Fun in February!

Hello out there!  So aside from turning yet another year older February has been a great month.  It started with another school visit.  Kathy Schoepp, the librarian arranged for me to visit her wonderful Elementary school right in my home town.  Brookwood School was a blast.  I was there for TWO FULL DAYS of presentations and readings.  We did a pile of STACKTASTICs with the different classes and grades that I saw.  They were a blast!  I should really start to take more pictures of them as I'm done as I like to leave the drawings there for the classes that helped me create them.  There were piles of hilarious moments too.  Here's one example.  We had started a STACKTASTIC (where I draw anything the kids can come up with in a stack like the gophers from my book make) which is generally a lot of fun.  There are definitely some steady requests for any stack I do - TRex, Giraffe, Barns, farm animals of any kind - but this was a new request.  I knew one day someone would ask for him, but I still was not prepared.  Spiderman.  Basically my all time favorite hero, just above Batman.  Though, as much as I love Spidey, I've never been able to draw him well.  But I had these kids ask for him, and so I had to give it a go.  As if I wasn't nervous enough, as soon as I started, one of the kids in the front said to his friend "Now we'll see if he's any good.  My brother can draw Spiderman perfectly, so I am going to judge this one against his."  Thankfully no one took a picture of that one, and I didn't hear it, but I'm sure I didn't make the grade - though it made me laugh for quite a while. Here are a few shots from the visit:

brwoodvisit

While I've known for quite a while that these school visits were going to be a part of my future in doing kid's books, they were something I used to sweat bullets about doing.  I've never been much of a public speaker, always feared having to read out loud in class, and basically dreaded being in front of an audience at anytime in general.  However, these visits I've had so far have been just outstanding times.  I hope I can continue to do more in the future... and on that note ~transition~

February also had me at my first convention as an exhibitor.  The Teacher's Convention for the greater Edmonton area of Northern Alberta was also around the beginning of the month.  After my first school visit last month, my wife (who's an amazing teacher) spotted a brochure while she was subbing one day, and suggested that I could go and have the chance to meet a lot of schools and teachers.  Long story short - I got in at the last minute and had an amazing time - even if my booth looked a bit vacant.  I met so many great teachers who were very interested in having me come out to their schools, it was fantastic.  I also learned a few tips for the next time.  Make sure I have a sign saying "I DO AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR SCHOOL VISITS!!!"  Anyways, here are a couple shots from the floor:

p2040088

Like I said.  It was a great experience.  I sold enough Gophers books to pay for it too!  Plus I had a draw for 10 free books, 5 prints, and one original drawing and so my draw box became more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey.

This month also had my book, The Gophers in Farmer Burrows' Field, start to get some publicity.  I got a great review from CM magazine which is a resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents.  You can check it out here:

http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol16/no21/gopher.html

I also had a couple places in some magazines this month.  Here is one sample in the Mumsense, a UK publication:

mumsensead

Pretty cool stuff.

So finally, this month I have a little workshop coming up at the Young Author's Conference in Sherwood Park AB that I am extremely excited about.  I was asked if I could teach a few short lessons on creating a graphic novel or comics.  Seeing as how I've had my heart in comics for most of my life and Bill Watterson is one of my original influences, AND I just so happen to have a certain character called Chuck Chance who's been very patient with me - I jumped at the opportunity.  I created this little sketchbook too (which is just at the printers at the moment):

sketchbook-cover

I wanted to have something available for the students at this conference to pick up that not only had something to do with comics, but also a bit of a "How to/my process" type thing for them to take home.  I've been a fan of sketchbooks from artists I admire for a number of years and my collection is growing constantly.  I love seeing how people create and start off with their work.  So this sketchbook, which I'll have in my store soon, is mostly my comic stuff from the last few years.  It has my short comic from the Legendary Anthology that is still seeking a publisher, as well as a process section from that contribution, and then other odd comic bits and sketches.  I excluded the picture book stuff on purpose as I may do a different sketchbook or something with those works at another time.

So that's all for now.  I probably could have posted 4 times this month for each of these topics, but once is better than never eh?  So take care everyone and I hope you're enjoying the Winter Olympics as much as I am.

-Mike