Registration Open for my Comics Course at the Visual Arts Centre!

I am excited to announce that this Spring, beginning April 26, I will be teaching an 8-week course titled “Comic Book Illustration/Illustration de Bande-Dessinée” at the Visual Arts Centre in Westmount. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 7 to 10,  and will be taught in both French and English. The cost is $230 + materials. Here is the short course description that can be found in the VAC Spring/Summer 2018 program:

Bringing together images and words, comics are an exciting and accessible means of storytelling and self-expression. Learn basic illustration skills (including expressive figure drawing), inking, layout, character design, and story development, which will then be brought together in the creation of your own short graphic book. The development of a unique style and voice will be encouraged. No previous experience in writing or drawing required.

Registration for courses at VAC open today! For more details and/or to download their full Spring/Summer program, go to https://www.visualartscentre.ca/

 

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Massacre at Saint-Joachim

Throughout their siege of Quebec City in the summer of 1759, the British went about systematically raiding and destroying the French settlements both upriver and downriver from the capital of New France. During one such raid on the village of Saint-Joachim on August 23, a detachment of British light infantry, American Rangers and Scottish Highlanders clashed with a group of French-Canadian habitants led by their parish priest, the 52-year-old Abbé Philippe-René Robinau de Portneuf. There are contradictory reports as to what happened next, but it appears that a group of habitants, including Abbé Portneuf, were captured by the British and then murdered and scalped. The number of victims is unclear, but a monument in Saint-Joachim commemorates seven dead, in addition to Portneuf. The monument also provides the ages of four of them: 48, 61, 64 and 69 years. Presumably their younger neighbours had been posted to the defense of the city of Quebec.

This imagining of the events of August 23 are extracted from my ongoing graphic novel project recounting the siege of Quebec City and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Throughout the graphic novel, all the characters from a particular nation are depicted in a combination of a neutral grey tone and one characteristic colour -blue for the French, red for the English, purple for the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and so on.

 

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My “Annabel Lee” comic a teaching tool in India!

I recently received my complimentary copy of the “Active Teach Lighthouse Grade 5 Coursebook” a school textbook for English second language learners in India, published by Pearson India Education Services in Chennai.  The textbook includes my 6-page comics adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee,” paired with a number of questions and assignments designed to verify and deepen the students’ understanding of the poem. Several of the questions refer back to my illustrations (ex. What can you see in the waves in the last panel of the comic? Why do you think the illustrator put that there? What are some of the lines that show the bond between the speaker of the poem and Annabel Lee? What are some ways the illustrator shows this same bond?). At  the end students are also asked to create their own three-panel comic strip imagining the speaker in the poem speaking to Annabel Lee on her deathbed. This feature in “Lighthouse” seems to me a great example of how comics poetry could be effectively integrated into language learning and literature classes everywhere.

 

Posted in Annabel Lee, comic book poetry | 10 Comments

Little Red Riding Hood

In honour of Valentine’s Day, an unintentionally sexually suggestive illustration of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. In setting out to depict this scene for a homework exercise in a watercolour class I’m taking, I purposefully set out to avoid the undercurrent of sexual tension with which this scene is often presented, and which by now has become more than a little bit of a cliche. Clearly, however, my subconscious was having nothing of it, and it dawned on me towards the completion of the image that I had only succeeded in switching the sexual metaphors, with Little Red Riding Hood in the role of a timid male erection confronting the wolf’s menacing vagina dentata. Once I realized this I of course went about heightening the effect somewhat (but not much, as it was almost all already there). Now I’m thinking I must return to this subject and explore consciously what after all seems to me like a promising approach to this over-illustrated scene.

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The Rowboat at the End of the Earth

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Anuvad 2018 Comics Workshops in Silchar, India

Last month, at the invitation of Dr. Arjun Chaudhuri and the Northeast India Company, I animated a series of three comics creation workshops as a part of the Anuvad Festival for the Arts and Humanities in Silchar, Assam, India. It was a great experience working with such an eager, talented, and promising group of young people, many of whom were approaching comics for the first time, but who expressed an interest in exploring the art form further. I hope I get to see some of the comics they go on to create in the future.

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Primeval Landscape

“O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what god, after better, worse would build? […]”
-Satan, upon stealing into Eden
John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 9.99-102

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