Thursday, February 25, 2010

NHL Hockey Action in March's NetTrekkers Comic

NetTrekkers - Original inked comic art featuring NHL Hockey action
NetTrekkers - Original inked comic art featuring NHL Hockey action

Above is a snapshot (or should I say "slapshot?") of the original comic artwork for next month's NetTrekkers comic. In this episode, the kids take part in an NHL hockey game ... Actually, it's a Stanley Cup playoff match featuring the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Vancouver Canucks!

For those who enjoy the comic creation process, I do my rough pencil work and inking on sheets of Strathmore Smooth Bristol board (300 Series). Each page measures 11"x14," although the comic is sized to be printed on regular letter-sized paper.

The following is a scan of page 2's original rough pencil layout. Normally, I leave a tiny margin around the entire page, but you may notice that I've drawn the Stanley Cup right to the edge. This was done intentionally so that I could crop the image and allow it to "bleed" (i.e., be printed right to the edge of the paper).

NetTrekkers - Original rough pencil sketch comic art featuring NHL Hockey action
NetTrekkers - Rough pencilled comic page layout.

Personally, I'm not a huge hockey fan, but this particular episode was really fun to draw because it had several action sequences. I know, I know ... How can I be a proud Canadian and not enjoy hockey?!

Well, I don't mind watching it when a championship is on the line. Speaking of which, Go Team Canada!! for tonight's Women's Olympic Gold Medal!!

NetTrekkers - Full Colour Comic Page - CLICK TO ENLARGE!
NetTrekkers - Full colour comic page.

The full colour final art for this comic will be published in the March 2010 issue of The Canadian Reader from LesPlan Education Services Ltd.

NetTrekkers - Full colour comic pages featuring NHL Hockey action
NetTrekkers - Full colour comic pages featuring NHL Hockey action.

Attention all Canadian elementary school teachers ...

Classroom sets of NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook - Book #1 are now available for ordering from LesPlan Educational Services Ltd.

Now you can help inspire and develop student literacy using a fun and exciting comic book that's all about Canada!

Click here to download a brochure (PDF format).


Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cartoonist Survey #74 - Mike Cope

Mike Cope - COPETOONS.COM

David Paccia recently invited me to participate in his popular Cartoonist Survey on his David-Wasting-Paper blog. David has surveyed a very impressive list of cartoonists, and so, I was quite honoured when he considered me worthy of being added.

Here's a little preview of my answers to his cartooning-related inquiries ...

What is your favorite pen to use?
Speedball Hunt Globe Bowl #513EF nib in a Koh-I-Noor Corkgrip #127N pen holder.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Standard 2H ... I like the crunching sound they make when I sharpen them. Reminds me of elementary school.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
I loved reading the funnies as a kid. Through elementary and high school, I used to read my mother’s Peanuts Treasury (2nd print) every night before bed. Eventually, I started reading comic books, but I’d always finish with a few pages from that Peanuts book. In fact, I still crack it open when I need to let my mind unwind before falling to sleep ... It’s funny how doing something you enjoyed as a kid can make you relax.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Yes, Art Fundamentals and Classical Animation at Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario ... Some of the best and most stressful years of my life. Art Fundies was a one-year certificate, which I barely earned because I'd never studied Art in high school. As a result, I didn't get accepted into the school's popular Classical Animation program due to a "low ranked portfolio" ... I still have the rejection letter, and the vivid memories of the feelings I had when I read it. I ended up studying Multimedia at McMaster University for the next 4 years, and then re-applied to Sheridan on a whim. To my joy and surprise, they awarded me a merit-based scholarship along with my acceptance letter. Thus began two more of the most stressful years of my life ... The funny thing about art school, at least for me, is that I loved cartooning, but my analytical brain had no way of comprehending the "art" stuff that I was being taught. It just didn't click, and I felt REALLY dumb. Even now, I'm still having "Ah-ha!" moments, when things that I was taught years ago FINALLY make sense. I'm just thankful that I never gave up on cartooning.


You can read all of my answers to David Paccia's questions in Cartoonist Survey #74.

Thanks again for inviting me to participate, David!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cartoonist in the Classroom ... and Lunchroom!

Comic Evolution - Cartoonist in the Classroom Presentation by Mike Cope
Screenshot: Comic Evolution - Cartoonist in the Classroom PowerPoint by Mike Cope

This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting Centennial Secondary School in Welland, Ontario, to do some cartooning lessons and discuss the comic creation process with Ms. Douglas's Grade 10 English class. This visit was part of a "Cartoonist in the Classroom" workshop series I'm currently running for the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), whose wonderful Literacy Consultant, Cheryl Caldwell, is an advocate for the study of "graphic texts" in the classroom.

Other recent visits have included a welcoming roomful of over 40 Grade 9 students at Ridgeway Crystal Beach High School, and a gymnasium electrified by over 70 Grade 5 to 8 students at Parliament Oak Public School in Niagara on the Lake. As you can see in the following photo, these workshops have some very sweet rewards ...

Chocolate CD - Welland Centennial Secondary School (DSBN)
A sweet chocolate "Thank You" CD from Welland Centennial Secondary School, District School Board of Niagara (DSBN).

After the workshop, I met up with Welland's amazingly talented syndicated cartoonist, Sandra Bell-Lundy, creator of the popular newspaper comic strip Between Friends (distributed by King Features Syndicate). Most days, I only get to chat electronically with fellow cartoonists, so it was a real treat to enjoy lunch with a friendly colleague who speaks a similar cartoon dialect.

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
A snippet from Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy (used with permission).

Actually, for me, it was more of an honour than a treat, for Sandra's cartooning is at a level that I only hope to aspire to. Not only is her comic strip distributed by one of the world's top syndicates, but Between Friends has also gained national recognition from a series of animated cartoons created for the Canadian Cancer Society. You can find these moving comic strips on the official Thingamaboob website … Funny name, serious message!

And so, I was extremely humbled (and delighted!) when Sandra recently offered to write me a letter of recommendation for membership in the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) -- the professional organization whose members list includes so many cartoonists whose work I admire and strive to learn from.

Sandra has posted her own post-game review of our lunch meeting, but I must stress (once again) that the honour was all mine.

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy (Jan. 24, 2010). Used with permission.

Thanks again, Sandra … Steak sandwiches and fries sound good to me anytime!!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Thursday, February 11, 2010

March Break 2010 @ Hamilton Public Library - Cartooning for Kids with Mike Cope!

March Break 2010 @ Hamilton Public Library

Calling all cartooning kids! I'll be at the Concession Branch of the Hamilton Public Library this March Break 2010 for a cartooning session you won't want to miss! If you like to draw cartoon characters and/or would like to learn more about it, tell your parents to sign you up ASAP because these sessions fill up fast!

Parents & Guardians, don't miss out on this opportunity for your child to have fun cartooning with other kids their age, while you enjoy an hour of "March Break Peace & Quiet"!

Here are the details:

Cartooning with Mike Cope

Learn how to cartoon with famous artist Mike Cope. All supplies included. Ages 7-12. Registration begins March 2. Two timeslots available. Wednesday, March 17, 1:30 or 2:45 p.m.

Concession Branch (905) 546-3415

Details are also available in the Hamilton Public Library's March Break 2010 brochure. Click the following graphic to download a copy in PDF format ...

March Break 2010 @ Hamilton Public Library - PDF Brochure

You won't believe how much I had to pay Concession Library's kind staff to write that more than kind caption :)

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

NetTrekkers - Comic Art Portfolio Update

Just completed a minor update to My Selected Portfolio. I've added some NetTrekkers comic page samples from our current publication year in The Canadian Reader (Published by LesPlan).

Included in this update are NetTrekkers in Orbit and NetTrekkers in Traveling the Ice Road ...

Attention all Canadian elementary school teachers ...

Classroom sets of NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook - Book #1 are now available for ordering from LesPlan Educational Services Ltd.

Now you can help inspire and develop student literacy using a fun and exciting comic book that's all about Canada!

Click here to download a brochure (PDF format).


Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope