Monday, November 13, 2006

He Lives! He Walks! He Conquers!

It's been awhile since my last posting, and it's time to for an update! Here's a drawing I did for Mike Cho who's an Iron Man fanatic. See his Iron Man tribute website. (now I just have to get it to you Mike!)

I wanted to do the old Iron Man, because frankly - he's cooler. It's been a loooong time since I last did a super hero drawing, the last one I remember was a Sword of the Atom one I did in high school (I loved that mini-series). Anyway, here it is. It also marks the first time I used Pitt pens, so it was a bit of a learning experience.

In other news, Dan Brown from the London Free Press plugged my stuff on his blog.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Keee You! A Collection of Overheards & SPX

Available next week at SPX, "I Keee You!" is an anthology put out by the Atomic Book Company that I have a one-pager in. The theme is that each artist chose one overheard snippet of conversation to illustrate that editor Benn Ray compiled.

What have we overheard in the bathroom? On the street? In bars? In our own homes? In stores? At restaurants? As people talk into their cell phones, to their friends and, in some cases to no one at all.

Other contributors include: Allison Cole, Brian Ralph, Cole Johnson, Joshua W. Cotter, Mark Burrier Martin Cendreda, Nick Bertozzi, Peter S. Conrad, plus plenty more. Spiffy cover is by Brian Ralph. If you're not going to be at SPX, you can also order it online through the Atomic Books website for the low, low price of $7.95.

Along those lines, though I was originally booked for SPX, I had to unfortunately cancel my table a couple of weeks ago. My day job is keeping me very busy these days, and when you add a teething toddler on top of that, it's meant that work on my new mini-comic "The Rosie Stories" has been going much slower than anticipated. My new goal is to have it done for Christmas. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

TIFF 2006

This year Dave and I are taking the week off to see movies at the Toronto Film Festival. Now before you ask (as some have), we are mostly seeing movies during the day, while Rosie is in daycare so she will not be an orphan for the week!

Because we never get to go out anymore (or rarely at least), we're seeing movies we want to see whether they're a big Hollywood production or not.

Here the schedule:

Monday September 11, 2006
All The King's Men, Steven Zaillian, 2006, RYERSON - 9:30 AM
Quick Review - This was a good movie but not great. It had some pacing problems and should have been a half an hour shorter. Also, about 3/4 of the way through the movie I found myself asking "What is this movie about anyway? What are the themes?". It seemed like it didn't know what it was trying to say... That being said, the performances are outstanding and make the movie worth seeing. Sean Penn is excellent as usual, and Patricia Clarkson is amazing - giving her character much more weight and interest than what was in the script. Apparently the Director spent that last 8 months re-editing the movie after initial poor reactions from management. I think he overthought things way too much, as the symbolism is VERY heavy-handed. At the end there's a scene that is supposed to be tragic, but the way it shot were making people laugh in the theatre...

Stranger than Fiction, Marc Forster, 2006, RYERSON - 12:30 PM
I really liked this movie. It is smart with excellent performances from Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Gyllenhall. I was really worried that Will Ferrell would be really annoying in this movie, but he actually pulls off being a straight man very well. Queen Latifah is the only one who is miscast. Having said this, the movie could have been great and just missed the mark. It's very fun and thoroughly enjoyable though. Two thumbs up from me and Dave.

Sharkwater, Rob Stewart, 2006, RYERSON - 3:30 PM
Can't comment on this as it's the one film I didn't see. Dave really liked it, but found it was pretty depressing in terms of how we're destroying the planet (it's a documentary on sharks and apparently we've destroyed 90% of the shark population already - sigh).

Tuesday September 12, 2006
Away From Her
, Sarah Polley, 2006, RYERSON - 9:30 AM
This has been my favourite movie so far at the festival. The performances by Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent were outstanding and the story was incredibly layered and nuanced (no surprise since the source material is Alice Munro, but Polley herself wrote the script). I can't say enough about this film - it really moved me and is an incredibly impressive feature directorial debut by our Sarah Polley. Good news is that is just got picked up for distribution in the US by Lion's Gate in the spring, and that they are already planning an Oscar push for Julie Christie. Go see it!

Macbeth, Geoffrey Wright, 2006, PARAMOUNT 2 - 1:30 PM
I have to say that this movie ranked at the bottom of the 12 that I saw for the week. Although not out and out bad, I didn't feel that this update of the classic Shakespeare tale added anything new to the story. The Director - Geoffrey Wright (of Romper Stomper fame), set the story in modern times with Macbeth as a rock and roll/drug dealer character, with all the swagger and bravado that comes with this. Basically I found this interpretation completely unsympathetic.

As well, the 3 witches of the story are depicted in this version as sexy Catholic schoolgirls who entice, seduce (and have sex with) Macbeth. Needless to say - I HATED this! Since the movie opens up with the three of them defiling tombstones in a cemetery, let's say things started off poorly for me. I ended up drifting off twice, then things picked up a bit mid-way through. Some redeeming qualities for me were a good interpretation of Lady Macbeth (portrayed as sympathetic) and McDuff.

The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky, 2006, VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) - 6:00 PM
I'd like to say that I loved this movie, but I didn't. It was OK, and that's about it - certainly not bad enough to have been booed in Venice though...

The actors are all good, but I found the performances (with the exception of Ellen Burstyn) kind of static and stilted. Part of the problem for me is that Away From Her which I saw the same morning deals with much of the same themes (a deep love between two people, what is life, what is death, how to deal with loss), but deals with them in a much more subtle and vastly superior way, that the Fountain gets blown away in comparison.

My main issues is that I didn't believe the love between Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. Basically we're supposed to believe that they are each other's great love, but we really aren't given any scenes that show this. Mostly I felt that Hugh Jackman's character was selfish and it took him a long time to figure out what was right and how he should have treated his wife. This made him fairly unsympathetic in my eyes.

I think the Fountain suffers from Aronofsky having worked on it for so long - 6 years in fact, that perhaps he lost focus and the ability to get across his themes clearly. I can glean the ideas behind it, but they seem hidden or muffled behind a lot of symbolic imagery. I much would have preferred the same ideas to come from the performances or the script, even though the film is visually stunning. I don't think this will do very well and will be surprised if Warner's even makes their money back on the project...

Wednesday September 13, 2006
Dixie Chicks - Shut Up and Sing, Barbara Kopple, Cecilia Peck, 2006, RYERSON - 9:30 AM
This is one of the movies I was most looking forward to, as I'm a big Dixie Chicks fan (yes it's true), and the movie is co-directed by Barbara Kopple - 2 time Academy Award Winner. The movie was very good, although I thought it lost a little momentum by going back and forth in time so much. I would have preferred a more linear presentation.

Anyway, it had many memorable moments in it, including:

  • Nestea (who sponsored their last tour) trying to tell the Dixie Chicks that Bush's popularity would only get stronger as the war was going to be wrapped up in the next few weeks.
  • Their PR person saying that they were "giving the American people too much credit" in being able to understand the ideas behind their infamous Entertainment Weekly cover shoot.
  • And finally the new controversial Natalie Maines quote that is already being picked up in the US media from the 2 public screenings it's had in Toronto where she calls Bush a "dumb fuck". It's important to note the context behind this, which is that Bush made a statement that he was sorry that the Dixie Chicks "got their feelings hurt" from people criticizing them and not buying their CDs, while at the time they were getting more than just criticism but death threats.

The movie was very good and the Toronto crowds loved it. It even was even a runner-up for the People's Choice award at the festival.

Mon Meilleur Ami, Patrice Leconte, 2006, VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) - 12:00 PM
This was a fun, light French film featuring Daniel Auteuil as an owner of an antiques business who accepts a bet from his business partner to produce a best friend. Francois has a great apartment and a business he loves, but he lives by himself and has an awkward relationship with his daughter. He realizes in the film, that he doesn't have any relationships or friendships that have much meaning.
To win the bet though, he must produce a best friend, so he sets out on a desperate search and ends up befriending a taxi cab driver - Bruno. Bruno is the opposite of Francois, he is chatty, approachable, gregarious and outgoing. This is a take on the classic buddy film, and it's quite charming, funny and sweet, It tied with Dixie Chicks for the honourable mention for the People's Choice Award at the festival.

The Last Winter, Larry Fessenden, 2006, PARAMOUNT 3 - 2:15 PM
This is a horror/suspense movie that's almost a more modern take on John Carpenter's "The Thing". Set in Northern Alaska, Ron Perlman plays a rough and tumble, no-nonsense oil company foreman doing exploratory drilling work for oil. He has a small team with him, as well as 2 reprentatives of an environmental company who are trying to make sure that the oil company is not causing damage to the natural surroundings. You can see where this is going...

Strange things start happening to people within the team, and they can't tell if it's due to cabin fever, or because permafrost is melting and no one knows what's really in the permafrost and what's being released into the atmosphere. Or, is nature getting back at humans for their dependence on natural source of energy?

I really liked this movie a lot. It was a very smart genre picture, made even better by Ron Perlman himself doing the Q&A after the screening! To date, this movie hasn't been picked up by US distribution, but I recommend seeking it out.

Thursday September 14, 2006
Quelques jours en Septembre
, Santiago Amigorena, 2006, PARAMOUNT 1 - 9:00 AM

Alatriste, Agusti­n Diaz Yanes, 2006, PARAMOUNT 1 - 12:00 PM

Friday September 15, 2006
, Emilio Estevez, 2006, RYERSON - 9:30 AM

10 Items or Less, Brad Silberling, 2006, VARSITY 8 - 2:45 PM
Dave and I were completely exhausted by the end of the week and somewhat "filmed out", and this was a perfect cap to the festival for us. A nice light comedy starring Paz Vega (of Spanglish), and Morgan Freeman. Yes, that's right - Morgan Freeman in a comedy, and he's wonderful in it. Since he also executive produced the film, I'm guessing this was the only way he could show people he can play something other than the serious detective/criminal/politician role.

The script is light, Morgan Freeman is an actor who's been out of work for awhile and is researching a possible role in a small, independent film. The role would be that of a supermarket store manager, so he's driven out to the boonies in LA to observe one in action. This is where we meet Paz Vega, who is a cashier at the supermarket. She's much too smart for the job and is remarkably efficient.

When the driver never shows up to take Morgan Freeman back home, Paz Vega takes pity on him and brings him along with her on some of her errands before she drops him off. Here's where we see the unlikely pair bonding, and there are some very funny scenes. The best part of the movie is that Morgan Freeman seems to be having a really great time. He is totally letting loose and seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself, and his enthusiasm is quite infectious. I think this film will do well commercially, and I'd recommend for a nice light evening.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

In Your Face

A few weeks back on our vacation, Dave, Rosie and I all went to the AGO to see if the portraits I submitted to the "In Your Face" exhibit were on display. They were and it was pretty neat to see. The "In Your Face" exhibit has a huge display that takes up one room of the Gallery. All three of my portraits of Rosie are displayed in a row at a good eye level, so I think they got good placement.

Dave at AGO

Many of the entries included are by children as well as adults, and it's fun to see the variety of the works (by style, by subject, different skill levels, etc) displayed side by side. The individual portraits are displayed from floor to ceiling, and all together the exhibit does make quite an impression.

Above is a photo of Dave in front of one of the walls. You can see my Rosie portraits in black and white just to the left.

Rosie recognized herself right away and pointed out her pictures by saying "Ro Ro"! (which is how she refers to herself).

At left, a photo of me and the subject.

Monday, August 21, 2006

L'il Rosie!

Here's the first L'il Rosie strip. I'm pretty happy how it turned out.

L'il Rosie
Click on the image to read the one-page strip, then let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rob Clough recently did a nice write-up of Peter Conrad's little known anthology - "On the Other Hand", and posted his review at Sequart here. It's an anthology that Peter put together in 2005 that I have a 4-page story in, along with Renee French, Josh Neufeld and others.

For the book he asked contributors to do a piece with their "non-dominant" hand - meaning if you're right-handed do the piece with your left-hand and vice versa. It was a neat exercise and we all tried to come up with a story that would suit this rougher, looser style. I think one of the reasons why it's hard to find is because Peter hand-bound the book individually, and it's a hardcover - crazy guy! Anyway, it meant that there was never a very big print run, and he only does up batches of about 20 at a time or so.

Anyway, Rob says some nice things about the book and picks my story as one of the highlights: "Tamblyn wrote about a cat whose "bad" paw caused it to get into all sorts of mischief. It seemed a sly way of talking about how difficult it was to work with her "bad" hand." Just to clarify, the story was co-written by my husband Dave, so I can't reap all the kudos!

The book can be ordered directly from Peter from his website.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

So no new artwork to post yet (my life has been overtaken by Battlestar Galactica - luckily I've now watched the mini-series, season one and season 2.0 now, so I think I can now resume my normal activities. What a good show though!) Anyway, I digress...

One of the things I get asked fairly often is what are you reading lately that you've really enjoyed? Here's some recent stuff I've read and really liked:

Marvel Monsters HC

Initially I just picked this up because I love the oversized hardcover format, and I wanted to have something nice for Eric Powell to sign at the Toronto Comicon (and I'm not a big Goon fan). Though he cancelled his appearance at the con at the last minute, I'm really glad I bought the book. It's one of the most enjoyable graphic novels I've read in awhile!

Collecting four 48 pg one-shots that Marvel put out last year, the book's stories feature a combination of new work and and reprints of classic old Marvel monster stories by Jack Kirby. All of the new stories were surprisingly good, with the best Keith Giffen story I've read in awhile (made me think back to his Ambush Bug days). The best new story by far was Roger Landridge's "Fin Fang Four"detailing the rehabilitated lives of Googam, Gorgilla, Elektro-1 and Fing Fang Four all employed at the Baxter Building under the watchful eye of Reed Richards. Hilarious stuff!

None of the new stories can compare of course to the joy and raw energy that comes off the page from the 4 old Kirby reprints though (that include the origin of Fin Fang Foom which I'd never read).

Scott Pilgrim 3 - Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness

I know everyone on the Internet has already written about this already, but I might as well chime in.

The third volume of the series is a little choppy and not as tight as the first two but it's still probably one of the of the freshest, most original things I've read in awhile. Each book has protagonist Scott Pilgrim fighting one of his girlfriend Ramona's ex-boyfriends. This time around it's Todd Ingram, a vegan (and yes this is important to the story) who is in a band with (and is dating) Scott's ex - Envy Adams.

Bryan Lee O'Malley is clearly having a ball with this series, and this comes across in the art which is energetic and fun. I also love how the story is unabashedly Toronto-centric (this one has a huge, hilarious action scene that takes place in Honest Ed's).

Next up on the reading pile are Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" and Miriam Katin's "We are On Our Own".

Thursday, June 15, 2006

L'il Rosie Designs

As mentioned before, my number one inspiration these days is of course my 20-month old daughter Rosie. I've been thinking about doing some strips of her in a "Peanuts" style for a little while now, and finally got down to working on some different character designs. The following is what I came up.

It was a pretty neat process and much tougher than anticipated. The best part was doing research by reading through the Fantagraphics Peanuts books, but also looking at how other artists draw kids particularly Jordan Crane (one of my favourite cartoonists), and Don Rosa (specifically looking at how he gets across feelings when the facial designs are so simple).

L'il Rosie #1
This is my very first try and isclosest to Schulz's designs. The main difference is that Rosie has really long eyelashes, and I have to incorporate these somehow into the design.
L'il Rosie 1
L'il Rosie #2
Again pretty close to Schulz. Added the bow to the hair, head is more "football shaped", eyes after Little Orphan Annie.
L'il Rosie 2
L'il Rosie #3
This is me trying to add more details into the face, and I think the result is less successful.
L'il Rosie 3
Li'l Rosie #4
Less sylized eyes and nose - not bad. Initially I drew this with a bow in her hair as well, but I photoshopped it out. Rosie's a bit of a tomboy anyway!
L'il Rosie 4
So -- this weekend I think I'll start work on a one to two page L'il Rosie strip.

My aim is to have a new mini-comic out for SPX called "The Rosie Stories" which will feature my story in "Drawing the Line Again", some L'il Rosie stories, and a new longer format story done in my regular style.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Drawing the Line Again

I have a 5-page story in Suley Fattah's "Drawing the Line Again". This is an anthology with the theme of health and wellness, the proceeds of which go cancer research. There are some awesome people participating like Darwyn Cooke, Ramon Perez, Cameron Stewart, Moebius and many more! I'm really happy with the story, it's the most personal one I've done to date (it's about my daughter Rosie)...

It recently got a 5 out of 5 review in Metro News - Read review here.

Purchase the book directly from the Drawing the Line website. The Silver Snail is also backing it big time, and you can pick it up, along with Vol. 1 at their Queen Street location.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Welcome everyone to my new blog! This will replace the former "news" section of my website at I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but have been inspired by my friend Mike Cho (check out his awesome blog ), who recently started one up and posts artwork to it quite regularly.

The Toca Loca ProjectSo - I've got lots of news and artwork to post, so I''ll let's dive right in!

I recently did up a new mini-comic called "The Toca Loca Project". It made its debut at the Paradise Toronto Comicon this past April. At the show I also had some t-shirts for sale using the back cover image of the mini. The image is of a kazoo, and underneath it says "Ceci n'est pas un kazoo" (French for "This is not a kazoo"). This was inspired of course by the famous Magritte painting "Ceci ne'st pas un pipe", as well as the band - The Nihilist Spasm Band. All will become clear after reading the mini, but the t-shirt is cool on its own as well.

Toca Loca t-shirtThese are the first t-shirts I've ever done and I'm really pleased with how they came out. They are 2 colour screenprinted on Fruit of the Loom tees. I did up a bunch in a variety of different colours and sizes. I was surprised that the bestselling size for me was the small size as mostly it was women picking them up. Here's what the shirt looks like (modeled by my husband Dave). Both the mini and the t-shirts are available for order here.

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted 3 drawings of my daughter Rosie to the AGO's upcoming "In Your Face" show. Opening in July, this is to be the biggest portrait show in history, and the organizers have encouraged people to submit portraits for inclusion in the show.

I'm crossing my fingers that at least one of my drawings makes it in. If selected, the artwork will be part of the AGO's permanent collection. Family and friends like the one of Rosie in her hat best. Which one is your favourite?

Rosie in hat
Rosie in hat.

Rosie in high chair

Rosie in highchair.

Rosie at Grandma's

Rosie at dining room table at Grandma's.

** Update: Originally the final date to submit portraits to the AGO for this exhibit was July 1st, 2006. I've since found out that the exhibit will run for a whole year! As such, they will change things up every now and then and as such are still accepting submissions through to December of this year.

I encourage all of my cartoonists friends to submit so we have a strong showing in the exhibit! There are just about no restrictions, other than the size needs to be 4 x 6, and you need to them them the original art. It does look like you need to be Canadian to submit.

Here's a link to the blog for the show: