A fun week of school visits!

Most of the time, being a cartoonist involves sitting at my desk, by myself, making up conversations between fictional characters. But not last week! Last week, I took an unusually extraverted break from my work on Time Trout and I visited ten elementary schools in Maple Ridge, BC. Over the course of four days, and I talked to thousands of students about how to become a cartoonist. We did brainstorming exercises and we came up with fun comic ideas and we drew weird animals (and quite a few chickens!) and it was just such a fantastic time!

In addition to visiting elementary schools, I also did a couple of talks at the larger Bookfest event at the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge. Here’s me talking about how you need to read comics if you want to make comics. I talked about my early inspirations, like The Far Side and Peanuts, and I talked about stuff I’m reading now, like Reza Farazmand’s excellent comic, Poorly Drawn Lines. Photo by Ken Bisset.

Here are a bunch of pictures from my week on the road. A huge thank-you to the teachers and teacher-librarians who made me feel welcome in their schools, thanks to the students who helped with technical setup – I thought it was really cool that many schools had students in charge of operating all of the tech stuff! And thanks to all of the students, for their cool ideas and enthusiasm and just for making me feel like a rock star. It’s the first time that I’ve been in a room with hundreds of people who have read Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy, which was kind of amazing. They had all sorts of interesting questions, and wow they even wanted my autograph! And I was overwhelmed by how much great drawing the students did while I was there – I’ve included a few samples here…

Another fun thing about speaking at the ACT Arts Centre was getting to see my cats appear on this gigantic screen!
Also at the ACT Arts Centre, here’s me explaining how you can convey different emotions with a few simple lines. After this, I requested random emotions from the audience and drew cats with those emotions. Photo by Jennifer Johnson.
Ready to roll at Maple Ridge Elementary! For most of the schools, I spoke in the gymnasium, to crowds of between 100 and 300 students.
One thing I talked about at the schools was the importance of trying new things as an artist. So I got the students to suggest ideas for animals that I probably didn’t know how to draw. Here, at Harry Hooge Elementary, we drew an armadillo together. My first armadillo! Thanks to Fiona Bisset for the photo!
Another exercise I did with the students was an alphabet brainstorming exercise where we’d create a scene by drawing things for each letter of the alphabet. Here, I drew an Apple, being eaten by a Bat, being chased by a Cat.
It was really great to see how much art the students created while I was there. Thanks to Rachel, who gave me this little booklet of cartoons.
Thanks to Dominic, who brought in this great Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy art. He’s got everything in here! So fun!

Thanks to Ariana for this fun art! Love the eyes on that milk jug!

I’ll probably do more school visits in the new year, after I finish my new book, of course. If you want me to visit your school, give me a shout!

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6 thoughts on “A fun week of school visits!

  • December 9, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Are you planning on going to the Canary Islands? We’d love to have you over!

    • December 9, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      That would be fun!

  • December 10, 2018 at 6:38 am

    Absolutely wonderful! Having been an elementary teacher for 34 years before retiring in 2012 I can feel the excitement that the students experienced through their drawings. What a marvelous thing for you to do! Thank you, thank you!

    • December 10, 2018 at 11:06 am

      It was a great experience! The students were so creative and enthusiastic – it was very inspiring! 🙂

  • December 10, 2018 at 9:05 am

    I’ve been subscribing for years. I’m amazed that you can think of that many funny cartoons.
    Thank you, Doug.

    Retired Geezer in Idaho

    • December 10, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Pat! I’m amazed too, when I look back and see that I’ve drawn over 3500 comics on Savage Chickens. How did that happen?! 🙂


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