Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Suprisingly Well, Thank You

This cold I'm fighting off is very strangely behaved. I'll be feeling fine, then suddenly exhausted, then fine again, then uncontrollable coughing... and then a fever, and suddenly fine again. Weird. It seems to have almost completely subsided over the last two hours now that I have to be on the ball at work here. I was wet with cold sweats only an hour ago. Now I'm feeling startlingly well.

I can't help but believe that, for me, a cold is my body/mind forcing me to take a chunk of time and do nothing, and that when I've had enough of the cold it actually goes away quite quickly. My intention seems to have a lot to do with my health, even on a moment to moment basis. Thing is, what I'm supposed to be doing, or what I'm making myself do, is sometimes in conflict with what I really want, deep down at a subconscious level. That internal conflict eventually surfaces somewhere... sometimes as a cold, or unexplainable pains or twitches, or a compulsive burst of creative energy towards what I do want, or a poor performance where I'm "supposed" to be focusing.

Of course, today I took extra care to take all my suppliments (Greens Plus, Immunotec, Chinese Remedy) and eat really well (eating all my broccoli), and drink lots of water. Maybe this cold's purpose was to kick me in the arse about my nutrition...or give me an excuse to lay around all day and watch several adventure films. They always make me feel better when I'm sick... watch "The Corpse Bride" what a wonderful film!

I also watched Indianna Jones; the Last Crusade (fun movie), the new King Kong (Loved it, bawuled my eyes out the first time I saw it), Planet of the Apes (the new one, not particularly tight Sci-Fi... or plot line in general, but great costumes on the apes and Paul Giamatti steals the show as the slimy Orangutang), and of course, the Corpse Bride, which I think is now my all time favorite Tim Burton film, and one of the best films I've seen in the last couple of years.
Now you have Scott's Sick-Day movie reviews. I'm sure you'll want to run out and start renting them immediately!

General Rules for sick-day movies, they must be light, adveturous, funny and/or touching and positive. Er on the side of stupid, rather than creepy. Laughing and joyful crying soothe the heart and thus the body. You don't want to be having those vivid, repetitive fever dreams all night about scary creepy stuff. I spent the first night after watching Planet of the apes and King Kong back-to-back dreaming about Ape Cities and ape characters. Got a little over-aped.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Punky Girls

Today I am sick and feverish, and largely immobile... which meens I have a moment to actually add something to my blog because I've taken the day off. I like the fact that this is a great place to post drawings from my sketchbook that no one would normally see on my commercial illustration site.

Anyway, I'm a little out of it right now so I guess this post is just about the drawing, 'cause I'm gonna go lay down again.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Blotter Doodles

These doodles turned out kinda nice... if you like noseless Cro-Magnons. Whenever I'm inking comics I warm up by drawing faces on my blotter direct to ink, no turning back, each line a commitment. It's good practice for becoming more decisive with my lines. I thought it was kinda cool how the rest of the brush testing marks ended up looking like purposely rendered hair... which I guess it sorta was. I was pleased with the effect as I went along so leaned towards keeping it up.

What this blotter was helping me ink was page one of my first multi-page story to be completely done by myself. It's the one with the deer drawn in blue pencil below. Up until now my own stories have been single pagers, while all my long stories have been collaborations... like the 142 page graphic novel, Parting Ways, I did with Andrew Foley and Nick Craine. I keep forgetting to promote my own book here so there’s a bit of a teaser plug for you. Check it out via the links here and in the sidebar… or run like a madperson to your local comic shop and order ten copies!;)

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Click here for larger view, and note the fitting topic!
Hey Comics fans! Gareth Lind is a friend of mine who creates this excellent strip called Weltschmerz. He's releasing his self published collection of the strip in full colour and large scale for all to enjoy. I've been admiring Gareth's cartooning since I first saw it years ago and I'm excited to feature him on my blog today! I asked Gareth for some choice words to tell us what he wants us to know about Weltschmerz and he sent me this...

Weltschmerz has a cast of characters that grapple with the effect of politics on their lives. Some are personally affected by political decisions – Raj, the terrorist suspect, who is held without trial for having talked about nuking suicide wings. Some are simply worried to death about the future-- Horst, who meets Donald Duck, Big Bird and Tweety in his dreams and wonders whether bird flu has crossed the reality-cartoon barrier.

One reader told me he reads Weltschmerz for its bracing outlook, because it wakes him up when he is "asleep at the wheel." That's what I aim for. Many of us treat politics as separate from life. I want to bridge the gap and help make politics accessible. Probably the most similar existing strip is Doonesbury, though Weltschmerz has more caricature in it, is weekly and is, of course, Canadian.

Oh, and I try to be funny too. To avoid finger-wagging and didacticism. My focus is not only political; recent themes include blogging, having babies, supermodel Kate Moss and so-called intelligent shoes.

Most people are stumped by the strip's name. Sometimes I wished I'd named it differently. But it's been over a decade of people saying, "I like your ... uh ... strip," not wanting to dare treading in the lingual minefield of attempting to pronounce it. For the record, it's pronounced "velt-shmairts" and means, directly translated, "world-pain" in German -- the unbearable heaviness of being. (See the Wikipedia definition. The comic strip is also there. (

Weltschmerz appears in Toronto's Eye Weekly and several other Ontario papers, as well as on the Web. Attack of the Same-Sex Sleeper Cells, the first comic book of Weltschmerz cartoons, goes on sale on April 6 at

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Photo Cuba!

Click the Image for a larger view that allows you to see all the little details!


Okay, I finally got my act together to post this collage of portraits I made from the Photo Cuba workshop. If you happen to be one of these characters that means you participated in the workshop... Yay! Wasn't that fun? If you're not pictured in the above collage you still have a chance to get in the workshop for next year! Yay again! There are still a few spots left. The workshop runs February 4-11 of 2007. I know it seems like a long way away but that's what's so great, because you have time to book it off and put some money aside! Click this link for more information and registration;

Cool things about Cuba... great music, great dancing, great dark rum, wonderful open welcoming people, warm weather, beautiful snorkeling, and goats... lots of goats.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Photo Geek

Am I a bad husband for taking not-a-one of Trina’s workshops in the decade or so she’s been teaching them? Well, no more! Here’s my homework from last week’s photo assignment… taken today a, few hours before class #2. So maybe it’s not packed with meaning but I like how it looks. I’ve been raising that plant through several bouts of neglect and I’m really happy to see it thriving, As gangly and awkwardly potted as it may be, that’s one of my babies.

Plus I like the muted tones and then that green an red foliage poping out.


For some reason my other blog isn't posting, so I'm testing this one to see if it's working here. I know, this post is just way too fascinating...

And now I'm posting this photo so I can use it as my profile image.

Monday, March 13, 2006


If you're into animation, go to and watch her short, cartoon panda movie. It's great!

Ski Bunny

I'm going skiing today... actually, snow boarding. Since I don't know how to snow board, I'll be taking lessons with my 10 year old cousin Nina on the bunny hill. Wish me luck (do not say "break a leg!").

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Water's Daughter

Click Picture for larger view.
Here's a one page story I made ages ago and never did anything about publishing it. I thought the guy's body was kind of awkward. But, "I'd rather see a crooked furrow than an unplowed field" as they say. So here it is for the world to see. Any publishers out there wanting to put it in their anthology will be warmly welcomed by me.

Calling all Skypers

Does anyone out there actually use Skype? I was all excited to to save piles of money on long distance calling by using it, and I've only made one call in the last two months since I bought the special headphones and switchbox... which cost me about $35 in the end. I think I saved a total of 50 cents by using it for that one call. All my friends who once had the service stopped using it and aren't particulartly interested in using it again. The one call I made was disorienting because the sound kept cutting out and I was never sure if I was being heard on the other end of the line. Perhaps this explains it's slow growth in popularity. (I think all of twenty people are listed as having it in Toronto in the the skype directory). Here I was thinking this was going to revolutionize the way I make calls. Now I've got this great headset and no one to use it with.

... Back when I was an in-house illustrator with my friends Nick Craine and Scott Chantler... we had this job drawing safety posters... we had to use these cheap markers that would gather inky bits of fibre at their tips as you drew and deposit them somewhere on your drawing, usually leaving a nice smudge there and on the edge of your hand too. Nick decided this stuff needed a name so he called it "skype". Chantler started referring to the markers as "skypers". Should have copyrighted that word, Nick! I hear the company was bought by ebay for a couple billion bucks! ... or maybe it was Google.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Old Me

I drew this in Photoshop with my wacom tablet. When my friends see it they assume it's my future self portrait as an old man. Am I really that self involved? Yes, I am... and that's okay. I do like the serene expression on his face. Makes me feel better about aging. However, if this is supposed to be me it's not too realistic. This guy has more hair than I can grow.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ashes and Snow

I Just watched this incredible film by Gregory Colbert. He's a photographer and cinematographer and writer who works with animal/human interactions to make gorgeous art. So there's a film, a novel in letters, a portfolio of still images... it's a project in many media.

The work is sensual, poetic, spiritual... Magical. I don't know how else to describe it. You can get some sense of it by checking out the website at,

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yay Photography!

(like my nifty logo design?)
Trina has been teaching workshops through our studio for a decade and, if you can believe it I've never taken one of he classes! What a chump! I think it was an identity thing, like "she's the photographer, I'm the illustrator." I think also a part of me was afraid I'd end up becoming a professional photographer and my beloved illustration career would disappear. But the fact of the matter is that I really like photography a lot. Plus, I'm supposed to be the marketing manager for our workshops and I've never even been in one. I always knew they were great because I've seen them in action many times, and I've seen how much fun the students have. But I want to get in there and actually do it!

So, I bought new batteries for my Nikon F60 that's been on the shelf since I got it last spring, and tonight's the night! The first class of Trina's extraordinarily popular intro course,"Learn Photography", is starting tonight... and I'm gonna be in it. As of today there are three more spots available in the course if you're interested in taking it. Here's the course description and info:

Learn Photography, 7-9:30 Wednesdays March 8-April 19. $250.
Photography is all about light. How many of us pay attention to the light around us? Join us for a course that will open your eyes to a new way of seeing, of interpreting the world around you. You will learn both the technical and creative ingredients essential to making exciting, compelling images. This beginner workshop takes place in the fun and relaxed atmosphere of our professional studio, where questions are encouraged and the uniqueness of each student's emerging creative vision is supported and celebrated.

Gaining technical control of the manual function of your camera is a liberating experience; you are smarter than your camera! Through hands-on demonstrations, overheads and slides, we will reveal the mystery of how film speeds, shutter speeds and aperture settings combine to create the best exposure. We will use slides of master photographers work to discuss the principles and elements of design, the artistic language of composition. You will be encouraged to experiment with angles, perspectives and creative ways to fill the frame (the subject doesn't always have to be in the centre!). Throughout the course you will be introduced to the various styles of photography, landscape, portrait, documentary, still life and more.

A portion of the course is dedicated to learning the basics of fine black-and-white printing in our professional darkroom. Learning to make accurate test strips, to control contrast and brightness, to dodge and burn will help you to understand the underlying principles of programs like Photoshop, if you don't become another of our darkroom addicts. Many students discover this meditative, absorbing space and are hooked.

Once you have done some printing, we will have a guest speaker discuss archival matting and framing options to properly display and preserve your photographs.

Optional weekly assignments will deepen your understanding of key concepts as well as allow you to work and grow at your own level. The small group size (12 maximum, 2 instructors) provides the valuable opportunity of weekly critiques and individualised attention. These critiques are a highlight of the course for many students. By the end of the 7 weeks, you will have a mini-portfolio of images and a growing sense of your personal photographic vision.
The course culminates in a (relaxed) wine-and-cheese critique/celebration of our best work. By this point, you will have completed the cycle from shooting to printing to matting your completed image. On this night we will discuss how to speak about art in an informed, clear way.
This course is designed for never-held-a-camera beginners, as well as for those who have some knowledge of photography and wish to deepen their understanding and exploration of the medium. Upon completion of Learn Photography you are welcome to take any of our intermediate level courses.

If you cannot commit to 7 weeks, please check out our Crash Learn Photography course.
All courses are subject to GST. We GST. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Debit, Cheque, and Cash. Gift certificates are available.

To sign up call us at 519-767-2948 or email
We're located at 260 waterloo avenue in Guelph, Ontario.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's a Google Anyway?

Okay, I was wrong several times in my original post. Corrections are in bold below.

I've noticed a large number of people assume Google's name is a nonsense word because it's funny sounding and it's never heard in it's original context. So let me provide my opinion for the world... as I'm sure all six billion of you are reading my blog...

Well, actually it very well may be a nonsense word because of the spelling, but it's pronounced exactly like 'googol', which is a real word that I can't help but think is one of two words Google(TM) had in mind when they named themselves. If you're my age (37) or older you may remember a TV series by Carl Sagan called "Cosmos." A very cool documentary about the science of the universe. Probably a little out of date now with the rise of chaos/complexity theory, string theory and the like. Anyway Carl liked to talk about really big numbers. He would say "Billions and Billions" a lot. He also took special care to explain the biggest number that can exist. The number is so big that a piece of paper with this number written on it, no matter how small you're hand writing, could not be stuffed into the known universe. How can this be? Here's what this number would look like; 100000000... now keep adding zeros for all eternity. One googolplex is a one followed by an infinite number of zeroes. (I wonder if this means that two googolplex is exactly the same number as one?) This word is derived from the word for the number googol, which is a one followed by a hundred zeroes.

Perhaps this is why when you do a search on the number of pages found in your search are indicated not only by numbers but also by an infinitely expandable number of o's in the word Google across the bottom.

The second word, which creates a brilliant double entendre, is that 'google' also describes wide staring eyes that roll around in different directions, like what you get after searching the internet for hours on end.


Here's a sample from a story I'm working on right now (click pic for larger view). There's a lot of forest to draw in this book. That's all I drew until 4am last night. Trees and rocks, rocks and trees. Got pretty fast at it by 2am!

I'm getting all precious about the pencils now. I don't want to eliminate them in the inking process. I'll probably end up inking them on tracing paper, even though the whole point of buying this comic book art board was to have finished art that can be framed when it's done! Oh well, I guess I'll be framing them in blue. I'm such a chicken!

/ )

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Neat Trick

How is it that I managed to do everything except my comic project today? On the bright side, I used something I learned at a seminar to cut my time by two thirds on some of my tasks today! Wanna hear the trick? Okay I'll tell you, but just so you're forewarned this may sound like it makes no sense. Here goes.

My intention is to do my daily target praxis every day. I'm still working on that "every day" part which is silly because when I do it I get really focused and productive in my day, and when I don't do it it's because I tell myself I don't have time... and then I lose time all day long from my lack of focus. The praxis is a little morning ritual of reviewing my goals and my reasons for wanting them and doing a quick analysis of what's draining me and what's boosting me in my life, and a little analysis of something I could improve in my business, and then an intention setting thing. This is all part of what I learned from the "simple science..." course I'm taking to learn to focus my scattered imagination. Anyway, it's only supposed to take 15 minutes to do it but in my distractable and perfectionistic way it takes me at least 45 minutes to an hour to do. No wonder I avoid it sometimes! BUT for the last 2 days I've been doing this trick and yesterday I did it in exactly 15 minutes for the first time ever. Today was a different story... I finished it in 11 minutes!

Here's the trick. for about 10 to 15 seconds before I start actually doing the practice, I close my eyes and I visualize that I'm celebrating like crazy because I've just finished my praxis in less than 15 minutes. I'll even say it out loud just to stay on track. Then I say "GO!" and dive in.

That's it. Oh, not quite, then I actually celebrate like mad for a half a minute or so, dancing with the dogs and cheering and congratulating myself in order to reward my brain for pulling it off. You might want to create a subtler celebration if you work in a crowded office... unless your coworkers also like to dance. Like I said, it seems kinda weird and nonsensical, but somehow it works. The seminar where I learned this trick was called Enlightened Warrior Training Camp, one of T. Harv Eker's seminars. I think you can still get free tickets to his 3 day introductory course, by tuning-in to one of these; Harv's book (about $30), an evening seminar (free), or a teleclass (also free). It's amazing what happens when you create a clear intention.

Yes, I'm a bit of a seminar geek. What can I say? A decade of being the struggling artist has inspired it in me. One of these days I'll figure out this success thing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cuteness Power... ARRGHH!!

I've just finished reading Jame's Kochalka's big fat American Elf compilation. What a wonderful book! I was alone for the whole day last Tuesday (which is my day off) and felt compelled to draw this (you can click on it for a larger view). You can see James' work at

Hey, Look! I'm Blogging!

Welcome to my first-ever blog! In 1996 I drew a one page comic story called Diary of a Moon-Man. It was a graphic extension of my real journal. Since then I’ve made several Moon-Man stories, had them published here and there, and now they sit on my website hoping someone will find and read them ( hint hint ;-)

I don’t journal to record what’s happening in my life, but more as a way of sorting out my thoughts on the things that are persisting in my head without finding resolution. I figure this blog could be an extension of that. Not only that but I’ll also be announcing coming events and news.

What kind of news, you ask? Well, like the fact that we’re running another vacation style travel photography class in Cuba next year! So fun! ( And we’re planning one for Italy too! More info coming up on that one.

So, what’s my thought for today? I’ve been studying so much personal development stuff over the last couple of years it’s starting to come out of my ears. I read a great book called “Mastery” about a decade ago and it talks about the cycle of learning, how you climb and climb and then you hit a plateau where everything just flattens out for a while, where you feel like your learning curve just got stopped. I’ve hit that plateau and at first it was really disappointing. I love the rush of learning stuff that’s full of potential to improve my life. So where’s that interest now? I was having so much fun! I want that feeling back but I’m just resisting the actual process…

“Process” seems to be the key word here. I can feel it happening. This last two years has been jam packed with great seminars and audios and books and coaching. Today I’m processing. I can feel the ideas turning in the back of my head, stirring like a thick soup, and my brain picking out the good bits and putting them aside for later… or sooner. I can feel something piecing together back there, and I can’t help but feel it’s something good.