Monday, September 27, 2010

1st NCS Canada Cartooning Symposium Wrap-Up

The first ever NCS Canada Cartooning Symposium took place yesterday (Sunday September 26, 2010) at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON. Here are few photos (courtesy of ace photog, Simon Peng) of the proceedings for those who missed it. Hopefully we'll see you next time!


Above: That's me - Leif Peng - the host of the event, dealing with some technical issues as we start the day. Below, a few members of our dedicated audience, who trekked out to be there in time for the start - 9:30 on a Sunday morning - wow! Gathered together in the back row (like the bad kids at the back row of the class) our other four presenters: Paul Gilligan, Mike Cope, John Martz and Sandra Bell-Lundy. I was waiting for the cat-calls, but they decided to behave.


Here's me again, talking about what its like to draw cartoon characters for advertising clients. I figured I'd go first to warm things up and give the other guys a chance to bolt if the audience started throwing rotten tomatoes, but everyone was graciously attentive, thank goodness!


Paul Gilligan did the second presentation, taking us through his early career drawing illustrations for advertising and editorial clients, his foray into stock illustration, and the evolution of his Pooch Café syndicated strip. It was fascinating stuff, and because Paul's got such a great sense of humour, we had lots of good chuckles from the examples he showed us on screen and from his witty banter.


Next up was Mike Cope, seen here describing how he employs sequential art storytelling to make his NetTrekkers strip so visually effective. Mike had the most professional presentation and made the rest of us envious of his technical prowess. He even showed us a great little movie of him inking a cartoon. Mike also described what its like to do gag panel cartoons for clients like Reader's Digest - really interesting behind the scenes stuff which we all very much enjoyed.


After we got back from a quick lunch break, it was great to see not just that many of our morning audience members had returned, but that new arrivals had joined the group in time for Sandra Bell-Lundy's presentation. Sandra showed us examples of some of her earliest "Between Friends" drawings, shared some correspondences with and anecdotes about legendary (and greatly missed) King Features Syndicate editor Jay Kennedy, and brought us up to date on how her strip went from being self-syndicated in four local papers to appearing in 150 papers in 19 countries. Again, a fascinating, entertaining and informative discussion; all the more so when Sandra elaborated on the state of women cartoonists then and now and how she's explored difficult social issues like spousal abuse in her strip.


Our last presenter was John Martz, who really brought something new to the table. John's had a varied career as a graphic designer for some pretty high profile television stations, as the creator of Drawn! and as an indy comics creator and has a ton of experience outside the typical cartoonist's realm of pencil, paper and ink. He's done all sorts of web design and animation and described how his style and his materials have evolved over time so that he now works from first rough to finished piece on a Wacom Cintiq, yet manages to get a gorgeous hand-made feel to everything he produces - and John produces a LOT, as we saw! Like all the others, John's hour-long presentation seemed to go by in mere minutes and garnered many questions from a very engaged audience.


Despite five hours of talking, many of those attending stuck around all day - and even stayed afterwards to get some personal time with the various creators. Here's Paul Gilligan chatting with two members of our audience late in the day.


The event was, in my opinion, an overwhelming success - especially for our first ever kick at the can, with everything being planned in the space of just over a week and on a shoe-string budget. Many thanks to everyone who helped make it happen, but most especially to Mohawk College and dean Jo-Anne Westerby, who generously provided the venue and technical assistance that made the whole thing a reality. Without her and the college's support, we couldn't possibly have done this in such a professional manner.

I'm hoping to bring more events like this to Mohawk College - so if you missed this one and would like to get advance notice next time, please email me at

And please feel free to leave comments and questions here on the blog!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunday Workshops update!

We've nailed down some more details for Sunday's day of workshops/lectures at Mohawk College's Fennell Avenue campus: The event will take place in the i-wing, rooms i131, the Rotunda and i109. There will be sandwich board signs placed outside with day-glo orange arrows on them pointing the way from the west parking lot to the entrance to i-wing. Once you're inside, its pretty much a straight line from the door to the Rotunda. Parking is free. Attendance is free, so don't be shy; c'mon down!

Here's our tentative schedule for Sunday:

9:30 - Leif Peng (that's me!) advertising cartoonist...


"I'll be showing a variety of cartoon mascot assignments and other illustration jobs I've done over the years and telling some interesting, sometimes oddball, often amusing stories about what creating cartoon characters for advertising clients can be like. I'll also show a step-by-step demo of how I create my illustrations with a digital tablet and stylus (that's right, there are no 'real' pens, paper or paint involved in making my cartoons)."

10:30 - Paul Gilligan, creator of "Pooch Café"...

"I’ll give a short run-up to how I got to where I was when I began doing the comic strip, and then I’ll focus on that: how I got a strip syndicated, how I do the strip, a bit about the business, I’ll focus on that more than the illustration biz since there are others who are more currently entrenched in that than I am. I might talk a bit about the movie process and I’ll talk a bit about animated show pitches as well."

11:30 - Mike Cope - Animator & gag cartoonist for Reader's Digest and many others...

"I've had 12+ years of experience facilitating cartooning workshops and animation courses for kids of all ages, so I'll share some of the insights I've gained and lesson ideas that I've implemented at area schools, libraries, and recreation centres. I’ll also bring copies of the new “NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #2” (published by LesPlan Educational Services Ltd.) that I illustrated, through which students explore Canada via exciting comic adventures."

12:30 - One hour lunch break - the doors will be closed while we grab a bite!

1:30 - Sandra Bell-Lundy, creator of "Between Friends"...

"Where do you get your ideas?" is a question commonly heard by comic strip cartoonists. I'll present a light-hearted Power Point Presentation full of selected Between Friends cartoons and give the inside scoop that provoked the strip idea. I'll share influences, anecdotes and will also address how reader reaction has sometimes affected the direction of some of my more serious story arcs involving such topics as infertility and domestic abuse. I'll also include time for a Q & A."

2:30 - John Martz, award-winning indy comics cartoonist, ChickaDEE artist, founder of "Drawn!"...

"I plan on showing a slideshow of images and videos that demonstrate my workflow and how I take an illustration from brief to finished product using digital tools."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

NCS Canada Workshop at Mohawk College!

Hello and welcome to the blog! We're excited to announce that 5 of our members will be holding a day of lectures, workshops and Q&A sessions on Sunday September 26th, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario.

Ever think, "I like to doodle, draw, cartoon... I wonder how you make a living at that?" Well these five artists will tell you how they did it!

NCSWorkshop Announce

Members will take turns discussing their career paths, their working methods, and the state of the industry for professional cartoonists working in a variety of specialties including newspaper syndication, animation, advertising, book and editorial markets.

Here's who you'll meet:

Sandra Bell-Lundy: Is the creator of the cartoon strip, "Between Friends". Sandra's comic celebrates the essence and angst of three forty-something women friends and is distributed by King Features Syndicate to over 150 newspapers in 13 countries.

Mike Cope: Draws gag cartoons published by Reader’s Digest. Mike specializes in cartoon illustrations for educational publications, and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Paul Gilligan: Began in advertising and freelanced for many years as an illustrator for editorial, children’s books, comics, storyboarding, character design, etc. In 2000 he began his syndicated comic strip “Pooch Café”, which is in production for a feature at Sony Animation.

John Martz: Is an illustrator and cartoonist living in Ottawa, Ontario. His work can be seen regularly in chickaDEE Magazine. He is currently finishing his first illustrated picture book for Kids Can Press. John began his career as a member of the print and broadcast design department of all of CHUM's stations, including MuchMusic and Space, then developed “Drawn!” a major internationally renowned illustration and cartooning portal visited daily by thousands of graphic arts professionals and students from
around the world. (Drawn! is currently undergoing a shiny new facelift)

Leif Peng: Has been drawing cartoon mascots for major international corporate clients for more than twenty years including the Nestlés Turtle (chocolates), the Quik Bunny and “Pud”, star of the tiny comic strips wrapped around those little pink bricks of DubbleBubble bubblegum. Other clients include MacLean’s magazine, Nintendo (SuperMario, Pokémon, DonkeyKong), and Oxford University Press. He is an instructor and coordinator in Mohawk’s Graphic Design program.

LPCA character sheet

The proceedings will commence at 9:30 am and continue at 45 minute intervals with 15 minute breaks between presentations (Q&A time). A one hour lunch break would take place at 12:30, the workshop would reconvene at 1:30 and continue until 4:30.

Mohawk College map

* More details to come - so drop by often... and please leave comments and questions! :^)