John Read, comics lover extraordinaire and publisher of Stay Tooned Magazine has curated a very unique exhibit of 135 pieces original comic strip art. The strips in the exhibition all appeared in newspapers on Sunday, April 11, 2010.
And yes...I'm very pleased to say Between Friends is part of this exhibit too.
John's traveling exhibit opens next week in Northpark Mall in Ridgeland, Mississippi next Friday and runs through August; next it goes to Disney Toonfest in Marceline, Missouri for the weekend of their festival, September 16 - 18; in October it'll be in Omaha, Nebraska for week's engagement at the Bemis Center.
John is talking with other venues interested in the exhibit and may even make it up here to Canada in 2011. I'm really hoping it does.
If it comes to an area near you, make sure you visit...with 135 Sunday comics you're going to see an amazing array of different styles up close and personal. The Daily Cartoonist has a complete list of contributors here.
Some days I think my cartoons suck. I wonder how I managed to get my strip published. I am plagued by doubts and insecurities. When will everyone find out I can't do this?
Some days I think I'm a horrible mother. I know I'm a lousy housekeeper. I berate myself for not spending more time on decorating my home...or keeping up my garden...or seeing my friends often enough...or taking my mom out to lunch.
I lean on the ease of take-out for dinner too often. I don't exercise enough. I procrastinate over doing things that are new to me and take extra "thinking".
...my cartoons don't suck though. They appeal to some people and not to others. They appeal to me. They appear in over 150 newspapers around the world...for over 16 years. I achieved a goal that is difficult to achieve and I have a career that surpasses any career dream I've ever had. I'm proud of that and it gives me confidence.
Tim and I have two terrific kids. I really don't think we could ask for better. As a mother, I must have done something right. The house...some days it's good, some days it's bad...I don't think I'm really that different from any other woman with a family and a career.
My garden is getting there. The raspberry bushes died before I got them planted but I can always get more shoots from my parents' garden. I go out for dinner with friends every second month. It's all they can manage at this busy stage of life too. Also. Right now, I guess being stretched in too many directions is one of the ties that bind.
Mom...how does Greek food sound?
My family likes the way I make stew in my crock pot. When my son was younger and had friends sleep over, they all said I made the best French Toast in the neighbourhood. One mom even called me for my recipe but her son said it just didn't taste the same as mine. She told me the difference must be the love. My dad likes the way I prepare green beans. My nephew says my mashed potatoes are the best. My husband likes my broccoli and beef. See? I DO cook...
I really DON'T exercise enough. But I'm walking Newman more often. I keep trying. There was a sign on the club house wall of the golf course I worked at in high school...it said, "Success is not in never failing, it's in rising every time you fall." I keep trying.
The new things...isn't everything new these days? I took a college course in HTML. I'm reseaching a historical story for a graphic novel. I've actually been working at it for the past few years. In spurts...when I can...but I AM. I wrote about domestic violence in my strip...I was very nervous about doing this, it was such a departure from my regular strip writing and it took research...but feedback told me I did a good job. And I've learned how to text. (don't laugh...I avoided it for ages...now it's the main way I communicate with my kids)
I've created new revenue streams from my cartoons. Periodically, I'm hired to speak. I've started this blog.
The new me and the old me are really the same person. It's just that I see things in different ways on different days...and I'm pretty sure I'm not that different from everyone else.
Thanks to everyone who voted for THE BENDS earlier in the week! THEY ARE NOW IN SECOND PLACE! (The Bends are a grade ten high school band who just got together last year. My very good friends' son plays the keyboard. They are in an online voting contest and the winner gets to play at the Niagara *Grape and Wine Festival in September.)
If you have a moment, could you please vote for them again? It's just a quick click by going right here.
Here's another song by THE BENDS...this time an original song: Houses on Fire.
What a great title for a blog, eh? Doesn't it pique your interest and reek of feminine commiseration?
Well, it IS a new blog by my friend, Anne Hambrock. Anne is comic strip colorist (I'd spell it colourist but she's American), Harpist, Harp Instructor, Jigsaw Puzzle Cutter, Glass Blower, Writer, School Board Member, PR Manager and...well...I'm sure you're getting the idea of where the title for her blog came from.
Go and visit her at Overbooked and Underpaid. Tell her I sent you. And tell her to give you a piece of cake...she's also a Chocolatier.
Here's a little look at some ideas that DIDN'T make it into a strip...
(In case you can't decipher my writing...here's the translation for the above:)
"Disposable income is what you have to spend, not what (you) have to spend."
"How do I spend my disposable income? I flush it."
"Remind me. Remind me. Remind me. Okay. If you'll remind me."
"What a day. I need a little power nap before (I make) dinner. Wake me in 6 hours."
"Wake me up when it's time to go to bed."
*These are just the nucleus of strip ideas...they're not fully formed gags. They're a beginning point if I think I can turn them into something. Cartoons need the idea and the art to make their point...and the art is essential to presenting the idea. This is why I doodle in my brainstorming book...to remind me of the particular nuance I'm going for with the written idea.
...except this video comes with a request.
My friends' son is in a band called The Bends. They're in an online voting contest to get a gig playing at the Niagara Grape & Wine festival in September. I heard them play a few weeks ago and they were just awesome...very charismatic and a lot of fun to watch on stage. If you don't mind, take a quick second and vote for them by going to this link. They're in grade ten and only started playing together last year. (and you can vote everyday if you like!) (My friend's son is on the keyboard and is also a good buddy of my son, Devin. Luke gets a little solo at about 2.22...GO, LUKE!)
"...we're not women cartoonists, we're cartoonists first - but I think there's a side to what we do as women that brings a new perspective to the world."
- Liza Donnelly
2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day and the 20th anniversary of W.A.R.M. (women's addiction recovery mediation) On February 27, 2011, WARM will be holding their International Women's Day fundraiser and I'm pleased to be the keynote speaker for this event.
I'll be speaking about women in comic strip syndication (we account for less than 10% of syndicated cartoonists in North America), and I'll be showing a selection of strips through Power Point. I give the inside story behind these strips...influences, reader reaction and anecdotes. The majority of the strips are humour-based but I also touch lightly on some of the serious story arcs.
It's going to be a very visual, very fun afternoon! If you live in my neck of the woods (Niagara region, southern Ontario), mark you calendars and come out and say hello.
(And yes, I know this is kind of an advance notice but it's never to early to shop for something to wear, right?)
W.A.R.M. is a non-profit, charitable, support and referral service for women who are either chemically dependent, or who are dealing with issues related to the addiction of a family member. We provide services to individuals 16 years of age and older. Our desire is to improve the quality of women's lives with counseling, education and support leading to social & behavioural changes, providing restoration to the individual's family system as well as the community.
This vine is called Dutchmans Pipe. It took quite a few years for it to catch on. It had finally started to grow when we got Newman and he chewed the vine at its base. I thought the vine was gone but after Newman puppified it, it sprang back with a fervor. Now I cut it back very hard every spring...and it grows like crazy. In fact, I've had to trim it three times already this year.
A few bugs eating my potted plant...one of them is now squashed...the other buzzed off. See the little frog on the swing? He's a little faded and his swing string busted and had to be knotted...but I think he's still cute. I wrote about him a few seasons back.
Monsieur Newman with one of his tennis balls.
I don't really recall, but I think the ivy growing on my deck is Boston Ivy. That's a Gold Mound Spirea in the middle and Mugho Pines on either side.
This photo was taken from my deck. I can't remember the name of the perennial on the right side of Newman. Those little buds between the leaves break out in deep purple flowers every morning...I guess it must be related to the day lily family but that wasn't the name of it. They're very robust in the spring and early summer but get wilty and lacklustre as the heat of July comes. Above that is a purpleleaf sandcherry. I thought I lost that a few times too as Newman kept chewing it up every year. I tried to protect it from him but gave up. Newman is no longer interested in tearing up my garden and this year it seems to be catching on. A few hostas beyond that. This garden needs more work...which is why you're only seeing a very cropped view. :) (the leaves on the left are from my Skyscraper Locust tree)
My Tuesdays are like Mondays. That's because my Mondays are like Fridays...and my weekends are like the work week. Everything sort of blends in together in comic strip creator land. Does that sound kind of convoluted? Such is my life.
Anyway, today I shook up my schedule a little. Not by choice, but by necessity. I was supposed to get groceries last night. I didn't. The cupboards are bare. I still have coffee though so I figured the grocery excursion could wait one more day.
My daughter is taking the summer gym course for high school. That means I have to pack her a lunch. Hard to do when the cupboards are bare. Not so bare, mind you, that my husband can't find something to pack...but bare enough that my daughter couldn't find anything...to...suit her.
She suggested she buy herself a sandwich at Tim Hortons to take in her lunch. (She's a working gal now...I'm paying her to photoshop my dailies and it's going wunderbar) I'm cool with that. So I got up at about 6:45 as per usual and showered and dressed right away...as not per usual. Then I thought...heck, I'm up and dressed, why don't we have breakfast at Tim Hortons while we're picking up her sandwich on the way to school?
So we did. (And yes, I treated for breakfast...and YES, I ended up buying the sandwich)
And you know what struck me? THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD JUST A-HAPPENING OUT THERE AT 7:30 IN THE MORNING. There's a whole vibe going on. People are DRESSED and driving places, and meeting up with friends, and hanging out and riding bikes and...and...they're just OUT THERE.
I know what you're thinking...but cut me some slack, will you? It's not like I don't DO STUFF in the morning, it's just that being a syndicated cartoonist, I do my stuff at home...alone...(Newman doesn't count...neither does Facebook for that matter) and I kind of forget what the being-with-civilization ambiance feels like. I bet you don't even notice that ambiance when you're OUT THERE...at least those of you who don't work at home for a living.
After I dropped Tara off at school, I came home and took Newman down to the canal for a walk. I mean...I was dressed and all so why not?
Who knew getting showered and dressed at 6:45 am could have such an impact? I may even try it again someday. I wouldn't want to make a habit of it or anything...too much of a good thing and all that. Plus, I enjoy the solitude of my mornings...reading the paper and having a coffee in peace after everyone has shuffled off to wherever they have to go. Going about my business as I see fit. It suits me.
Still...mixing with the other Homo sapiens in the early AM is a nice little adrenalin shot...and it provides a little balance when you are used to working at home alone.
...and having someone else make the coffee ain't too shabby either.
Dust, vacuum, clean toilets, wash windows, make dinner...need I go on?
It's from an upcoming series in Between Friends that is really quite different from what I usually do in the strip. In fact, it's so different I'm not sure it's going to go over.
I decided to go ahead with it for two reasons:
1. It was fun to do.
2. I've been doing Between Friends for 16+ years now and I figure the strip is established enough to stretch a few boundaries.
I think the best strips are the strips you write for yourself rather than what you think people want to read. (Hmm...I guess that's three reasons.) The series starts July 26.