Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trampoline Hall

Monday night I was one of the cartoonists participating in Trampoline Hall, studiously documenting the speakers and the surroundings. Because of construction happening around Fort York as well as a film shoot, most of the streets were blocked off and I had a heck of a time trying to find the place.

I left myself time to get lost (since this is a regular occurrence for me), but was still in a panic after driving around aimlessly for 20 minutes and getting near empty in the gas tank. Finally I ended up picking up 2 other lost souls whose cab dropped them off on foot, because he gave up finding it, and together we got followed another car who was driving around looking for the event.

Teamwork saved the day and it made it just on time! It took me awhile to settle down, but once I did I really enjoyed myself. Here's the sketches I did during the evening. Click on the images for larger versions.

Fellow cartoonist Brian McLachlan and Zach Worton.

Host Misha Glouberman

Fellow cartoonist, (Reverend Aitor I think)? I was frankly more fascinated with the audience and the other cartoonists than the speakers. This gentlemen in particular had such a neat look that I ended up drawing him multiple times. Steve Manale suggested I do a montage of him.

The final speaker was a bit trying, he was getting so outrageous that people were starting to laugh out loud at some of his comments like the one here.

What I've done is more realistic in style, but lots of other people like Steve Manale and Johnny Martz were doing full-blown comics of the event. The Immonens were doing one-panel gags that looked so awesome that I was green with envy.

Becky Jonson who curated the evening is gathering all work done that evening into a zine which will be available this Sunday at Canzine as well as The Beguiling.

Below is a photo of me at the event (stolen from Kathryn Immonen's Flicker stream). Note my Spider-Man pencil case on the floor under my chair.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Upcoming Comics Events

I'm in a couple of comic related events in the next couple of weeks that are pretty neat that you should all check out if you have the chance.

Monday, October 22nd, Trampoline Hall
Created by author Sheila Heti, Trampoline Hall is a literary salon where each month, non-experts talk about subjects they are obsessed with.
This month, Trampoline Hall is temporarily uprooting itself and moving to Fort York's barracks, and will feature a bevy of Toronto area cartoonists. A bunch of us will be live sketching and documenting the evening and the event's speakers: Leaf Buckareff (on Hyberbolic Crochet), Waylen Miki (on Robotism), & Jakob Zimmer (on Diverse Curiosity). This should be a pretty fun evening. Tickets are $5.00, and it all starts at 8PM.

Confirmed cartoonists include: Zach Worton, Arthur de la Cruz, Ben Shannon, Steve Manale, Emily Holton, Shannon Gerard, Kagan McLeod, Roxanne Bielskis, Diana Tamblyn, Reverend Aitor, Stuart Immonen, Katherine Immonen, Blair Kitchen, and Jeff Lemire.

Sunday, October 28st - Canzine
I’ll have a table at Canzine this October 28th, at the Gladstone Hotel.

$5 at the door gets you the new Horror Issue of Broken Pencil Magazine (organizers of the event) and access to hundreds of zines, mini-comics, all-day horror screenings, DIY workshops, readings, and all sorts of other stuff. So drop by and say hello!

Finally, Diverging Comics recently did a pretty long interview with me and you can read it here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Rosie Stories Now Available for Order!

Hey everyone, I updated the comics section of my site and The Rosie Stories is now available for order through Paypal (you can also order from me directly, just check out the contact section of my site).

If you live in Toronto, you can pick it up at The Beguiling, or Comics and More.

There is already a review of it up on Diverging Comics here.

Dave's Nerd Heroes Moment
In other news, Dave was lucky enough recently to get a wristband for a copy of the Heroes DVD from Best Buy which allowed him to be one of 100 people to get their DVD signed by cast members who came to Toronto for the "Heroes World Tour". In the Toronto stop, the following were there: Noah Gray-Cabbey (Micah), James Kyson Lee (Ando), Zachary Quinto (Sylar), Dania Ramirez (Maya) and Jeph Loeb (co-executive producer/writer).

We were of course the most excited about Jeph Loeb, and though they said they would only sign the DVD - Dave took down an original Tim Sale Long Halloween page off of our wall that morning and took it with him to try to see if Jeph would sign it (we already had it signed by Sale).

Jeph was really gracious and apparently was really pleased that Dave was interested in meeting him (as most people were fawning over the cast). He had Dave stand behind the table and had a runner go get a pencil to sign the page with because he didn't want to use his gold sharpie. He even pointed out the page to the cast at the table. Dave was pretty thrilled.

A few days later, reading an article in the Toronto Star I noticed that the photo accompanying the article featured Dave getting his DVD signed by Ando! This even went out on the wire on Reuters! In the background, you can see our page in front of Jeph Loeb (highlighted in red by me in Photoshop). A true nerd moment. You can read all about on Dave's blog here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

TCAF Wrap-Up

Well, TCAF is all over. It feels like a week happened over Saturday and Sunday. TCAF is always my best show so my expectations were high - as usual though, the show did not disappoint.

I put a lot into this show, doing up a new comic for the event as well as doing up a bunch of t-shirts at Hardboiled. Also, as mentioned, I was nervous going into this show as my new comic "The Rosie Stories" is so personal - I don't think I've ever put myself out there as much as I have with this comic.

I had a great table mate for the weekend, Claudia Davila who was selling her first-ever comic - Spoiled. Claudia was doing awesome business with her mini, and getting a lot of well-deserved attention. Check out her webcomic Luz, to see her latest stuff.

The morning was slow getting started, and I was very foggy-headed for at least the first hour as a result of going to the Doug Wright after-party the night before with my sister Jennifer who came down from Ottawa just to help me man my booth. Apologies to anyone who showed up at this time if I seemed weird and cranky.

At the party I happened to mention to Andy Brown of Cunundrum Press that I loved Rupert Bottenberg's work, and he said well this is Rupert right here! They were both down from Montreal to plug the new anthology Monster Island Three. The book contains comics and essays about monsters and comics and is edited by Billy Mavreas. I know Rupert's stuff from when I lived in Montreal and he did a bunch of illustration work for the local alt-weekly as well as a lot of band posters. It was great to meet him.

Things started picked up around 1 PM and got really crazy all afternoon. The venue, Old Victoria College is a big one and there were a lot of people there! Kudos to Chris Butcher and the Beguiling for really getting the word out for this show. I'd love to know the official attendance numbers...

Saturday night, Dave and I went to Sneaky Dee's for the after-party and specifically to see our friend Willow Dawson play the saw in her band Little Brown Bat. I was dead tired, so didn't last very long but the band was really good. Ray, the frontman has a great voice and the saw is surprisingly elegant and melodic as an instrument (I think I was expecting something more along the lines of a washboard!).

Saturday is always the busiest day of the show so I didn't really know what to expect for this day. After selling a lot of books and a few t-shirts the day before, I was pretty calm and relaxed though. My sister set up the t-shirts a different way this day and was modelling one of the designs. Her efforts really paid off, as the tees were flying off my table that day! I will updated my website soon with the images, colours and sizes. They'll be available through Paypal.

The morning again was slow so I tried to look around a little bit as I hadn't even been to each room of the show yet. I also brought a bunch of stuff to get signed and was successful in this regard. I got to meet Jillian Tamaki and had Gilded Lilies signed, Rebecca Kraatz signed my House of Sugar, and Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing signed my Blar and Bugbear. Good stuff.

Scott Chantler had the annotated Northwest Passage (which of course I picked up - it's gorgeous!) available and he was doing booming business. He said it was his best show ever and I started calling him "The man of TCAF".

Though it wasn't my best sales show ever (I think this was last TCAF for me which is when the Globe and Mail did an interview with me), it certainly is still my best and favourite show. In total I sold 90 comics and 20 t-shirts so I'm super happy about that!

Special thanks to my sis who not only helped at my booth, but got my lunch both days and babysat for Rosie so we could go out on Saturday night!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Rosie Stories Mini-Comic out for TCAF!

Hey everybody, exciting news! As previously announced, I will have a new mini-comic out for TCAF, called "The Rosie Stories".

After bumping into Chip Zdarsky in the lobby of my building today where we talked about how excited we are for TCAF, I dropped off the mock-up for the printer. It will literally be hot off the press for Saturday. Here's the cover:

The Rosie StoriesThe comic is 13 pages long and features 2 autobiographical stories about all the experiences and feelings (both good and bad) that go with being a new parent, along with a couple of "L'il Rosie" cartoons of Rosie done up in a Peanuts style (big headed kid one page gags). These Peanuts-style cartoons were much tougher to do than I anticipated, but I do want to try some more in the future.

The Rosie in question, is of course my daughter Rosie. This comic is a real outpouring of my heart, and I'm feeling a bit vulnerable about putting this out there - but they are real markers of what's important in my life right now and the stories I'm interested in telling. The lady at the copy shop said it was "really cute" . When I said "Really? You thought it was cute?" - she said "Well yeah, and really well done." I'm good with this.

It will have a 2-colour offset cover, with B&W interior and will be available for the low, low price of $3.00. I will also have a couple of t-shirts for TCAF. One is a re-run of my Toca Loca kazoo shirt which was sold out in all small sizes. The other is a new design of an astronaut girl looking up at a Melies moon. I will post images once I have them. They will be $20.00 and $25.00 respectively and will be available in different sizes and colours.

What Else to Look for at TCAF
Where to start, where to start?

There is going to be so much good stuff available but I thought I would highlight the stuff I'm especially looking forward to...

Claudia Davila - Spoiled Mini-Comic

Claudia and her husband Michael Cho will be my tablemates at TCAF and I couldn't be happier about that! On top of being good friends and all-around great people, Claudia will be debuting her first ever comic at the show: Spoiled, an allegory about humankind's connection with nature in relation to petroleum.

She is a great cartoonist and one to watch for sure, and she's launching the comic with a party on the the Thursday night. Check out her Luz: Girl of the Knowing webcomic here.

Ray Fawkes/Cameron Stewart - Apolcalipstix
Having made their first appearance in the RAID anthology "Rumble Royale", the Apolcalipstix get their own OGN from Oni and it makes its debut at TCAF! This modern Tank Girl like story is written by Ray Fawkes with gorgeous artwork (as usual) by Cameron Stewart.

Matthew Forsythe - Ojingogo
Matthew Forsythe from Montreal does a great mini-comic called Ojingogo. It also exists in a webcomic format that's been nominated for all kinds of awards. See why by checking out some of his stuff at TCAF.

Stuart and Kathryn Immonen - Never as Bad as You Think, Moving Pictures
Stuart and Kathryn Immonen have a couple of new releases for TCAF: a new 24-pg version of "Moving Pictures" in mini-comic format, and the first printing of their webcomic "Never as Bad as You Think" in trade paperback format. I will be looking for both at the show.

Jillian Tamaki - Gilded Lilies
I picked this one up awhile back, it's a great sketchbook from Conumdrum Press. Tom Spurgeon listed it as one of his picks of 2006. Jillian is an ex-pat who now lives in New York City. I really love her stuff. Be sure to check out the Kiss Machine comic that she illustrated as well. If you like James Jean, you will like Jillian Tamaki.

Eleanor Davis & Drew Weing
The only non-Canucks on my list. TCAF is their first Canadian appearance. I first became aware of their stuff at SPX, and I've been ordering their minis from Little House Comics for awhile now - all of them are just terrific! From what's in stock on their website I would recommend "Blar" from Drew and "Mati and Dodi" from Eleanor.

Technorati Tags: Toronto Comic Arts Festival, TCAF, Diana Tamblyn

Friday, June 29, 2007

Notes from a Darwyn Cooke Storytelling Workshop & Some New Reviews

I'm currently trying to finish off my new mini-comic for TCAF and am having some problems ending the story. In going through some of my old notebooks I came across some notes I had made from a Darwyn Cooke Storytelling workshop at few years ago at a Toronto Comicon. Not surprisingly, there were some great words of wisdom in there that I thought I would share here. Also, if you ever have a chance to sit in on one of these from Darwyn - grab it!

Darwyn On Story
  • Describe someone's character through their appearance and mannerisms (don't have to spell everything out in narrative).
  • Learn how to get your characters to display human emotions through the physicality of body language.
  • It's possible to draw every emotion known to man with just a few lines.
  • Make characters relevant and make the resolution to your story satisfying for readers.
  • Everything in the story should serve or reinforce the theme.
  • Pacing is art + design + math which all comes together to break out a script.
On Staging
  • When breaking down a script, don't change the writer's dialogue to reinforce the theme, change the location if you can to something that is thematically consistent to what is being said.
General Tips
  • Move the eye through the page diagonally from top left-hand corner to bottom right-hand corner (an easy way of doing this is by using triangles - see example below which is artwork from a New Frontier page).

  • Never draw a floor if you don't have to! It's too much perspective work and you should pay more attention to the story. It will also cut 40% of your drawing time and the work will be compositionally stronger (if you are Geoff Darrow or Brian Bolland, please ignore).

  • If you're stuck in how to end a story, try to end it so that it's either happy or sad.
Some Recent Reviews
There have been a few reviews of my stuff recently that I thought I'd link to because they're so swell.
  • First off Rob Clough from Sequart did a short write up of both the Toca Loca Project and There You Were, where he says:

    "Tamblyn has been creating quiet, thoughtful stories for a few years now."
    Check it out here.
  • Then Sean Clement recently reviewed Writer's Block at Some of the nice things he had to say:

    "Diana Tamblyn continues to shine as someone able to make real life situations into comics worth reading about, as well. Her gift for storytelling, both as a writer and artist, is wonderful."

    Thanks Sean! You can read the review here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Women in Comics II/Toronto Comicon

Well, I've been terrible again with blog updates. I'm going to try to step it up this summer as we move towards TCAF where I will have a new mini available!

My excuse has been that I've been working like crazy helping with the planning, organization and promotion of the Women of Comics II programming at this past weekend's Toronto Comicon. We had an awesome line-up of guests this year that included: Shelly Bond, Cecil Castellucci, Svetlana Chmakova, Danielle Corsetto, Willow Dawson, Tania Del Rio, Janet Hetherington, Faith Erin Hicks, Joan Hilty, Liana K., Michèle Laframboise, Tara McPherson, Robyn Moore, Vesna Mostovac, Patricia Mulvihill, Christine Norrie, Emily Pohl-Weary, Nicola Scott, Gail Simone, Tara Tallan, Mariko Tamaki, Raina Telgemeier, Renee Witterstaetter and me!

This year we had a special focus on 2 imprints: DC's Minx line, and local Toronto comic imprint Kiss Machine Presents. Kiss Machine has a great line-up of comics, but they are distributed through the bookstore and library system in Canada for the most part (and not carried at all through Diamond), so it was important to me to try to expose the comic-going crowd to this great line that is here in our own backyard.

Besides having my own table at the show, I moderated two panels on Saturday:

12:00 PM: The Visual Language of Comics
Take part in an examination of the cutting edge language of comic book storytelling through the eyes of some of today's most innovative storytellers: Svetlana Chmakova, Janet Hetherington, Raina Telgemeier, Faith Erin Hicks, Tara McPherson, and Christine Norrie.

I'm always surprised at these things about how similar many of our background are. Many of us have a real shared experience and it's a treat to get together and talk comics. We stuck loosely to the theme, but mainly it was a great excuse to get an all-star panel together to talk about making comics. We got a great turn out and lots of questions from the audience. We could have easily kept on going... Matt Brown at BlogTO did a great write up about it here (pic courtesy of Heidi MacDonald and Patricia Mulvihill - from left to right is me, Raina, Christine, Tara, Svetlana, Janet and Faith).

Update: I just read this on a blog about the show and I had to add it here. There was a Marvel Comics presentation happening at the same time as this panel in a different room at the show and apparently there were way more people in our WOC group than in the Marvel room! Woo hoo! Power to the people.

4:30 PM: Spotlight on Kiss Machine
Kiss Machine is a Canadian imprint dedicated to publishing "graphic novellas" by top Canadian talent. Learn more about this dynamic line with guests Emily Pohl-Weary, Willow Dawson, Vesna Mostovac and Mariko Tamaki.

The Kiss Machine panel went very well, and we learned that author Mariko Tamaki is not only having a full graphic novel of Skim published later this year by Groundwood Press (with artwork again supplied by her cousin Jillian Tamaki), but also that she is working on something upcoming with Shelly Bond and Minx.

Highlights of the Weekend
  • Hall of Fame presentation at the Joe Shuster Awards.
    This part of the show was really well done. I really learned a lot about the inductees: Albert Chartier, Gerry Lazare (who was in the audience and accepted the award), Jacques Hurtubise (who came from Montreal to accept his award), and Gene Day. Dave Sim spoke about Gene and it was straight from the heart.

  • Touching moments at the JSAs.
    In fact there were a lot of touching moments at the awards with a number of people breaking up. A great moment was Jay and Shawna Bardyla from Happy Harbor Comics who happened to come to the show all the way from Edmonton were truly surprised at winning the Harry Kremer Best Retailer award. Jay mentioned that he didn't cry this much at his wedding!

  • Meeting Mariko Tamaki and Vesna Mostavic from Kiss Machine.
    Vesna has a new comic coming out this summer. "Summer Ink" features illustrations of letters between herself and Golda Fried (Governor General's Award Finalist for Nellcott is my Darling). Vesna is also working on a series of 22 animated episodes of her indie comic creation "Foolish Girl" for TV.

  • Meeting the high-energy Cecil Castellucci, author of the Plain Janes.
    The book was going over very well in Toronto and Cecil even did a signing on Friday night at the Indigo at Yorkdale. It's a great book and a great start to the Minx line. Below see me, Mariko and Cecil at my booth. I'm not that tall and it looks like I'm towering over them which is hilarious! (photo courtesy of Jamie Colville)
  • Meeting the wonderfully talented Faith Erin Hicks.
    Faith came out from Halifax for the show (her first ever) and she wowed people with her talent and great sense of humour in panels and at her booth. She was also nominated for a Joe Shuster Award for Best webcomic and her family was out in full force to support her. It was really nice to see. I read the preview of Zombies calling and it is terrific and hilarious. I think it will be a big hit. Look for it in the Fall from Slave Labor.

  • Re-connecting with friends and acquaintances.
    As with all shows, the best part is connecting and re-connecting with friends old and new. It was great talking to Svetlana, Raina, Christine Norrie, Noel Tuazon, Scott Chantler, J. Bone, Darwyn Cooke, Willow Dawson and of course my good buds Mike Cho, Claudia Davila and Ngoc and Frank Cammuso.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

SpeakEasy Comic Book Show!


Just wanted to let you know that I will be in a group art show next week, Thursday, April 5th. The theme is of course comic books, and the line-up of artists is really terrific. Last year I was also lucky enough to participate and it was a really good time - lots of T.O. comic artists nerding it up.

This year I will have artwork of some of my latest strips, plus a few other pieces - full info below.

Toronto is home to some of the best known comics artists in North America. We have an active and vibrant community putting out some of the highest quality comics to be found anywhere. The SpeakEasy ComicsShow features an eclectic mix of Toronto's talented comic book artists- from those who do newspaper strips and political cartoons, to underground comix and mainstream superhero comic books!

The event promises to display an exciting cross-section of the comics communityhere in Toronto, as well as a glimpse into how good comics are made. As the old cliché goes, there really will be something for everyone.

Time & Space: Thursday April 5th, 8pm-Midnight, The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen WestSecond Floor Lobby
Cover: Pay What You Can ($4.00 Donation Suggested)

This Month's Featured Artists:
  • Attila Adorjany
  • Kalman Andrasofszky
  • John Bride
  • Willow Dawson
  • Arthur Dela Cruz
  • Tom Fowler
  • Jesse Gayle
  • John Lang
  • Jeff Lemire
  • stef lenk
  • Francisco Ribas
  • SketchKrieg!
  • Diana Tamblyn

For more information see:

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Who is Canada's top web comic creator?

Hi everyone, Happy 2007! I haven't posted for awhile, and am much overdo! Hope to be posting a lot more in 2007 with news and artwork.

First news is that The Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association (of which I am a member), the non-profit group that organizes the annual Joe Shuster Awards, is pleased to announce the creation of a new honour for our third year.

The inaugural Outstanding Canadian Web Comic Creator Award will be handed out during ceremonies on Saturday, June 9, 2007 in conjunction with the Paradise Toronto Comicon. Now we need your help!

The nominating committee for this award is already hard at work looking at dozens of candidates whose work was posted in 2006, but are also seeking submissions and suggestions for possible contenders.

For the purpose of the 2006 Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards web comics are defined as follows: Web comics, also known as online comics and webcomics, are comics that are available on the Internet. They do not have to be exclusively published online, they may be published in print but must maintain a web archive for either commercial or artistic reasons and they need to have been published on the web first, before any other medium. Web comics encompass the stratum of traditional print comic book formats, tiered comic strip pages and longer form graphic novels. Also included are formats such as horizontal web comic pages, vertical layout formats, irregularly formatted pages with horizontal and/or vertical scrolling and infinite canvas' but does not include multi-media presentations, motion graphics or flash animations. Mediums used can be traditionally drawn art, photographs, 3D Art, digital images, pixel art, clip art, found art and other conceptual web comics.

Questions, concerns, comments and submissions in the form of a URL can be sent to:

The full list of Canadian contenders can be seen at the website at:

We have a good base list we've compiled, but are looking for additional submissions to make sure we have as comprehensive list as possible of Canadian web comic creators. Thanks to good pick-up of this info on the web a lot of submissions are coming through and I've been generally impressed with the quality!

There's a lot of great stuff being done out there that I wasn't award of, and I think this is a terrific addition to the Joe Shuster Awards.