P'ésk'a and the First Salmon Ceremony

P'ésk'a and the First Salmon Ceremony

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Every time I write here I realize I need an assistant - somebody to keep me consistent with keeping up to date. But then, once I'm done, something bright flies by and I forget all about it. Maybe I'm not going to change.
So lots to catch up on but I'll cut to the chase. 'Owen at the Park' is nearing completion. That's my book that takes place in Tiergarten - the park in Berlin. I was lucky enough to be able to write a lot of it (and start the illustrations) while there. Out of all the books I've done it's been the most enjoyable. It's really been a labour of love. I was always conflicted when working on the final art - I couldn't wait to dive into each page but knew the more I did the closer I was to finishing it. And I didn't want it to end.
Of course working with Groundwood (Michael and Nan) has been a joy. Here's hoping more is on the way. Whatever I do they improve on. Mind you I'm just waiting to hear back on my final art so I let's see how I feel after I get comments. Ok, I'm joking, I really find they elevate anything I might do.
But working as a freelancer means you have to be scrabbling around for new work while you're finishing off the current project. By rights the scrabbling should start earlier but that's where the creative aspect comes in. I find I can only split myself up so much (creatively speaking) so that sometimes one project needs to be almost done before you can focus on the next.
I'm working on a new story about logging and tugboats here in B.C. Thanks to a friend who worked in the field I feel I've got the inside track on a lot of information.  It's pretty fascinating stuff. I've just started rough sketches so who knows how it may end up but here's the characters. 
On a whole different note I'm still doing editorial cartoons. As reprehensible as he is I have to be grateful that he kick started an aspect of my illustration that I'd never pursued before.
Ok, that's the news for now!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Kind of amazing when I look at these all put together. I got a nice delivery from OwlKids last night - two more translations of ‘Why?’ This brings the total to eleven translations - including Russian, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, Finnish, Turkish, Slovenian, French, Polish and Chinese. Plus OwlKids put out a 10 year anniversary edition and a recently issued paperback. So I want to say thank you and congratulations to the author Catherine Ripley, OwlKids and Sheba Meland for pulling the whole thing together. 
It's pretty cool to know the book is being enjoyed in so many countries around the world. There were a few surprises along the way. In the Arabic version somebody changed the art. I totally understand cultural and religious sensibilities but I was surprised to open the book to see the addition of long sleeves and skirts on female appendages, and the complete removal of pigs in the farm. Next time I’d be happy to do it myself! The Chinese edition is divided into 3 books, for some reason using another artist on the cover! On the Russian version they chose different cover art as well, with a dinosaur drinking a glass of water. For the eagle eyed, I've included a translation of another book I illustrated called ‘How?’, a follow up to ‘Why?’ Let’s hope it continues the tradition and has as many translations. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Leaves on cobblestone

    It's almost halfway through October and I'm winding down my time in Berlin. This city is so beautiful in the fall - massive trees with leaves scattering on the cobblestone (real cobblestone!) Kindergarten kids being ferried to and fro in little kiddie karts. It seems very German because the teachers peddle groups of 5 or 6 kids through the streets. Back in Canada there would be rules about helmets or capacity and the kids would have to be piled into a city bus. 
    As many times as I've been to Berlin I still love this city. I'm going to be sorry to come home. But don't feel too bad for me, I love Vancouver so I'll get over it pretty quick. 
    I've had the good fortune to be able to do some work on my book that takes place here (in Tiergarten, the Stanley Park of Berlin.) There's something pretty special about being able to work on a project in the location it takes place. 
    And of course being somewhere new can stimulate the creative juices. I've got seeds for a few book ideas but the only way to see if they will really turn into anything (or at least the way I work) is to put them aside for a bit. I wonder how other freelancers work. My technique is a rotation of delving into new possibilities, followed by storing those away while I work on current projects. And the cycle goes on. The trick is to always have 3 burners going: one on the boil, one simmering and one you're out at the market gathering ingredients to see what you can make - which is clearly not a burner. I seem to have mixed my metaphors again. 
    I've been having fun working on a couple of Apps too - something very new for me. These are math apps for young kids. I guess you could say I did a bit of animation but it's very simple. So let's just say, inching my way into the world of Apps.

This is from the Tiergarten book,  out next year with Groundwood. 

This is from 'Eggstravagant!' the new App written by the lovely Lori Sherritt-Fleming for the TV entertainment company, GAPC.

And this is another cartoon for the orange menace below. I do have to give credit to Mr. Trump - he has given cartoonists and illustrators no end of new ideas just by being himself. If only he weren't a real danger it would be amusing. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Squirrels in Paris in August

I'm sitting here drawing squirrels in Paris and realized this is the kind of thing I should probably write about. Doing what I do, and being able to travel is pretty amazing and I have to remind myself how lucky I am.
On top of drawing squirrels in Paris I'm staying in an amazing building built in 1901, complete with a separate entrance up the back stairs for the servants and 8' windows in every room. It's  kind of hard to leave and see the sights. But I'm a trooper and I managed to get out and take some pics. 
I had planned to take an actual holiday here - which is something freelancers know very little about. But when it came right down to it I wasn't able to and brought my work gear with me. But to be honest, drawing squirrels in Paris, and getting paid for it is as good as any holiday I can think of. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring 2017

As always it's been too long since I wrote so here goes. 
   I've got two new books coming out. First, 'Federica', a story inspired by the daughter of a wonderful friend. I was lucky enough to work with Groundwood Books, winner of Best Children's Publisher of the Year, North America 2016. https://houseofanansi.com/products/federica
   Also coming in September is 'See What We Eat' the fourth book in the 'Five Friends' series by Kids Can Press (who just won Best Children's Publisher of the Year, North America 2017.) Guess I'm in pretty good company. 
   I'm happily back home for awhile but already scouting around for a place in Berlin. Hoping I can be there for Berlin Art Week in September. It's an amazing 'all over the city' exhibition of brilliant (and sometimes not so brilliant) modern art. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Time flies when you're on the move. 
I've settled in Berlin now for a couple of months but last month was an action packed visit to Madrid. In April I rented an amazing flat right in the middle of town. It had a beautiful rooftop deck and I could watch the sunset from my work desk as well.  As usual I'm working on my travels but I have to say this was one of the nicest settings. The weather in Madrid was wet and cold, not that I'm complaining - I was in Spain after all - but it didn't quite fit my expectation of what Spain is meant to be like.
On the plus side I could focus on my work and visited lots of galleries. Although (not being a fan of religion) I've seen my full share of Virgin Mary's and Christ on the cross. I wasn't really ready for how religious Spain is. Although the cathedrals are beautiful, especially in Toledo.
After Madrid it was off to Berlin to settle in for a couple of days then up to Frankfurt to see some dear friends. That was a wonderful visit but I'm quite happy to be settling into my flat here in Berlin. I've also started art on a book I began writing here 2 years ago so it's feeling very 'full circle'.
The image I'm posting is from a job I did with a wonderful dance school in North Vancouver called Perform Art Studios. They asked me to do a giant window covering. It was quite a departure for me but I have to say I loved doing it because I could show parts of the north shore and Lonsdale Quay.  Hope it's still up when I get back to Vancouver. If you see it, take a picture and send it!
Ok, time to go collect my bicycle and go for a ride - one of my all time favourite pastimes here in Berlin.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's out! Just dropped into KidsBooks to see if my new book 'My House is Alive!' (OwlKids) was on the shelves and there it was. I signed a dozen copies so hopefully somebody will get down there and buy them!  Check out their new store, they moved a few blocks away but the space is huge and they offer a lot more - I think it looks great.