October 31, 2012

Pickle Weasel HALLOWEEN.

Last Halloween I went GREEN. Like for realz; I was painted green and photographed by Kathy Slamen.

This year? Pickle Weasel stole my costume. *pouts*

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What's the best costume EVAR?

October 28, 2012


Tomorrow evening I'm doing a talking on The Art of Visual Storytelling. I'm always learning, always striving toward expertise; I wish to command the medium so that I can express myself, deftly, succinctly, with humor and grace.

Anyways...tomorrow is the first time I'm speaking on this particular topic. In breaking down some of my stories for the presentation I realized how much I'm falling into natural story arcs without even thinking or planning. The visual devices that I use to create tension, the pacing of a story, the emotional triggers in an image or expression; all the subtleties and nuance of my lines and dots lay before me.

I found that I was deconstructing my self.

I've delved deep into The Heart of ME before. Scary...but also freeing. Do you ever feel abstracted?

My talk, toons and tech on the Art of Visual Storytelling, hosted by Montreal Girl Geeks.

October 25, 2012


This is the job I was asked to do just before flying out to Atlanta to do the NonCon Keynote. I knew that even though it would crush me in time and energy, it was an important project that needed to be made. The job did crush me - but I'll recover.

I'm Canadian. I'm not even American. But I care because my generation, Generation Jones, born between 1955 and 1965, is pivotal in the upcoming US elections. Basically, if you're 55 or younger, you need to protect yourself in terms of your vote. Because your medicare just won't be there if you don't.

Or you could just never get sick or have an accident. Ever.

Please share, tweet, blog , embed this video from Youtube; it's the Big Untold Story of the 2012. Election.

Find out more at JonesClick.

#BlissDomCA TOON swag!

I'd been wanting to reach out to more Canadian bloggers...I mean, I'm Canadian, but for some reason the bulk of my Internet friends are in the US. I dunno why...it just feels like they get me.

So I went to BlissDom Canada in Toronto ...and it turns out there's a bunch of Canadian bloggers that I already know!

I attended the whirlwind Microsessions (too short, too rushed) one of which was led by award-winning author (six books!!), public speaker, and TV personality Kathy Buckworth. Here she is, speaking publicly about public speaking, as it were.

She's quite animated so tooning her was easy! And @KathyBuckworth is just as animated on on Twitter - smart and funny.

Do you know Evelyn Hannon, AKA the @Journeywoman? Evelyn is CEO of Journeywoman, the largest online travel resource for women on the planet. We worked together on her short film Journeywoman Around the World, but never met in person until she popped in to have lunch with me at BlissDom. She said, "I'll be wearing a red cape." But I would have recognized her trademark bangs and glasses anywhere.

We spoke of our children, balancing family, work and life; we marveled at how meeting people in real life after developing a virtual friendship, can be quite the kick.

I was at BlissDom blocking hotel toilets ...drinking um... hanging out with my friend The Robin. She's new to blogging and wants to get started on the right foot.

Actually it was The Robin's wedding anniversary while we were at BlissDom. Pretty nice of her husband to let get her bliss on with me! (Happy Anniversary to both of you, btw, I know you're reading this you crazy stalkers. Muah!)

I met Schmutzie!

Yes, I was a little starstruck cuz of this Ted Talk I saw her do one time. But we all have hurdles to overcome, and mine was getting up the gumption to say hi for realz. This is actually a big deal for people going to conferences - we all experience the rabbit-in-the-headlights freeze when confronted with meeting those we admire. AKA Elan Morgan, she was at BlissDom with her huz, the Palinode. Both were Community Leaders doing sessions there.

ANYWAYS I plonked myself down on the floor in front of her and boom. When Schmutzie smiles, the room lights up.

I drew her as she iPhonographed me drawing her iPhonographing me.

I seem to be sitting on a magic circle there...I love this picture of me because she's caught me doing what I love. Also because I look hawt, but mostly cuz she got me. She's talented.

Quite a bit of toon swagging has been flowing from me lately. Where shall I go next? Any conferences you think I should attend? If I draw you will you draw me too?

October 23, 2012

The Tenth Floor TURD.

WARNING: Not for those who are easily flushturd.

This didn't actually happen. Well, okay, it did happen but not exactly.

Me and my friend Robin (known as #TheRobin on Twitter cuz she has yet to exist there) went to BlissDom Canada this weekend. We trained it from Montreal, and headed straight to the Sheraton Centre, located "in the vibrant core of downtown Toronto". Needless to say the long train ride had resulted in an urgent need to use the toilet for Number 1. Which we did as soon as we got checked into our hotel room.

But instead of flushing, the toilet did that horrifying thing with the water rising up threateningly to the brim of the toilet bowl...and then just staying there. Uh-oh!

The Robin called the front desk, and some poor unsuspecting maintenance man came up from house-keeping. He just stood there and stared at the toilet bowl. I was standing next to him thinking, wow, this is really embarrassing! But I love embarrassment, it's like, one of my favorite emotions.

Some of my best stories come from my ability to embrace embarrassment.

So the maintenance dude and I are staring silently at the toilet, full to the brim with pale yellow water. And a token bit of toilet paper floating sexily on top. Naturally it also smelled faintly of female pee.

Eventually he looks at me and says, "If I flush it, will it overflow?"

Seriously? How should I know? I shrugged and smiled. Anything could happen and I was hopeful.

He wisely decided not to try flushing it. Off he goes to get a plunger, tarum, tarum, tarum. And he unplugs the toilet. And later that same day it blocked up again. So he came back and unblocked it again.

Lucky for him, it was only ever Number 1. But that didn't stop me and The Robin imagining what it would be like if it was Number 2.

The Robin came up with the title for this blog post. You guys can thank her for that. And the Sheraton gets top marks for prompt toilet unblocking services.

Embarrassment might be one of my Super Powers.

Aiming Low #noncon TOON swag.

Here's the TOON swag* I did while at the Aiming Low Non-Conference last week.

*What the heck is "toon swag"? It's when I live-draw people that inspire me. The drawing is a gift to them, and it fits neatly into their luggage.

When we arrived at Callaway Gardens, I met Jasmine Banks, blogger at Just Jasmine. She asked me how my room was, and I said it was fine, just a bit cold. So she arranged for blankets to be sent to our room. Sweet! She tilted her head and raised an eyebrow at me, and I had to draw her.

@Djazzo has the kind of curves that artists swoon to draw, she's so, so beautiful. She possesses an inner light that is a disarming mix of strength and vulnerability.

If you're ever lucky enough to meet her IRL, ask her respectfully about her amazing tattoo; I only managed to capture an impression of it here; the actual detail and execution of the work is world class and it's an integral part of her story.

One of the best things about the NonCon were the Roundtables, a concept brought forward by Anissa Mayhew, the unstoppable mojo behind the Aiming Low community. I could do Roundtables all weekend. Because of the format, you can learn, share and connect simultaneously. During the "Working as a Team" session, I was sitting across from Jana Anthoine. As an attendee, she shared this powerful bit of wisdom with us;

"You must be courageous to be part of a team."

I believe it does take courage to step forward and make a contribution as a team player, rather than simply following the leader. And there she was actually making a contribution by saying so. I just whipped out my iPad and started drawing her right there.

Jana's Thinking Place

I think @Jana0926 suspected I was up to something, but I always check with people before posting my drawings. Unless you're Martha Stewart. Or Katie Couric.

At one point during the conference, Faiqa Khan came up and said "Hey JC, when are you going to draw ME??" And I'm like, uh....I already have...?

I'm sad that I didn't get the chance to draw more people, but there was so much going on and I also wanted to soak up some Aiming Low love. But there was one person I was determined to nail down, and this was Julia Roberts.

As I drew her, Julia showed us pictures of her children, Gage and Quinnlin on her phone.

Julia is the arms that enfold, the heart that loves, the shoulder that supports, the eyes that know you. She's a mother to not one, but two kidney transplant children, and a leader in the parenting support community via her blog Kidneys and Eyes.

And it has to be said, @JuliaRoberts1, along with several others, is part of the very soul of Aiming Low.

The next NonCon is now the must attend conference at the top of my list. But meanwhile, I guess we'll have to be content with AimingLow.com on the Internets.

October 18, 2012

Naked on a Unicorn - Country Outfitter GIVEAWAY.


Remember my trick ploy uh plea to get you guys to help me bag my dream boots by tweeting to @CountryOutfittr? Where I promised to draw myself wearing nothing but the boots whilst riding a Unicorn?

It turns out Country Outfitter not only has a wonderful sense of humor, they can also appreciate and value your [somewhat bizarre] desire to see such a drawing. Cuz they gave me boots! Behold the awesome.

Yes, I am posing on my bed. I might be naked. Maybe. Never mind that, feast your eyes on the chocolatey swirls and turquoise detail. HAWT.

Country Outfitter were sponsoring the Aiming Low Non-Conference where I was the *ahem* Opening Keynote, down in Atlanta, and they sprung these beauties on me at the closing party.

Because you helped me out by tweeting and being amazeballs and stuff, we’re doing a giveaway contest thingie – you could win a $150 gift card to Country Outfitter AND a custom drawing from me on a mug. It's like Christmas!

To enter you must do these three things: 
NOTE: Contest open to US residents only.

1. Click here and enter your email address. Country Outfitter will occasionally send you marketing messages, and you are welcome to opt out at any time.

2. Tweet THE LINK to your favorite CountryOutfitter.com boots to me @LittleAnimation.

3. Tell me how you’d like to be drawn with those boots, in the comments below.

You need to do all three to enter.

I'll draw the winner and then I'll draw the winner. And btw I’ll just draw YOU, not you with your kids or best friends or you dancing with the different animals at the zoo. Contest closes on Monday at 9 PM. Winner announced Tuesday evening.

Oh yeah...a deal’s a deal. So here I am, naked on a Unicorn, wearing nothing but cowboy boots. Ta-daaa!

What would you do for your dream boots?

UPDATE: October 23, 2012. 

The winner of the contest has been selected by random number generator, number "10" - the tenth person to enter in the comments below. 

Congratulations to Maddy! She has a cute blog called A Little Fringe

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter. That was kinda fun!

October 17, 2012

Dare to DREAM.

It was an honour to do the Opening Keynote at the first ever Aiming Low Non-Conference...and I wasn't nervous at all. I actually got everyone to sing the original Star Trek theme whilst The Huz sorted out the audio-visual. That was kinda epic.

And then there was this:

1. Sit on your good hand.

2. Shut one eye.

3. Using your other hand, tweet:  "I can. #NonCon"

And then we used both our hands to give the incredibly feisty Anissa Mayhew a round of applause for getting us together at the NonCon. She made her dream come true.

If she can, you can too.

October 10, 2012

5 Ways to tell if you're aiming low enough.

This story originally appeared on Aiming Low. Since I have the humbling honour of opening the very first Aiming Low Non-Conference in two days, I thought it would be cool to repost it here so you can see if you're aiming low enough. My Keynote will be about how aiming high and aiming low are closely related. To paraphrase a friend of mine, they are two cheeks of the same butt.

*     *     *     *     *     *

I gave up the notion of a tidy home long ago. Are you like me? Here’s a handy illustrated guide:

1. You have at least one vase in your home with flowers mouldering in it since last Valentines Day.

2. You’re actually starting to like tall grass and dandelions.

3. You can use your laundry pile to change a lightbulb in the ceiling!

4. Your eleven year old son wins first prize wtih the kitchen sink as his Science Fair project.

5. You’d rather read a book with your kid than change the sheets. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff, that's what I always say.

How low can you go?

October 5, 2012

Muppets and MITTens 3.

Warning: Not for kiddies.

Three little films in one day! Big Bird VS Mitt Romney...wow, no contest right? Some people strike me as obviously fake, and Big Bird aint one of 'em.

Watching PBS encourages critical thinking. Squash it and you squash our spirit. But you will have a population that is more easily led to believe anything.

Sesame Street is all over the world in broadcast, interactive and books. So many pre-K children benefit from it - it's an investment in our collective future as human beings.

Two cents from a Canadian!

See part 1 and part 2!

Muppets and MITTens 2.

WARNING: Not for kiddies.

I hope you enjoyed seeing Big Bird act out of character. Now would you vote for the muppet or the puppet?

If you grew up with Sesame Street, lemmee hear ya say YEAH.

See the next episode!

Muppets and MITTens 1.

WARNING: Not for kiddies.

A rare political lampoon from me.

Big Bird would never do this; and that's why we need PBS.

See the next episode...

October 2, 2012

The Morris House Hotel.

My mom came over with her travel book , opened it up and pointed to a photograph of a picturesque garden restaurant.

“This is where we should stay in Philadelphia,” she said.

And so we did. Built in 1787, The Morris House is the ultimate heritage boutique hotel, an oasis of colonial charm a few blocks from ye olde Liberty Bell. It’s seriously cute!

The first morning we sat having our coffee in the hotel's Salon and this Napoleonesque style painting was winking down at me from above the mantelpiece and practically flirting. I peered at it closely.

Something about the face didn’t look quite as “period” in its execution and my thoughts were just lingering on that. Yeah, there was something about it…

“Good morning ladies!” I turned to see a dashing gentleman in blazer and ascot. It’s possible I imagined the ascot. Probably.

This dude is smiling and friendly and has something of a playboy twinkle, walking through the rooms all debonair and asking us how we like the place. 

Shannon, the Innkeeper, comes into the room from the reception and introduces him. “This is Michael DiPaolo, one of the owners of the Morris House.” Then she points to the mantel and says, “that’s him in the painting”.

It totally was!
Hoteliers with a sense of humour? I was most intrigued.

Michael Dipaolo was joined by another dapper dude, the other owner Eugene Lefevre - they chatted with my mom about the restaurant in the Hotel, Restaurant M, the menu, the plating, the service…the wine. The soft shell crab. My mom was loving it.

How many hoteliers do you get to do this with?

Over the course of our stay I decided I really wanted to draw these guys. So I told Shannon I was a blogger and asked if they’d mind being tooned.

And I gave her my card. And she read my blog, pinworms and all.

Must’ve been ok though cuz she arranged for both the owners to sit down with us on our last day, and they agreed to let me interview them.

Eugene Lefevre and Michael Dipaolo are architects, they started their business together restoring heritage buildings. Audaciously they once put a 10K deposit on a 10 million deal to buy Lits Bros. Department store built in 1891, saving it from the impending Wrecking Ball of Doom. It’s now the Mellon Independence Center and you might say that was their flagship project together. These guys are real estate developers who actually care for the history of the city's buildings.

The pair bought the Morris House in 2000, and with a lot of TLC and attention to colonial detail, they turned it into the boutique hotel it is today. Turns out Michael’s not the only one to have been painted – Eugene told me that he was the first one to hang his portrait in the Morris House as they restored it. Their friend Bill Whiting had portrayed him as an English country Squire” and Eugene hung the portrait above the mantel at the front entrance.

I didn't get a very good photo of it so I just tooned it. The actual painting is truly lovely.

Eugene said that when Michael saw it, he wanted one too. Bill Whiting apparently just told him to bring a frame and said that he’d “fill it”. So Michael showed up with a honking big frame and claimed the mantel in the main sitting room.

The Rogues Gallery doesn’t stop there – several friends have had their portraits done by Whiting (including Gene's wife Deborah!), and these hang throughout the main floor rooms. Which totally makes me feel at home, cuz that’s what I do: surround myself with I DRAW YOU’s and TOONswag.

I'm not a travel blogger but I will tell you this: the place is amazeballs - it's full of stories! But best of all, the nice people at Restaurant M gave me a beautiful glass of Chardonnay when I got back from the Philly meetup. They let me take it up to our room.