Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A little Pooh history in The Canadian Reader (May '09)

History of Winnie-the-Pooh
A little Pooh history in The Canadian Reader (May '09).

Above is a sneak peak from a "Did You Know?" page that I recently illustrated for the May 2009 issue of The Canadian Reader (published by LesPlan Educational Services Ltd).

As the story goes ...
While on his way to England to serve in World War I, a Canadian soldier, Harry Colebourn, bought a black bear cub from a hunter in White River, Ontario. Colebourn named the bear 'Winnie,' after his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnie was eventually donated to the London Zoo, where he was regularly visited by a young Christopher Robin Milne and his father A.A. Milne -- the famous author who wrote about the many adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Below is a thumbnail of the complete "Did You Know?" page which also features a flood of facts about the Red River in Winnipeg ...

Did You Know? The Red River, Winnipeg - The Canadian Reader (May '09)
Did You Know? The Red River, Winnipeg by Mike Cope. Published in The Canadian Reader (May '09).

Just in case you're wondering how the Red River and Winnie-the-Pooh are connected, in this month's NetTrekkers comic, the kids visit Winnipeg during the annual flooding of the Red River and Lily's Pooh Bear accidentally takes a trip downstream! Although I colour NetTrekkers digitally via Adobe Photoshop, I decided to colour this "Did You Know?" page by hand using watercolours as a subtle homage to Winnie-the-Pooh's late illustrator, Ernest H. Shepard. The page is presented here in black & white because it's currently unpublished.

When drawing something like this, part of my job as a cartoonist is to research the Internet so that the pictures are historically accurate. For example, here's a famous photo of Harry Colbourn and Winnie, courtesy of Wikipedia ...

Harry Colebourne and Winnie

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a link to the classic 'Part of our Heritage' short film on Winnie-the-Pooh that used to play on TV and in movie theatres ...

... I really miss watching those, and hope Historica produces more.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope