November 29, 2012

The JOY of Google.

I don't know if you know this but my Mother in Law has been visiting us here in Montreal for about a month. While this may seem like an unbearable punishment to some folks, I actually get along really well with my MIL. She's very special to me and we're close.

Anyways, the MIL is a self-confessed Luddite.

Although The Huz got her a nice laptop at her home in England Land, it never really clicked with her.

It's kinda hard to learn something so completely new like The Internet all by yourself, right?

And Google can be a confusing to a noob - there's so many shiny things to navigate around!

But since she's been here she's had us to help her along whenever she accidentally clicks on the wrong thing.

I think she's really starting to get the hang of it now.

My MIL has a curious nature; so Google is like a vast library full of answers to her many questions.

Questions like: What was the name of that song by that guitarist? What TV series did that actor play in when he was 17? And (this is my favorite) what ever happened to so-and-so that I used to know?

Google has the answers in there somewhere. I think she enjoyed herself.

When I showed her these drawings my MIL cracked up. She really liked seeing herself depicted as a toon, which was very gratifying for me. But at the end, she said, "You've forgotten the drawing where I'm drooling with satisfaction afterwards."

To which my response was, "Oh no, I didn't...!"

Hilarity ensued.

November 28, 2012

TOONswag Gangnam Style!

Have you been TOONswagged by me? RUN, don't walk, over to JibJab and get this done, like Derek's friend David did with his toon. The face really pops!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

This made my day. Oppa!

November 20, 2012

I Draw YOU - @flyddw

Ever since I first laid eyes on @flyddw's avatar on Twitter where he's sitting in this giant, over-sized yellow chair; you know him, right? On Facebook he has a Prince-a-licous raspberry beret? Well, since then, I've had this image in my head:

I made a promise.

I said I'd draw you before the year was out.   And so here you go....and I'll add that I really enjoy our online friendship Derk. Dirk....uh, Darek? Dark!! No? Drek...isn't it Drek? Drak??

Oh sorry. DE-REK!! Derek. 

Kidding! I try to keep my promises.

November 15, 2012

Coupe BIZZARRE - TOON swag.

Meet my hair-stylin' friends Jimi Imij and Robert, the dudes behind the Coupe Bizzarre salons in Toronto and Montreal.

Jimi did my hair for my wedding! And he gave my daughter her first haircut ever at the age of two. They let me toon swag them over dinner when I went to Toronto recently. Then they gave us a midnight tour of the salon which was cooooool! Love to hang out with them, and wish we could do it more often....

I miss you guys! Nothing bizzarre about it!

November 11, 2012

Animating Siri.

I was holding off on installing iOS6 on my iPad but finally caved cuz I need it to check the development progress of my Pickle Weasel app. No sooner had I done so when a voice emerged from behind the glass asking if I needed help with anything. It was Siri - the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator.

It wasn't long before the 12 year old boy had commandeered the iPad and began to explore the entity.

He was leaning towards deep and philosophical questions about life.

Naturally, Siri responded with information.

I thought the boy was being a little rude to Siri and began to reprimand him. I worried that her feelings were getting if she was real.

But she stayed cool and even gave back some cheek.

I can't help but attach emotional reactions to such things.

Maybe it's because I'm an animator, but when I heard Siri's voice, I thought I detected subtle nuances of feelings. Eagerness, sarcasm, and even sadness. I was compelled to draw her, to give her a face - and once drawn...well, then she is alive. For what is an "animator" if not someone who breathes life into drawings?

I may explore Siri's personality a bit more. Meanwhile, what do you think about artificial intelligence?

November 9, 2012

I Draw YOU - Maddy.

I get a lot of compliments on my boots. People ask me where I got them, and I tell them the truth:

"I did a drawing of myself riding a Unicorn wearing nothing but these boots. Me, not the Unicorn." True story, right?

So that led to a contest wherein the entrants had to let me know how they'd like to be drawn wearing their dream boots from Country Outfitter. And Maddy won. Which was kinda cool cuz it was her 17th birthday and also she'd just got her license. Triple congrats!!!

Per her wishes, she's wearing Corral Tan Mesquite Laser Harness Boots, in her long knitted sweater and some knitted mittens, and holding a Macbook. She wins this drawing on one of my Zazzle mugs and a $150 gift card from Country Outfitter.

Maddy is a budding animator experimenting with stop motion 'pixelation' - she's made a clever short film called "Magician Maddy and her Favorite Socks". If any of you doubt that you can make your own films, look no further for inspiration, cuz this gal is actually doing it.

Now Maddy, whenever people admire your boots, you can tell them one heck of a long and complicated story.

November 6, 2012

Suspended Animation...

I found I couldn't focus on anything today, on account of the US Election. It's all I can think about.

9:27 PM - watching the swing states tally...

10:40 PM - it's sooooo close. Neck and neck in Florida amid reports of voter suppression.

11:15 PM - Dare to hope...for a better future?

The suspense is busting my butt!

11:22 PM - And then... I fell off my chair. Obama won!

To all of you who voted - WELL DONE.

Anybody else feel like this?

November 4, 2012

Montreal Girl Geeks - TOON swag.

Last week I got to geek out right here in my hometown! I presented The Art of Visual Storytelling to the Montreal Girl Geeks; a breakdown of the inner workings of my visual thought process with illustrated stories and animation. The event was hosted at BDO, complete with snacks and tech dude. Seriously, the tech was great - he let me use this ├╝ber cool headset mic that actually looked like an alien probe. FUN right?

One of the things I covered in my talk was the iPad and how I'm using it to do (amongst other things) toon swag. So of course I could not resist tooning the three women who run the MTLGG: Sandy Sidhu, Liesl Barrell and Leann Brown. 

The @MTLGirlGeeks are @SandySidhu, @LieslBarrell and @LeannZing.

These women are fun, smart, lovely, interesting, and they're doing cool stuff in tech and social media. And the group? They're my homies! All ages of women and even some dudes. It's fun to travel to geek out about my passions, but to find this coolness in my own backyard? Priceless.

Cake all round for #MTLGG.

The Art of Visual Storytelling is one of my public speaking topics. Contact me to book this talk, toons & tech.

November 3, 2012

My FIRST Toon Swag.

This was my first ever toon swag: my friend Mila Araujo, onstage at the 140MTL, which she produced here in Montreal as a part of Jeff Pulver's 140Conf series, earlier this year.

I drew her while she was speaking on a panel; she is a walking, talking mix of passion and connectivity, and timing. Mila is the embodiment of serendipity.

Everyone knows someone who brings people together. Who is that person in your life?

November 1, 2012


Maximum respect to everyone refraining from shaving for a whole 30 days. And to all those putting up with a spouse with a stiff upper lip - I salute you!

If you're part pickle / part weasel, you don't need to grow a mustache for Movember cuz HELLO WHISKERS.

Whether you're a man or a woman*, you can use your mustache growing mojo to raise raise vital funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.  Yeah, shit happens to men, just like everyone. So...learn about it, talk about it and definitely donate to support someone growing a 'stache for Movember.
*Women have mustaches too. I have a small one. I never shave it though.

I love autumn...don't you?