Thursday, June 23, 2016
I signed up for the free online course Exploring Animation offered by the Open University. Here's exercise one, the famous bouncing ball flipbook exercise to learn about arcs and squash and stretch. Mine was done in photoshop with the AnimDessin plugin and a Wacom tablet. Bending over a drawing hurts my neck after 20 years of making art, so sitting up at the computer screen lets me have better posture while drawing.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
I'm so incredibly pleased to have completed my MA in Children's Literature at UBC. The program was a life-changer for me and I found in it a world of new ideas, inspiring professors and colleagues, and friendships with people who shared my interest in picturebook apps. My ambitious thesis was a creative-theoretical hybrid, a new category which was introduced in the nick of time, as far as my thesis was concerned. Dr. Eric Meyers championed my creation of a functional iOS app in a program that until that time only allowed written theses. I'll always be grateful to him for suggesting and arguing for a human-computer interaction model of a design-based study. So my thesis was also the first of hopefully many more such theses in the Children's Literature MA program at UBC.
My MA took the full 5 years. During that time I also illustrated Mister Got to Go, Where Are You? by Lois Simmie (Red Deer, 2014), founded Rascal Media, and started making animated children's book trailers. I also spoke at three conferences, including at Confia in Portugal.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Finally completed and sent in the beta of my thesis story app, "The King's Ears", to the Canada Media Fund Experimental Stream. Fingers crossed that it passes inspection and qualifies for the 2nd phase of funding. The app is the creative portion of my hybrid creative/theoretical thesis for the MA program in children's literature at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I'm applying ideas formulated by picturebook scholars (especially Maria Nikolajeva, Perry Nodelman, Lawrence Sipe, and Schwarz) to the creation of the additional modes afforded by the iPad. It is incredibly inspiring to be working with Katarina Jovanovic's story, Philippe Béhà's art and the amazing voice of Terry Jones. And I'm so fortunate to be working with such a creative and diligent team: designer, illustrator, and animator Elisa Gutiérrez, and programmers Judy Choi and Trevor Robinson.
Friday, January 9, 2015
I've animated a trailer for a funny chapter book called The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and artist Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, 2015). It's about two very serious mouse detectives.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Thank you to Caroline Adderson and Groundwood Books for hiring Rascal Media, my children's media company, to make a trailer for Caroline's wonderful, funny middle-grade novel. It was a joy to read and then interpret with animation.
Friday, August 1, 2014
Thank you to Mark Medley of the National Post for his thoughtful and generous video review of Mister Got to Go Where Are you? (2nd in the video). And congratulations to my friends at Tradewind for a great review of Pierre Pratt and Kari Lynn Winters's No Matter What Friends.
Monday, June 23, 2014
It was a beautiful first day of summer on English Bay. The launch was a big success thanks to Susan McGuigan of Kidsbooks who organized everything, including making the poster and handling the book sales, and the Sylvia Hotel who hosted the event. The hotel put us in the bistro with a gorgeous view of the beach and people enjoying themselves on the patio.
They served coffee and tea and the chef made fantastic iced cat cookies.
For the kids, we had an activity table with crayons, pencil crayons and scissors. I made a colouring page of the endpaper map with a second page of cutouts with folding tabs to stand up the buildings, boats and characters to create a 3D effect. If you weren't able to come to the launch you can download these here. For the map, you can print out the right and left sides of the map and gluestick them together, or print out the 11x17 size if your printer allows.
There was a long table of art for sale, and displays of sketchbooks and reference materials. Art sales were very satisfactory.
The queue for signed books was so long, I didn't stop signing for 2 solid hours. It was very moving to discover what love people still have for this picturebook series.
I gave a very brief talk, remarking that this is my favourite of Lois Simmie's three manuscripts, and how thrilled I was that the story not only featured Vancouver's beauty spots but included the downtown east side and the kindness of one homeless man towards the cat. I also spoke a bit about new techniques in children's book illustration and explained how two of the book's illustrations only exist digitally, holding up the original watercolour of the Granville street neon lights and telling how the neon effect was achieved by turning the art into its colour negative in photoshop. You can see my blog post on how that was done here.
I didn't manage to take any pictures but I hope people who attended may send me a few. Here's one of me at the end of a wonderful afternoon, all packed up and heading out for a celebratory ice cream.