know me well, know that I'm a hard-core nerd. My true love are 1960s DC comics, the stranger the better - stuff like Angel and the Ape, Rainbow Batman, Legion of Super-Pets and of course Jimmy Olsen comics!

I wanted to do a special print for the show (my first ever print in fact), inspired by this love. Since I'm also a fan of Robert Goodin's Covered site (where indie artist draw their version of an old comic cover), I decided to do a crazy Jimmy Olsen cover. Believe me, there's no shortage of material to work from here. But here's the cover I picked...

This cover has it all, Jimmy playing the guitar, Supes swinging and singing. Superman too busy doing the Krypton Crawl to get to the emergency he's having so much fun! References to Elvis and the Beatles! Drawn by Curt Swan! It doesn't get much better.

Here's my version.
 Note I did make some differences:
  • I added in the DC "go-go checks". This is the checked top line, it ran across DC books for a couple of years in the 60's. I just really like it aesthetically. 
  • I took out the drummer (the cover is pretty busy already) 
  • Removed the weird banner-type thing running across the top. It looks slapped on and out of place to me.
  • I don't know what kind of instrument Jimmy is strumming on the Swan cover (in the interior he plays a regular guitar), but I wanted him to have a "real" guitar. 
  • Finally, I wanted to make the Elvis connection stronger, so posed Jimmy after this Elvis pic I found online that is just too cool.
This Elvis poster is just so neat, I'm going to have to do something just on it someday.

Please let me know your feedback, especially the colour! I was thinking of doing a blue-tone version of it as well as the red. Cost will be $20.00 or $25.00. Size is roughly14 x 18 inches.

Update: Not sure how I liked the red colour, so I tried it as well in Blue. Let me know which one you like better. I think I will do up prints in both colours! Will be limited. Probably just a run of 12 of each colour.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Visual Fringe

I'll be in the Visual Fringe show again this year, which is the visual arts component of the London Fringe Festival which runs June 16th - 26th this year. I'll have some new artwork on display, my comics and a new theatre-related original t-shirt design below! They'll be for sale at my table at the Arts Project during the run of the Fringe. T-shirts are all $20.00 each.

Can you get better than a Shakespeare reference? I don't know - I think not. The above is a line from A Winter's Tale and is apparently the most famous stage direction of all time.

They are all hand-silkscreened by the fabulous guys at Fresh Ink, and are white design on a black tee, AL Style brand. I got them in all different sizes (Women's cut, Men's style and some Youth 14/15 size). I hope the Fringe crowd will like them! I also got another run done up of my Kazoo shirt because that was a really hot seller at last year's Fringe.

Fringe Plays I'm Looking Forward to

This will be only our 3rd summer in London, and I haven't been to any Fringe plays before! This is a problem that will be rectified this year. I've studied the whole program, and have pegged these to as my must-sees:

The Sparrow and the Mouse
Edith Piaf is an icon, France’s greatest popular singer. However, few people know Marguerite Monnot, who devoted her life to composing songs for Piaf. The enduring friendship of these two women is an incredible story, spanning over 25 years. Featuring Monnot’s most popular songs, including: Milord and Hymne à l’Amour.

I'm a HUGE Edith Piaf fan, so I have to see this. I thought this note in the program was also hilarious: Warning: Music in both French and English (Hope you paid attention in French class!).

Only in London, Ontario would you have to put a warning that an Edith Piaf play will have French music. Well I should hope so or I would feel very ripped off!

The Donnelly SideshowJohnny O’Connor was the boy who hid under the bed during the Donnelly murders of 1880. Now he’s back, all grown up, packing a guitar and ready to set the record straight on the Donnellys. A new solo show, with songs, directed by Jayson McDonald. Details at

The story of the Donnelly family is one I can't get enough of, and I'm looking forward to seeing this musical rendition from the part of the young survivor.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Real London

Is London, Ontario a creative city? A recent London Free Press poll of readers said overwhelming No - we're not. Certainly that is the stereotype about us - we're all white, conservative and middle class here right? Wrong. And many others would refute this view (myself included).

David Redding is a local photographer who's been taking photos of local London artists with the purpose of showing the community just how rich the creative talent is here in the Forest City. His photo of me is above. Check out the website here:

Cartoonists in London
Remember in the sixties, when London was a hotbed of talent? We had Curnoe, Chambers, the Nihilst Spasm Band, Ewen, Reaney and more. Well I think something is happening here again - you can feel it in the air. A groundswell if you will, and you don't have to look very hard to find it.

For cartoonists alone, London is becoming a bit of a hotbed. Here are the ones I can name off of the top of my head who live here
So - still think London's not creative?

Recent Interviews
On a completely different note, here's some recent interviews/reviews with me.
Be sure to check out Squidface and the Medler in particular if only because it's one of the best looking sites around!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Epigenetics Eh!

(click on the image for larger version)


Some background Info
London Ontario will host the Canadian Conference on Epigenetics (called Epigenetics, Eh!) next week May 4-7.  In collaboration, the organizers of the Conference and the London Arts Council offered 10 artists the opportunity to attend a presentation about Epigenetics from some local scientists who are specialists in this area. The artists were then commissioned to create a piece based on the presentation and understanding of the practice.

My Piece
I was one of the lucky artists asked to participate. Epigenetics is a rapidly growing field of science defined as:  "Any function change in the genome that does not involve an alteration of the DNA sequence."

In layman's terms one can view this as nature vs. nurture, where nature is a person's DNA, and nurture represents all sorts of external factors that can alter a person's physiology without changing their DNA.

What captured my imagination from the presentation on Epigenetics to the artists was the subject of Epigenetics and the environment. Specifically that chemicals in our environment can change the “readout” of our genes, and that multiple levels of these compounds (even if found at low “safe” levels) have an additive quality that combined can have a detrimental impact on a person’s health and well-being (not surprising at all, but nice to know it's confirmed at this epigenetics level).

For my piece, I wanted to focus at man-made chemicals found in the environment. I also didn’t think one piece would have the impact I was looking for, so I created a diptych (two pieces that work together as one) that depicts chemicals released into air, and chemicals released to the soil.

I wanted to show the beauty of our natural landscape, and through the use of text make the “invisible” chemical elements (not seen to the naked eye) visible. The listing of chemicals was taken from a report on environmental toxicology.

EpigenArt the Exhibition

The EpigenART Exhibition will display the work of all the artists involved for the duration of the conference at the London Convention Centre. We've all been invited to the banquet dinner (which I unfortunately can't attend as I'll be at TCAF), and also have been invited to some cocktail mixers where we'll get to talk about our works with the attending scientists.

Post-conference,the works will be exhibited by the London Arts Council Office and City of London Mayor's Office.

I want to thank the committee of the Epigenetics Conference as well as the London Arts Council for putting this all together. Rarely have I been treated so respectfully as an artist - we were really treated as peers in this conference and as participants who could help shed led on this emerging science. It's always been a great learning experience and collaboration!

For more info, see:

Monday, April 04, 2011

London Studio Tour - April 15 - 17

The London Studio Tour is coming up and I've been hard at work preparing for it. The tour is a unique London event - during the weekend of April 15- 17, twenty-four local artists will open up their studios to the public. I've attended the event a number of times and it's a lot of fun. In 2009 I exhibited for the first time and had over 500 people through the studio!

The best part - it's free and everyone is welcome!  For my part, I will have original artwork for sale and on display including some comic pages. I'll also have all my comics and original t-shirts for sale as well.

For the kids, I will have some free comics to give away! Here's the information:

London Studio Tour
Friday, April 15th : 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Saturday, April 16th: 10:000 AM - 5:00 PM 
Sunday, April 17th: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM 

Tree Series
Below is a couple of new pieces I've done for the show. They are the first in a new series I'm working on focusing on trees in London. Since we are the Forest City and London averages 12 trees/per person, I wanted to do a full exploration of what many take for granted in the city. The story is not all good. Many of our trees are not in good health and are dead or dying. Many trees that are healthy are non-native to the area and not particularly great for the environment.

ReForest London kindly supplied me with a lot of information and stats, and these will be making their way into the artwork. I'll be working on this series from now until October, and will post them as they are finished.
Bur Oak at 200 Collip Circle
As a place to begin with the series, I thought what better place to start than the "People's Choice" winner in last year's Amazing Tree Quest contest held by Reforest London, where Londoners identify their favourite trees. So I went out to 200 Collip Circle, near Windemere Manor to take some photos of the Giant Bur Oak there.

As I was wandering around, I wondered if I would recognize the tree from the photos. No danger there. Once you find the right spot to view it - it's stunning. Unfortunately it seems to have gotten damaged slightly with these recent heavy snows, but I know it will survive. The tree has a real mythical quality to it. It seems like it could spring to life and start moving like the trees in the Lord of the Rings.
Another View of Bur Oak Tree

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Comic Book Literacy Day at the London Public Library

Comic Book Literacy Day is a really neat event coming up at the London Public Library that I'll be speaking at along with some other talented cartoonists (and friends): Scott Chantler, J.Bone, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen, and the Kill Shakespeare crew.

Kudos to Brahm - owner of Heroes, the United Way, the London Public Library, and The Child and Youth Network for putting this together. See below for full information. Come on out and bring your kids as it's happening over March Break week!

Heroes presents: What’s your story? Comic Book Literacy Day

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
1:00pm –8:00pm
Central London Public Library

Join us at the London Public Central Library from 1 8 pm for a day-long celebration of comic books and graphic novels. There will be something for comic-lovers of every age.

1:00pm-1:45pm Comic Art Workshop featuring Freeze DNA
(Ages 6-14 -Stevenson Hunt)

• Learn how to draw basic illustrations, animals, and facial expressions and participate in a questions and answer period at the end of the workshop

1:00pm-8:00pm Comic Artists Gallery
(All ages - The Passageway)

• An open invitation to local comic artists to display their work, draw, network and meet fans

1:30pm-8:00pm Comic Jam featuring J. Bone and friends
(All ages - Teen Annex)

• J. Bone is a Canadian comic book artist and writer who has worked on such titles as DC Comics' Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Super Friends - Ask him to draw your favourite comic book character!

• It’s a comic jam! Draw a panel and pass it on. Join in and create a comic together with artists of all levels. Let's try and create as many collaborative comics as possible and put them on display!

2:00pm-4:00pm Creating Web Comics featuring Jeffrey Preston
All ages - The Passageway/Teen Annex

• Jeffrey Preston, creator of Cripz: A Webcomic. An introduction to web comics and creating your own wecomic.

2:00pm-2:30pm Comics for Kids: Three Thieves featuring Scott Chantler
(Ages 9-12 - Stevenson Hunt B)

• A reading and discussion of his acclaimed kids’ comic series, Three Thieves published by Kids Can Press

2:30pm-3:30pm Be a Comic Book Artist by Alison Williams
(Ages 9-12 - Stevenson Hunt A)

• 2 half hour comic art workshop sessions with 20 participants each

5:00pm-6:00pm The Creative Process of Popular Comics
(Teens and adults - Stevenson Hunt)
Featuring Stuart and Kathryn Immonen

• Stuart Immonen - Marvel Comics artist for Fear Itself, and in the past, Avengers, Captain America, Incredible Hulk, New Avengers, Thor, Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, DC Comics’ Superman, Never as Bad as You Think*, and Moving Pictures*

• Kathryn Immonen – Marvel Comics author for Wolverine and Jubilee, and in the past Heralds, X-Men, Runaways, and Hellcat

*Immonen collaboration

6:00pm-7:00pm Canadian Non-fiction Graphic Novels
(Teens and adults - Stevenson Hunt)
Featuring Scott Chantler and Diana Tamblyn

• Scott Chantler is an acclaimed graphic novelist whose books have been nominated for many awards and recommended by the American Library Association and the Junior Library Guild, he has created the non-fiction graphic novels Northwest Passage and Two Generals

• Diana Tamblyn is an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist who has been actively writing and drawing comics for over 12 years. Her latest comic project is "From Earth to Babylon: The Story of Gerald Bull and the Supergun". This is a historical based work on the life of Canadian Gerald Bull - considered to be one of the most brilliant artillery scientists of the 20th century. Her past work includes a comic biography of another Canadian scientist - Frederick Banting

7:00pm-8:00pm Comic Book Literacy with Kill Shakespeare, Scott Robins, Mathew Hoy
(Teens and adults - Stevenson Hunt)

• A presentation and panel discussion featuring Kill Shakespeare’s creators Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col and artist, Andy B; Scott Robins, librarian and blogger from Comic Book Resources and local parent-comic book fan, Mathew Hoy

Other events and activities happening throughout the day:

  • Dress up day - wear a comic book costume to celebrate the day
  • Fun-time photo booth - costumes and props will complete your digital picture
  • Free comic book for kids all day courtesy of Heroes
Comic creator signings, and meet and greets all day at Heroes:
  • 3:00-4:30 p.m. Meet and greet local comic artists
  • 4:00-5:30 p.m. J. Bone, Diana Tamblyn and Scott Chantler
  • 5:00-6:30 p.m. Kill Shakespeare
  • 6:30-8:00 p.m. Stuart and Kathryn Immonen

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Portrait of Annie Koyama

Portrait of Annie Koyama - Patron of Comics This is my version of of Koyama Press' "Kick Ass Annie" icon logo. A number of different cartoonists have done up versions of Koyama's log (as seen on the book Annie is holding above), and the results are fabulous. You can see the whole set on Flickr here

I wanted to do a completely different take on the logo that represented my view of Annie. Annie Koyama is a true patron, and a patron of comics at that! Not someone you stumble across much anymore, and I wanted to honour that side of her...

So being an art history grad, I thought I would model my piece after the Italian Renaissance artists who would paint portraits of their patrons.The above is modeled after Piero della Francesca's portrait of Federico da Montefeltro which is a favourite portrait of mine.

Main difference with my version of course is since Annie is a publisher I just had to have her holding a book! I then placed the original Kick Ass Annie logo on the book.

Here's what the original looks like...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Greetings & Resolutions for 2011

Best Wishes for a Safe and Happy 2011!
The new puppy and kitten kept us pretty busy this holiday season, which meant that everything got done but our Christmas cards. So - thought I would send out New Year's greetings for 2011 instead!

2011 is going to be a big year for me - we are finally all settled here in London, Ont, Rosie is happy in Grade 1 (believe it or not), and I will be turning the big 4-0.

I've been feeling a sense of impending doom as I approach this number. I feel like the meter has jumped forward and I really need to put the pedal to the metal this year. By the end of 2011, my aim is to feel like I've made some big steps forward in achieving my artistic goals. Mainly to get a major comic work PUBLISHED, and to produce more art in general.

Goals for 2011
To keep myself honest, for the first time ever I thought I'd write down the goals I'd like to achieve. So here goes. I plan to scratch them off, as the year progresses...    

Do my version of "Kick Ass Annie" for Annie Koyama DONE
Annie has been a real inspiration for me this year. To see the pure love, energy she puts into Koyama Press and her stable of artists is a thing to behold. On top of that she is one of the nicest people in the comics biz I've ever met. My Kick Ass Annie is way overdue, and I will get this to her this month!

April 15,16,17 -
London Studio Tour DONE

I will be participating in the Studio Tour for my 2nd time this year. This is a fabulous tour that happens in London, Ontario in the Spring, whereby 20 or so local artists open up their homes and their art studios to the public for a weekend. This is a juried show that features a wide variety of work by great local artists. It's always a treat to see them in their environment and it's free to attend! The first time I did it I had over 500 people through my studio that weekend.

I plan on doing lots of new original art and have special prints for this show.

May 7, 8, Toronto Comic Arts Festival DONE
This is the first year I won't be exhibiting at TCAF. I thought I'd better focus on producing more comics before I actively sell more of them. I will of course be in attendance all weekend though. Hanging out with friends and enjoying the best work that comics have to offer.

June 16 - 20, Visual Fringe DONE
Last year was the first time I participated in the Visual Fringe, an offshoot of the Fringe Festival here in London, Ontario. Featuring a great variety of local artists, I was impressed with how well-organized the Visual Fringe was. Held at the Arts Project, they got tons of people through the doors and looking at artwork over a 10-day period. I sold lots of comics and t-shirts. For this Fringe, I plan to do a original theatre-inspired tee.

September 25th, Word on the Street
This is the best show for me, and even though I'm taking the year off from comic shows, I don't want to miss this one. The beauty of Word on the Street is that it's affordable (if you are very small press and book your table super-early as they sell out by spring), you're surrounding by virtually all of the Canadian publishing industry for one day, and the crowds that come out are unbelievable since it's a terrific, FREE, outdoor event. Best of all, I find the people I see there are not the same people I see at all the comic shows. They're people who just love books and are very open to all different kinds of books.

October, 2011 - The Tamblyn Show
Details TBA, but I'm just solidifying plans right now for a joint-show between my and my uncle - John Tamblyn, a very talented photographer (and yes I am completely biased), to do a joint art show. It will fall over my birthday, so I'm planning for the opening party to be a big one!

Complete artwork for at least 3 more Chapters of Bull Comic
I know, I know this doesn't sound like much. But it'll be a lot for me. With 3 more chapters done, I'll have over half of my Graphic novel done and in the can with approx. 75 pages completed. I'm slow okay! Really though, I'm very happy with what I've done so far and think it's my best work to-date. The hardest part is to keep up the momentum...

Draw every day, even if it's for a half-hourI have a full-time gig, and between it, my little girl, my husband, 2 pets and other adult responsibilities, there's not a lot of time left in the day. I'm a happier person the more I draw though, so I need to make time to do this every day even if it's for a small chunk of time. I'm pretty good with this but need to get better.
Feel free to check back often this year to see how I'm doing. Also feel free to send words of wisdom and encouragement!