Monthly Archives: October 2010

Comic Book Confidential: Lynda Barry!!!!!

Soooooo…… After lamenting the fact that I hadn’t seen the pamphlets for the Readers and Writers Festival in as many places as per usual and thus getting to one a bit on the late side…. I pretty much totally lost my mind when I glancing through the events noticed a Writing workshop with… LYNDA BARRY!!!!!! OMG OMG OMG! I of course called immediately to get a ticket and OF COURSE, it was already a hundred percent sold out. F.

Buuuuuut, after I fought of the urge to kill myself because of this, I happen to notice that there was another event featuring Lynda that also looked to be of definite interest titled ‘Comic Book Confidential’.

I’m so glad that I got to see Barry live and in person. She is one of the true veterans when it comes to female comic book creators and also… she’s friggin hilarious. But better yet she is also very smart. In her talk/presentation Barry touched on subjects such as trigger objects/ transitional objects that help children (and adults if they want) to cross over into a state of play.

I really respect Barry for talking about this notion of play and how important it is for our psyche.

In her talk Barry referenced the neuroscientist Ramachandran and his mirror experiment that helped rid a man of his phantom limb pain and relates this back to the importance of the act of creating/ the act of play. She notes that when we are in deep play parts of our brain get activated and stimulated that otherwise stay dormant. Barry touches on this in many ways in her excellent book ‘What it is’. She calls the lack of play/creativity  that most adults experience a Public Health issue and I couldn’t agree more.

Lynda Barry is convinced that art serves as part of our immune systems, and that it has a biological function. To quote Barry directly from the lecture: ‘What the hell do we need prescription drugs for if all we have to do is draw a turkey with a cigarette saying something about someone we hate’.  She is referring here to the section of her follow book to ‘What it is’ entitled ‘Picture This’. the section is called ‘A chicken in winter’ and talks about how making an image of a chicken out of cotton balls is sometimes all ‘one’ can do when feeling like a total wreck. How a repetitive act of creating with ones hands can be of so much value, even though it is such a seemingly simple act. Also on the notion of the healing qualities of repetitiveness, Barry mentions that she drew hundreds of images of meditating monkeys, (some of which can be seen in ‘Picture This’) when she was feeling particularly in the dumps due to several deaths of close friends of hers. I had noted these images in the book when I first got a glimpse at it and they have stuck with me ever since, so hearing Barry explain the origin of them was very enlightening and interesting. Barry then also related this repetitive task  of drawing the monkeys back to when her own mother started doing coloring in coloring books after the war.

I was also lucky to get to have my book signed by Barry and managed to ask her is it was ok to use and modify some of her writing exercises for my class. (Reply: YEs! That’s what they’re there for! insert funny husky/hippie Lynda Barry voice).

I have gone to events featuring people I deeply respect and lost a great chunk of it when meeting them in person, but let it be said that this was definitely not one of them. LYNDA BARRY REMAINS ONE OF MY TRUE HEROS.

Hopefully she’ll be back in Vancouver to do another workshop in the near future.

oh man am I ever glad I got this one! Stoked!

there was a really long line up to get autographs, this is sort of the end of the line

Lynda Barry and Sarah Leavitt

Filed under News

Children’s Literature Roundtable/Illustrator’s Breakfast

So I did end up going to the Illustrator’s breakfast put on by the Children’s Literature Roundtable. The event featured the Illustrator Pierre Prat and him doing a presentation of his work that lasted roughly 45min. to an hour amongst other things. One of those other things was strange prices that people were winning when your ticket got picked. … Which mine did thank you, and now I am the lucky owner of a gigantic… fantastic… plastic… pumpkin….?! Just what I needed. It’s funny because all the presents were on a table where you could then go up and pick the one that most appealed to you and I liked this one because I really didn’t have the slightest idea what it would be. Fake, hollow, plastic pumpkin wasn’t something that immediately came to mind for some reason… weird, I know.

Another great thing about the breakfast was …surprise, surprise … the actual breakfast! I had full on expected it to be a somewhat continental breakfast with a croissoint and a coffee and your on your way, but those people weren’t joking around about the food part. De-li-cious! Hm… so good.

Anyhow, getting off track here. Also fantastic was that I got to meet lots of great people, among them Kathryn Shoemaker, illustrator/author Julie Flett and the illustrator who did the artwork for Robert Heidbreder’s Crocodile book. Speaking of Robert, he was there, which was fantastic, and in fact the very first person I saw when getting there was his fantabulous wife Jane who remembered me right away. Those guys are so great! Also some of my students from my first class were there and in fact one of them was working for the event and was nice enough to send me the photos I am posting here.

Piere’s talk was great and really insightful for me. Also, I ended up buying his book ‘The Ladder’ and then getting it autographed and meeting him for a tiny bit.

Overall a really fun time. Unfortunately I did not take a lot of photos while there. I always forget to take photos, arrghhh…

Here are some pictures from it

Me with all of the thousands of things from the breakfast upon return

posted by Priscilla Holmes.

Filed under News

Vancouver Antiquarian Book Fair

Charles van Sandwyk and me at the Joyce Williams booth

Also from the Joyce Williams Antique Prints & Maps booth

This was a spine I really liked

So I went to the Antiquarian Book Fair at the Downtown Public Library last Friday evening with my friend Fabiola. Admission was 5.00$ and I think it was so worth it. It was pretty late in the day when I got there, but I was really surprised how few people were visiting. Talking to the vendors though it seemed that it was busier earlier on in the day. The event was put on by the Alcuin Society. Most of the booths there  were independent bookshops, but a couple of them were actually just set up by people (actually I only recall two and they were both guys) who were big time collectors themselves and who were showcasing their wares and bringing in the pieces they were ready to let go off. I found myself at one of these booths looking at a tiny Mickey Mouse Comic book that was in a square format with only one panel on the right and then text on the left throughout the book. I wish I could have gotten that one too, but I was under a self imposed budget cut for book purchases when attending and so all I did was look at it and talk about it with the guy manning the booth. Then when I asked for his business card he said he didn’t have one because he wasn’t a bookshop. At the time i just laughed and said it was fine, but in retrospect I’m like: Man, you put all this energy into getting a booth for this and you brought all of these cool books in, but then you don’t have a business card? Weird. Later on I heard someone else ask him for his card, at which point he leaned over to  the table next to him and asked for a piece of paper…I have the feeling he probably had to borrow more paper the next whole day.

Upon entering the Fair you got a pamphlet that lists all the booksellers and their location, but most tables had their own cards to give out as well. The only thing I ended up totally caving in for and buying was the strangest edition of Tin Tin comics that I’d ever seen before. They are tiny and there were two of them. They are both in Chinese even though we ( Cathy Sorensen from Sorensen Books and me) didn’t know that for sure at the time. All the reasons why I had to get them: The format is amazing. … Imagine the regular Tin Tin books that are vertical and have at least 8w panels per page, and are in color. Then imagine the tiny b&w square version in Chinese! … One of the covers let me know right away what book is was. The other one didn’t ring a bell. When I asked the bookseller who turned out to be the owner of the shop herself, she said she didn’t know anything about the books, and  a only brought them because they are very unusual looking. She was selling them together for 10.00$. I was for a second tempted to buy only one but then she mentioned that she really wanted them to stay together, which turned out to be a very clever idea. It’s funny in hindsight, because I was standing there at her booth and going on and on about how weird it is that they changed the overall layout of the book so much and how they must have edited the story a ton in order to get it in such a relatively close space, …. then later on when my friend Francis who knows Chinese looked at the books with me… it turned out that they are actually part 1 and part 2 of the same story! Ha! What do you know! … love it. Sometime  people do things for reasons they don’t even know, and just have a gut feeling about something, and it turns out to be the right thing to do. Way to go Cathy Sorensen for keeping them together for so long! Now I will.

So here a few picture from the event. Some sellers were very talkative and ready to give you all sorts of interesting information about their wares. Some you had to pry it out of them, and then there was even one who was literally asleep. I had to wake him up in order to ask him something about one of the books he had showcased. Good times. I had a good laugh at that.

Overall I had a really good time and if I didn’t have another event to attend the next day already I would probably have gone back for a second day.

Filed under News


Since my life is a bit of a circus lately I have found myself absent mindedly sketching a circus scene. I will try to scan in a lot more sketches regularly and actually post things that I’m working on. It’s funny because I look at this ‘sketchblog’ every once in a while and laugh at how few actual sketchbook work I have posted. Ha ha ha. Hilarious.

Filed under Sketchbook & Projects

A little insight into an image from ‘The Day It All Blew Away’

See any resemblance there?

Filed under Sketchbook & Projects

Paulina Petersen sketches

I thought it would be cool for my class to see some experiments I did in my real sketchbook as well as in my computer sketchbook so to say for ‘Paulina P. for Petersen’. These are all experiments with different mediums, lines, and color. It’s important to look and contrast to see what works best in your planning stages of your book and your main character(s). Life is in the details!

Filed under Sketchbook & Projects