School Visits

CFRU 93.3 interview!

Hello everyone!  I am definitely having a lot of fun with my new wacom cintiq.  It's crazy!  I'm still trying to figure out a workspace arrangement that will be efficient, but drawing with it is phenomenal. Late last week I had the pleasure to be interviewed by CFRU 93.3's (in Guelph ON) Sarah Mangle for her show called : These Things that People Make.

It was a lot of fun and Sarah had some really interesting questions for me and I even did a part of a reading!  You can check out more of her shows here at CFRU's main Archive (incidentally my interview is Thursday : 2010-06-10 episode at 10am.)

It was a 30 minute interview that I've downloaded and split into 3 parts for you to listen to if you don't want to stream it:




I "definitely" said one word a few to many times... but at least the "umm" count was kept to a min.  I am in need of some public media speaking classes I think, but I also know I could have done much worse.

On the media relations note, this morning I was in a short (very short) feature done on our local TV stations morning show - Breakfast Television.  I'm trying to track down a recording I can post here as well.

I also had a school visit yesterday of which I will post more on as soon as I get some photo's organized.

For now I will leave you with the results of my first drawing attempt on my cintiq.


Colors are a bit off of my normal monitor, but there are lots of things to figure out still and I'm not too worried about it.

Take care,


Three School Visits and a Tub

Hellllllo everyone!  May is almost done for me and June is upon us, but what an amazing May it has been!  I have 3 school visits to blog about so lets get to it! Well the Scribblers for Life Tour starting this month quite a ways north from where I live in a small community called Kinuso (which is close to Slave Lake).  I zipped up there the night before and I must have seen at least 20+ white tailed road hazards (Deer).  After the first 3 I was very glad the sun was setting much later.  I also saw more beaver lodges and dams than I have ever seen before in my life, which gave me a whole new appreciation for their hard work after seeing some of their amazing constructions (and how much it changed the land!!).  Finally, Slave Lake was like a small sea, you could see across it one way fairly easily, but length was it looked like it was the ocean looking out on it.  MOST OF ALL  Kinuso Elementary School was just amazing and we even created a new first - a Double Decker Stacktastic - Officially the tallest STACKTASTIC yet!!!  Here's some of the carnage:


What was a nice surprise about a week after my visit to Kinuso was when I received a whole pile of notes and letters from the Students in Grade  5:


Makes it all worth while!

Next stop on the tour was Ermineskin Elementary!  Now this school was cooooool.  When I first arrived I saw this amazing banner that the students had made for me (As seen in photo below) with cool drawing of my own pictures and it said "Tatawaw" which means "Welcome" in Cree!  I did a number of readings of my Gophers in Farmer Burrows Field book and they all informed me they knew ALL about gophers (though they handled them differently than Farmer Burrows did).  They had also made some amazing 3D paper scenes from my book!  It was ultra awesome and so much fun!  "Hai Hai" Ermineskin Elementary ( which I believe is Thank you in Cree).


This month has taken me all over small town Alberta and shown me just how diverse and beautiful this province is.  Last week I had the pleasure to visit Alder Flats Elementary School which is between Drayton Valley and Rocky Mountain House, a few hours to the west of my home.  I was once again blown away (as I have been with all the schools I've been to) by their hospitality of the staff and by how great the students were.  We made a couple of books together using the BBF (Boldt Book Formula) a STACKTASTIC, and I was able to teach one class all about digital illustration.  These grade 5s and 6s are fortunate enough to get to dabble in photoshop and learn about digital mediums at a very young age.  Awesome!  I shared a bit of how I work and lent some tips to them, and then gave as many as I had time for a whirl on my own wacom tablet that I packed along.  I even created a quick sketch (that they donated the ideas for - a Dr. Crocodile with a beard) for them to color at a later date.  I look forward to seeing their own creations some day!  Thank you Alder Flats Elementary, you rock!  Here's that creation:


If you feel like coloring Crazy Croc PHD and sending it to me too, go right ahead!  I'll post them on my blog with all the others that come in!!!

My final blurb of this marathon post is a recent illustration I did that I may have in print (in my store) at some point in the future.  I think I'm calling it "Bathtime".


Take care everyone!


Rosebrier Community School and the Calgary Comic Expo!!!

Hey Hey!  How's everyone enjoying their Spring so far?  Mine has been great!  I've just finished my second picture book (stay tuned for some sneak peeks soon) as well as some more school visits and a Comic Expo.  I cannot believe how much fun this has been.  I know I am saying it a lot these days, but honestly, these school visits are just an awesome time for me (I hope the students are enjoying it too haha).  So back at the end of April I visited Rosebrier Community School just out side Wetaskiwin.  Rosebrier is located in some just beautiful country that really describes the prairies well.  The sky just felt so huge out there, as you can see from my pictures.  The school itself is super cool not just because of the fantastic students and staff, but they have the original Rosebrier school that was at least 100 years old right there on the property.  I was fortunate enough to even be given a tour of it!  Talk about history, though I didn't see any computer desks in that old building, made me wonder how they sent their emails....   Another really cool aspect of this visit was the fact that I finally got to sling out my Digital Illustration session on some Grade 8 and students.  I let them take a ride with my wacom tablet too once we were done.  Naturally, as all kids these days, they took to it like a duck to water.  They were also very familiar with the gophers from my Farmer Burrows book, though they confessed they took care of them in a different way... rosebriervisit1

Over all it was a great time and it took me back a ways to my own childhood and going to a small country school.  Thanks again Rosebrier!

My weekend didn't end there however.  The very next two days I had managed to get a last minute table at the Calgary Comic Expo.  My first experience with a table at a comic show too, and so I was a little worried how it would go with my "kidsy" stuff.  Well, I am happy to say it was a blast!  The place was packed, an estimated 15,000 people cruised the expo that weekend and I sold out of almost all my prints!  I also was selling my book, The Gophers in Farmer Burrows' Field, and my new sketchbook (as well as trading a ton of them with the surrounding artists I marveled at all weekend.  Also, being located in the Artist's Alley of this event I finally braved my fears and did some "con comishes", as in drawings on the spot for people.  Did a few Chuck Chances and his characters, a Jackalope from my Legendary Anthology comic, and a Batman, a Thor, and a Captain Marvel (Shazam!).  It also just so happened to be one of Leonard Nimoy's last public appearances, and I was able to see his session (via bigscreen) while grabbing a bite to eat.  Really cool.


One of the huge highlights on top of having a great time with my own table, was meeting the other amazing people and talents at the con.  Doug TenNapel, creator of one of my all time favorite characters (Earthworm Jim), came over and was talking to me on the last day!  IN fact he seemed so genuine and natural I didn't even recognize him until I saw his name tag.  Then I almost fell over.  A super cool guy with who I was able to get some original art from his Catscratch show.  Awesome!

I also almost always have my eye out for other comics for kids (being that I am looking to make one myself next in Chuck Chance) and came upon two super cool dudes, Chris and Marv, the creators of the comic "The Misadventures of Mal and Lot" of Powie Studios.  A really wild and exciting comic for kids that is high action.  Kids are going to love this book.  I'm looking forward to running into these guys again!  I also snagged a commish'd sketch of one of my favorite xmen - nightcrawler done by Marcio Takara!  Met and talked (and exchanged some prints) with two cool dudes of the Udon Crew, Eric Vedder and Joe Viens!!!  This post could probably be many lines longer.  Quick last shout outs to David, Holly and Autumn for being fantastic table neighbors and amazing artists to boot!!!

Needless to say, I'll be going back.

Take care,


Scribblers for Life tour 2010!

Hello everyone!  Spring is here and welcome back to the blog!  It's been rather inactive the last few months though I have not been - well relatively anyways. So the quick update from last month was that over $26,000 was raised in the Brownstones to Red Dirt Charity auction!  That's awesome!  It was fun to watch the many different pieces really rocket up in the end, and you could tell there were more than a few people dueling it out.

Since the beginning of this year I've been visiting schools, books stores and other places around Alberta promoting my book, doing some instruction, as well as just having a great time with the kids and students where ever I go.   I've decided to officially title my travels the "Scribblers For Life Tour 2010".  Here's a little map I did up for it. (clicky for bigger)


And I'm hitting the next two stops this tomorrow and all weekend!

As I said these school visits have been an absolute blast!  Last month I was at Holy Spirit School in Devon and right at the beginning of April I was at the Indigo book store in the Edmonton International Airport.  Both were great experiences!  Last week I traveled north to the wonderful city of Whitecourt!  I had been invited some time ago by their amazing librarian and we finally had a few dates that worked.  I have to say I was overwhelmed at the way the school welcomed me and had anticipated my visit.  The staff was amazing and the kids were unbelievably incredible.  For two full days different classes came and did a number of different sessions with me.  We created some hilarious books together, some crazy Stacktastics, a couple book readings and many books signed!  Here are a few pictures from my last visit to Whitecourt Central School:


I am awed by the way these students at these schools can come up with the most creative-ingenious-funny-original ideas and they just hunger for more.   So many of them have an insane amount of talent too.  They teach me probably a whole lot more than I believe they area learning from me haha.  Every time I return home from a visit, though I may be tired, I am inspired.  This has turned out to be a most welcome part of my career and I look forward to what I hope are many more school readings and visits!

If you are a part of a library, school, organization, or even a birthday party planning committee and are interested in having me come out to read, teach, do activities with the kids and students, please contact me for more information.  I would love to email and talk with you more about it.

Take care,


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:


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:


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:

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


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):


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.