Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Random Doodlings

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cartooning by Immersion
My annual week of Cartooning Camp for Teens at Neilson Park was another success. A very quiet class this year - only two boys, but by the end of the week they were making up for lost time. One boy demonstrated his dubious talent of being able to stuff his ear into his ear-hole. We were shocked and awed. That of course led to a girl who could fold her eyelids back, the other boy making farting noises with his armpit and everyone falling from their chairs from laughing so hard. And the cartoons were pretty good too. When asked to draw a family pet, one girl drew a jar. No knock-out drawing talent, but some dynamite story-tellers and lots of sly humour. My kinda kids! And the drawing always gets better with practice. The above is my version of the ugliest man you can think of. The kids did a much better job on theirs of course.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Well - it was only a week and it wasn't really 'away' since I came home at the end of each day. But it felt further. Humber College offers writing workshops every summer & finally there was a time convenient for me to take one. So I spent a week learning the craft of writing for young readers. It was a humbling experience but it was time to find out if I have the talent (let's not talk about the fortitude) to write for the Children's Market. My mentor was Tim Wynne-Jones, whom we first came to know as the creator of the 'Zoom' books. He writes a lot of teen fiction (YA in the parlance). I had five classmates and we each had to bring a 'work in progress'. My work in progress has stalled due to brain overload at the moment, but certainly I LEARNED A LOT! Which is why I went...and to find out that I too can join the exalted ranks of those who write for children (and are PUBLISHED)...if only I would work at it.
Egrets? Only One
I'd been missing my 'old men' down at Col. Sam Smith Park. Five (at my count) Night Herons that used to be regulars on the small islets that ring the inner harbour there. I saw only one all spring and feared the worst for them. A few days ago I took a different path in & went down to the observation deck (the one that hasn't been burnt down yet). The swallows buzz in and out from under the deck, taking care of the fly population and you can often see turtles, Painted I think, basking on half-submerged logs. And that is where my Old Men had retired to. All five of them were standing in the shallows, waiting or communing with nature. They're not very social & always stand at a distance from each other, but that could be so they don't scare the fish.
The swans always nest in that pond, too. There's lots of dog walkers at Sam Smith and the pond is somewhat protected from the main paths by high bushes. It's pretty quiet down there most of the time - though you can see lots of evidence of night-time parties. Yesterday the Night Herons had been replaced by a snowy white Egret grooming itself on a rotting log. Checking my 'Sibley', I find there are 3 different white Egrets, so I don't know if it was a 'Great', a 'Snowy' or a 'Little'. I can never remember details!