Monday, December 15, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Off the Eaten Path

I had a lot of fun working out a new idea with Ed Cassavoy from the Toronto Star Travel Section.

An illustrated guide to eating weird stuff around the world.

The first one was based on my trips to China, and was in the Travel section today (December 6th).

For anyone who wasn't able to see it "live" here's the original.

2014 SOTS pic

I had a great day yesterday at the CBC Radio Sounds of the Season Open House. 

Armed with sharpies and a giant piece of paper I set up a donation jar and drew anything people paid me to draw.

The result? A weird "holiday party" with guests including James Bond, a Santa Fish, Avery the flying penguin, mermaids, skiing elephants... just about everything.


The total was almost 300 bucks! All proceeds went to Ontario Food Banks.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rudolph the Red-nosed Radio

Every year I do a lino-cut print for the CBC Toronto's Sounds of the Season show. This year is December 5th at the Broadcast Centre. The prints are given (by me) to people who donate $100+ to support Ontario's Food Banks. (Details now up on the CBC website HERE).

As someone who writes about food a lot, the issue of access to nutrition is huge for me. There are usually about 300 takers each year. Here's a shot of this year's prints hanging to dry in my living room.

This year's print is a little different, and I want to explain why. It's the most personal print I've made.

The image is a radio. In fact it's a vintage 1930's RCA radio that I have had since I was a kid. I used to listen to old radio dramas and hockey games on this radio. It's how I fell in love with radio.

And I do love radio. I have worked in radio and I continue to work in radio (when possible). (I even do a podcast on kids books, which is basically a radio show by a different delivery vehicle).

This year's print is smaller than in year's past. It's about three inches wide by 5 inches high. Why so small? Because radio is shrinking, CBC Radio is in particular.

A series of federal governments have whacked the CBC and radio, in particular, has taken the brunt of the cuts.

This is tragic. It means the ability to tell great stories to Canadians front coast to coast is compromised. Hearing ads on Radio 2 is still killing me. Repeats, even of amazing shows, are becoming the norm.

It's a testament to the amazing people who work inside the CBC that they continue to make amazing radio despite all the pressures.

So, this year's print is being sent as a thank you to people who donate, but I'd like everyone who considers getting one to also think about what's happening to the CBC.

Heck, if you want, take a snapshot of this year's print and use it on t-shirts, the web, or letterhead on letters to your MP demanding the CBC receive stable funding.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Word on the Street! Come sample my wares!


Every year for the past 10+ I've had my own booth at Word on the Street in Toronto.

It's a great opportunity to get some cheap original art - bookmarks and postcards and even autographed copies of my books.

This is what my booth looked like a couple of years ago.

KS30 is the number this year. This may be the last year, as I'd love a chance to check out some of the other great WOTS out there.

Come say hi!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Catnip Squad

Hairy Garcia gets paid a visit....

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Caternity Suit

"Mr. Biggles cannot be the father. He's been neutered."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cat Museums

A day trip and a pawnorama.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Getting started


I love getting fan mail (who doesn't) and I'm always amazed by the great questions kids ask.'

I got one today asking how I start a story. Here's what I wrote.....

"The only advice I can give on starting is... don't worry about it. Start the story where you feel you know the story, then go from there. You might find out that's the perfect beginning anyway.

Or, the other advice I sometimes give, is start every story with the same line. Mine is "the gunshot ricocheted off the ceiling and shattered the window". 

It's never actually been there when the story get's finished, but it always starts me off with action. Then, once I start writing the story behind the action the story starts to unfold."


And, for the heck of it, since the 5th Neil Flambé is out soon, here's a preview of one of the pics from the book.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Corporate Cattitude

"You're supposed to kiss it, Johnson."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

School Visits and great student art!

Another year of school visits in OVER!

(My last was friday as part of the Latitudes Storytelling Festival in Kitchener. Highly recommend going next year if you can.)

One of my fave parts of visiting schools is getting amazing student artwork. Check this out from Caradoc North! They like that Neil Flambé!



I do a cartooning class as part of my presentation that talks about how to use simple shapes to make complex drawings. I like this one from Stephanie, and her demands that I include it in my next book... and send her a free copy.


And this one from Kylee is pretty cool too. (Nice to see she liked my ice-cream-cone dragon tutorial)


Looking forward to more visits in 2014-15!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's a cat eat dog world

"So I'm afraid one of you will have to be let go."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cat shopping


Haven't put up one of my cat cartoons in a while, so here's one.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wow!

I was at the Durham Silver Birch celebration this week. One of the amazing readers came up and showed me his Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure book report, which was A LUNCH BAG!

So perfect.

Seeing someone do something so clever with my books is very moving and something to be celebrated.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Neil Flambé covers!


Simon and Schuster is releasing the first four books in the Neil Flambé series as paperbacks.

The amazing Laurent Linn worked on them like crazy and got me to redesign the pics of Neil to match the more adventurous, Julia Child meets James Bond feel of the new book covers.

I love them and my inner 12-year-old boy loves them too.

If you click on the SandS link above you'll also notice that it's possible to pre-order the fifth Neil Flambé book as well! Hint... Shakespeare.

And there will be more exciting news to come... stay tuned and (hint, hint) look to the stars for inspiration.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Q essay from Feb 21

Wow.

That's about all I can say.

Wow.

These 22nd Winter Olympic Games are drawing to a close and what a finish for Canada.

Perhaps the most exciting hockey game ever played on Olympic Ice.

You can't tell - because this is radio - but I'm wearing my daughter's autographed Hayley Wickenheiser jersey today in honour of the hockey gold medal. I watched Wickenheiser play since the Canada Winter Games way back when... but what she showed yesterday in that almost-breakaway in overtime. The play that led to the US taking their fatal penalty?

Wow. What a tournament.

Now, I know there's a hockey game today. Canada and the US - catch it live here on CBC Radio.

I will be listening, but to be honest, the experience will be tinged with a bit of sadness.... win or lose for Canada.

Because, well... I wish they weren't in Sochi. The NHLers.

I spent a long time as a sportscaster here at the CBC. I watched Canadian athletes bust their rear ends to make it to the Olympics. The one time every four years when THEY got to shine in the spotlight. The one time that Canadian sports fans gave them their full attention.

But then the NHL joined up... and all the attention they get the other 3 years, 11 months and two weeks of the year also took over the Olympics.

Don't believe me?

I remember 2006, when every sports reporter ran to cover the arrival, the arrival, of the men's hockey team - leaving the silver medal from Beckie Scott and Sara Renner in the shadows.

Jian will be speaking with Kaillie Humpries in a minute. She just defended her gold medal on bobsleigh - an achievement that merited a ten-second cutaway from the men's QUARTER-FINAL hockey game against Latvia. 

And did it bother anyone else that our own Ron Maclean and Peter Mansbridge seemed to relate every country and every other winter sport to men's hockey during the Opening Ceremonies?

Patrick Chan got into a lot of hot water a while back when he said he would be better supported if he skated for China. He wasn't wrong. 

Look, I know millions will be watching today. As I said, I will be one of them. But I'd also be watching if this were the modern day equivalent of the Penticton Vees or the Trail Smoke-eaters.

There's word this may be that the last Olympics ever for the NHL crew.

Perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cat Burglar


Also , now we know why the Meowna Lisa is smiling....

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Splinters fan fiction!

The mail continues to bring amazing "life as an author" bonuses!

Eva Mai is such a big fan of my book Splinters that she and her father William cooked up a new story and even made their own bedtime hardcover. WITH ILLUSTRATIONS!

They sent me a copy, all the way from Massachusetts!




Here's Cindy and her fairy goaltender.


Cindy looking at the Blister Sisters as they cheer on their father, the revolting referee of the title.


And a whole rink full of Cindys!


Very cool, and I am very touched that they liked the book so much. They even want a sequel... hmmmmmm.

Of course, I can't wait to see Eva Mai accepting her Caldecott Award in a couple of years.