Friday, December 31, 2010

Ode to a Happy Cartooning New Year ...

Wishing my fellow cartoonists all the best in 2011.

Happy New Year from COPETOONS.COM!
Happy New Year from COPETOONS.COM!

Ode to a Happy Cartooning New Year

May your pencils stay sharp,
May your ink never smudge,
May your gags always giggle,
And may your heart and mind always stay TOONed!

Happy New Year!

- Mike Cope

P.S. ... My new year's resolution is to update this blog more frequently, but I'll believe that when I see it happen :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

"Warm Greeting" Gag Cartoon in Reader's Digest Canada Magazine (Dec. 2010)

Reader's Digest Canada Magazine - December 2010 CoverThe December 2010 issue of Reader's Digest Canada Magazine is now available at bookstores and newsstands.

This month, one of my gag cartoons is published in the As Kids See It department on Page 92. Special thanks to the editors at Reader's Digest Canada!

My gag cartoon is entitled "Warm Greeting" and was actually inspired by a conversation I overheard between two older gentlemen at a local coffee shop. There I was, sipping a warm hot chocolate and scratching my head in search of a good cartoon idea, when the one fellow shuffled his way up to the other and said, "Good to see you again! So, how was your summer?"

In that instant, I suddenly imagined a little kid sitting on a picnic table with a hot chocolate on a cold winter's day, saying to his freshly built snowman ... well, you get the picture :)

And so, this cartoon is dedicated to those two anonymous old snowmen, who remind us to take the time to say hello to our friends and family this holiday season.

Reader's Digest Canada Magazine - Warm Greeting Cartoon by Mike Cope - December 2010
Gag Cartoon: "Warm Greeting" in RD Canada Magazine (December 2010).

Click the above image to see the full cartoon.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Friday, November 05, 2010

Arts Dundas 2010: "Cartooning for Young People" Workshop

I'm looking very forward to participating tomorrow morning in Arts Dundas 2010 by running a FREE cartooning workshop for kids and teens at the Dundas Branch of the Hamilton Public Library.

Here are the details:

Cartooning for Young People (Children & Teens)

Saturday, November 6, 2010 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Mike Cope, freelance cartoonist and illustrator of the educational comic book NetTrekkers, will teach you the basics of cartooning. This is the perfect way for older children and teens to celebrate Arts Dundas 2010, a special weekend that highlights talented local artists.

Audience: Children, Teens

Cost: FREE

Location: Dundas Branch
18 Ogilvie Street
Dundas, Ontario
L9H 2S2

Contact: 905-627-3507
Hamilton Public Library


Click here for a PDF copy of the Arts Dundas 2010 brochure listing all of the weekend's events.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Sunday, October 31, 2010

THE SKELETON FLASHDANCE - A Halloween Homage to Disney's Original Silly Symphony Cartoon

Happy Halloween! I'm currently teaching a 10-week Computer Animation evening course to kids, tweens, and teens (ages 8-14) at Beamsville District Secondary School in the District School Board of Niagara (Ontario, Canada). This past week, I introduced my students to Adobe Flash CS4's Bone Tool. With Halloween just around the corner, I figured animating dancing skeletons would be a fun way to learn and practice this great character animation tool.

To get in the spooky spirit, we first watched Walt Disney's classic Silly Symphony cartoon from 1929, "The Skeleton Dance," which my students thoroughly enjoyed! The copy we viewed was on the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD (Disc 2). If you've never seen this famous animated short before, you can probably also find it on YouTube.

Next, I gave my class a short demonstration of Adobe Flash CS4's Bone Tool. Essentially, the Bone Tool allows you to rig a cartoon character armature so that its various joints are linked together in parent/child relationships (a.k.a. "inverse kinematics"). Or, as that famous tune goes, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone! If you rig your cartoon character correctly, you can move, for example, its hand up and down, and the rest of its arm will follow through the action.

Since our class only runs for 1.5 hours each week, I prepared a skeleton character in advance using a stock image that I found on the Internet. Eventually, my students will be designing their own animation characters and rigging them together as armatures using Adobe Flash CS4's Bone Tool.

The goal for this exercise was to animate a short dance sequence using the skeleton provided, as well as design an appropriate background on a separate layer. Considering we're only into our 3rd week of the course, I think the students did a Hallow-rific job! Each student's Adobe Flash CS4 project was exported as a Quicktime movie, and then edited together in Adobe Premiere CS4 ... We hope you enjoy it :)

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

- Mike Cope

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Schedule Update for NCS Canada Workshops @ Mohawk College

A schedule update has been posted over on the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) Canadian Chapter's blog regarding Sunday's cartooning workshops at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario.

Here are a few highlights:

Mohawk College
135 Fennell Avenue West

(at the corner of West 5th St)
Hamilton, Ontario

Rooms i131, the Rotunda and i109

Starts @ 9:30AM

Parking is free. Attendance is free.

More details (including order of presentations) can be found here.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Tech Talking at 2010 ACEC Convention

The 2010 Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists Convention in Hamilton, OntarioTomorrow morning, I'll be participating on a "Tech Talk" panel at the 2010 Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists (ACEC) Convention, which is taking place here in Hamilton, Ontario.

I'll be presenting some PowerPoint (and other presentation software) tips and tricks, based on my experiences running cartooning workshops for kids and students at area libraries and schools.

Although the convention is closed to the public, those interested in editorial cartooning are more than welcome to join us at the official opening of the "Doodles to Digital" cartoon exhibit at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Details about this special event can be found in this previous post.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Canadian Cartoonists at Mohawk College!

This coming Sunday (Sept. 26), members of the Canadian Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society will be presenting a series of cartooning workshops at Mohawk College's Fennell Campus in Hamilton, Ontario.

If you're in the Hamilton area this weekend, and would like to meet some friendly and talented Canadian cartoonists, come and join us!

From the new NCS Canada Blog:

"Members will take turns discussing their career paths, their working methods, and the state of the industry for professional cartoonists working in a variety of specialties including newspaper syndication, animation, advertising, book and editorial markets."

Participating cartoonists include: Sandra Bell-Lundy (Between Friends), Paul Gilligan (Pooch Café), John Martz (chickaDEE Magazine), Leif Peng (this event's coordinator and instructor in Mohawk College's Graphic Design program), and myself.

Here's the synopsis of my presentation:

Drawing on 12+ years of experience facilitating cartooning workshops and animation courses for kids of all ages, Mike Cope will share some of the insights he’s gained and lesson ideas that he’s implemented at area schools, libraries, and recreation centres. He’ll also bring copies of the new “NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #2” (published by LesPlan Educational Services Ltd.) that he illustrated, through which students explore Canada via exciting comic adventures.

There'll be time to ask our participating cartoonists questions, and best of all, the event is FREE!!

Visit the new NCS Canada Blog for complete details!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cover Illustration for KNOW #29 - The Science Magazine for Curious Kids

A few months ago, I was contacted by the publisher of two children's science magazines, YES Mag and KNOW, to see if I was interested/available to do some regular cartoon illustration work for their "Home Lab" features (science experiments that kids can do at home). Needless to say, I was extremely flattered when, shortly after accepting their offer and beginning work, the editor of KNOW asked if I'd also like to illustrate the cover for one of their up-coming issues. The theme of the issue would be "Shapes & Patterns."

After some initial brainstorming and thumbnail sketching, the editorial team expressed an interest in having a herd of zebras with one zebra standing out from the crowd. Since zebras are typically black & white creatures, it was agreed that colour would be the best way to do this.

Well, Issue #29 (Sept/Oct 2010) is hitting magazine shelves now at bookstores and newsstands, so be on the lookout for this cool equid ... (click to enlarge!)

KNOW #29 - The Science Magazine for Curious Kids - Zebra Cover Illustration by Mike Cope

For those who enjoy seeing some of the creation steps behind a cartoon illustration, here are a few selections from the evolution process this particular design undertook ...

1) A very quick thumbnail sketch drawn in Adobe Photoshop on a KNOW cover template.

KNOW #29 - Zebra Cover - Thumbnail Sketch

2) Initial colour tests applied to thumbnail sketch.

KNOW #29 - Zebra Cover - Thumbnail Colour Tests

3) Rough pencil sketch drawn on 11" x 14" sheet of Strathmore Bristol.

KNOW #29 - Zebra Cover - Rough Pencil Sketch

4) Finished art inked with dip pens and brushes, scanned and coloured in Adobe Photoshop.

KNOW #29 - Zebra Cover - Finished Art Preview

6) A few other colour tests applied to finished illustration.

KNOW #29 - Zebra Cover - Finished Art Colour Tests

I'll post some samples of the "Home Lab" cartoon illustrations soon, but in the meantime, you can also find them on the YES Mag and KNOW websites.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Announcing the DOODLES TO DIGITAL Cartoon Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Hamilton!

Doodles to Digital - Cartoon Exhibit Promotional Poster

I'm very delighted and honoured to be a contributing cartoonist for Doodles to Digital, a new cartoon exhibit opening in my hometown of Hamilton (Ontario, Canada).

If you're a fan of cartooning and are in the Hamilton area between now and December, be sure to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to view cartoons drawn by a number of Canadian editorial cartoonists, from traditionally inked original artworks to the high-tech digital stuff!

The exhibit's official opening will be at 6PM on FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, coinciding with the 2010 convention of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists (also taking place here in Hamilton). In fact, I'll be a guest presenter for the convention's "Tech Talk" panel, earlier that day.

I've heard rumours that some prominent Canadian politicians (ex. Liberal Leader, Michael Ignatieff) will be attending the opening, so it should be fun seeing/hearing their reactions to some of the editorial cartoons for which they've been the subject ... and sometimes "target"! It's always nice to know that our leaders have a sense of humour.

Here's a sneak peak of the two cartoons that I've contributed, both originally published by Reader's Digest Canada ...

Fill Up by Mike Cope (original cartoon art and finished version).

Flag of Canada by Mike Cope (original cartoon art and finished version).

Of special note ... A number of the exhibit's original cartoons (including both of mine) will be available for purchase via a silent auction with proceeds going towards SpecKids Unlimited, a local registered charity that helps underprivileged children and at-risk youth in our community. And so, while I don't personally specialize in editorial-style cartooning, I do extend a special thanks to current ACEC President (and Editorial Cartoonist for The Hamilton Spectator), Graeme MacKay, for inviting me to contribute to Doodles to Digital.

Here are the exhibit's details, once again, in search engine-friendly format ...

Doodles to Digital
Canadian Editorial Cartoons in the 21st Century

On view September 4 to December 12, 2010

The Jean and Ross Fischer Gallery at the ART GALLERY of HAMILTON

57 works on exhibit in a silent auction with proceeds benefitting local charity

Join 20 of Canada's best known editorial cartoonists at the OFFICIAL OPENING 6-7 pm FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 2010

More updates to come, so STAY TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Saturday, August 14, 2010

NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #2 - COMING SOON!

After a long delay between blog posts, I promised an update as to what I've been working on this summer. Here's the first ...

NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #2 - Cover Design
Cover Design: NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #2

I'm very excited to announce that NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #2 has been sent to the printer, and will be available for ordering this Fall from LesPlan Educational Services Ltd.

Similar to Book #1, this 30-paged, full-colour comic book reprints all of the NetTrekkers episodes that were published in The Canadian Reader over this past year.

Episode titles include:

1. Prairie Harvest
2. Swimming Upstream (B.C.'s Salmon Run)
3. Digging for Oil (Alberta's Oilsands)
4. Orbit (The International Space Station)
5. Traveling the Ice Road (Diamond Mines in the Northwest Territories)
6. On Goal (The Stanley Cup Playoffs)
7. Hydro Power! (Quebec's Robert-Bourassa Generating Facility)
8. Caribou Close-Up
(Barren-Ground Caribou Migration in Canada's North)

One of the great things about the NetTrekkers comics is that their exciting stories help get young Canadian students reading! In the process, students learn about their country.

Each class set of 15 Comic Yearbooks is accompanied by a comprehensive teacher's guide that includes a literacy lesson plan for each story, plus photocopiable activity, extension, research and map pages. Teachers can use the comic books to support curriculum topics in Geography and Language at the Junior level in Canadian schools!

Teachers can also find details about Book #1 on the Curriculum Services Canada website.

NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 - Officially Recommended by Curriculum Services Canada
NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 Recommended by Curriculum Services Canada

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Tangled at Disney's Hollywood Studios

While a summer vacation with your family at Walt Disney World leaves you with more than enough joy and lifelong memories, a cartoonist can't help but be awed and inspired by the development art from a Disney feature animation ... especially one like the upcoming Tangled.

Here's but a few snapshots I took while visiting the Tangled display in "The Magic of Disney Animation" at the Hollywood Studios theme park. All artwork is obviously © Copyrighted by Disney, so I not only credit them, but also applaud them on what looks to be a wonderful addition to the annals of animation.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Tangled © Disney.
Tangled © Disney.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Walt Disney or Bust!

Walt Disney or Bust!
"Walt Disney or Bust!" Disney Hollywood Studios, Aug. 2010

Settling back in after a wonderful week with the family at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In the flurry leading up to our vacation, I was busy getting work done and neglected to blog, so my goal is to remedy that over this next week by sharing details about some exciting projects I'm currently involved with (and/or will be soon!).

In the meantime, hope you're having an enjoyable summer too!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Summer Cartooning for Kids @ Hamilton Public Library

An aspiring, young cartoonist draws a giant GIANT. (Photo courtesy of The Hamilton Public Library)
Cartooning for Kids @ The Hamilton Public Library.

Calling all cartooning kids and parents! Here's the list of Hamilton Public Library branches (in alphabetical order) that I'll be visiting in August for summer cartooning workshops. These sessions are always a ton of fun for everyone who participates, so please note the dates and times because CLASSES FILL UP FAST!!!

We try to accommodate as many as possible (over 25 participants depending on the location), but to guarantee your spot, PLEASE REGISTER IN ADVANCE!!!

Click any library branch below to download a PDF copy of its Summer Reading Calendar ...

Concession Branch
565 Concession St.
Wednesday, August 18
"Finale! Mike Cope the Cartoonist 2:15 p.m. Ages 7-12. Registration begins July 13."

Greensville Branch
59 Kirby Ave.
Tuesday, August 10
"Jungle Mania Cartooning Workshop with Mike 2:30 pm. Ages 5-12."

Sherwood Branch
467 Upper Ottawa St.
Wednesday, August 25
"Cartooning with Mike Cope 2:30 or 3:15 p.m. Ages 7-12. Registration required."

Stoney Creek Branch
Branch 777 Highway 8
Wednesday, August 11
"Jungle Cartooning with Mike Cope in the Saltfleet Room. 2 p.m. Ages 7-13. Registration starts August 3."

The theme for this year's TD Summer Reading Club is "Destination Jungle," so you can bet your barrel of monkeys that we'll be cartooning a number of jungle animals ... I'm not LION!

Poster for TD's 2010 Summer Reading Club: Destination Jungle.

See you in August ... and Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"Fish Bait" Gag Cartoon in Reader's Digest Canada Magazine (June 2010)

Reader's Digest Canada Magazine - June 2010 CoverThe June 2010 issue of Reader's Digest Canada Magazine is now available at bookstores and newsstands, sporting a dapper Leonardo DiCaprio on the cover.

This month, one of my gag cartoons is published in the As Kids See It department on Page 74. Special thanks to the editors at Reader's Digest Canada!

My gag cartoon is entitled "Fish Bait" and is dedicated to all you kids out there who have a good ol' fishing story about the "one that got away!" This particular cartoon was inspired by my fond memories of warm summer mornings, days and evenings spent fishing with my dad, grandpa, and good friends out of everything from Lake Ontario to Lake Muskoka.

As you can see in the following cartoon, fishing can be extremely fun, but also hazardous. For, as Forest Gump would say, "You never know what you're gonna get!"

Reader's Digest Canada Magazine - Fish Bait Gag Cartoon by Mike Cope - June 2010
Gag Cartoon: "Fish Bait" in RD Canada Magazine (June 2010).

Click the above image to see the full cartoon.

My fondest fishing memories are the ones that will still make us laugh for years to come. On one particular evening, my grandpa caught a seagull and an eel before calling it quits. And during an overnight stay at Boy Scout camp, I --*ahem*-- vaguely remember snagging my hook on a friend's finger mid-cast ... (sorry, Mark!) ... This one's for you!!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Non-Artsy Cartoonist's Trip to the Art Store

Although I'm a cartoonist, I've never considered myself to be "artsy." Personally, I think terms like geek, nerd, and/or loser (my wife's favourite pet name for me!) are probably more accurate descriptions.

Nevertheless, when your car needs gas, you go to a gas station; and so, when a cartoonist needs art supplies, there's only one place to go …

An art store!

Curry's Art Store - Hamilton, Ontario
Curry's Art Store - Hamilton, Ontario (image courtesy of Google Maps).

My personal favourite is Curry's Art Store in Hamilton, Ontario. Their prices are very reasonable, service is always helpful, and they usually have everything I need … (during my last two visits they didn't have my preferred 30ml Winsor & Newton Black Indian drawing ink in stock ... ARGH!!)

... But I still highly recommend them :)

So, what does this non-artsy cartoonist buy when he visits an art store?

Well, that depends on if the visit is out of necessity or casual procrastination. This past week, one of the important items on my shopping list was the drawing ink mentioned above, but here's a snapshot of what I did bring home …

Some Cartooning Supplies Purchased at Curry's Art Store
Some Cartooning Supplies Purchased at Curry's Art Store

You can click to enlarge the above photo. See if you can spot the following cartooning supplies:

  • (6) Koh-I-Noor 2H pencils
  • (12) Speedball 513EF pen nibs
  • (1) Sketchbook
  • (2) Artshow Presentation Books
Most traditional cartoonists, like myself, go through pencils and pen nibs like candy. I always buy a handful of both at each visit, so I have a pretty healthy supply here in my studio ... Perhaps it's more of an addiction!

The sketchbook was sort of a necessity. I wanted to make a fresh start and try a different brand. Unfortunately, the book's name ("The Great Canadian Sketchbook") has intimidated me so much that I've yet to tarnish any of its pages. With such a beautifully inked Black bear on the cover, it's almost like cartooning in it would be considered national blasphemy.

And finally, the presentation books ...

Original NETTREKKERS Comic Art in Artshow Presentation Book
Original NetTrekkers Comic Art in Artshow Presentation Book.

These were specifically bought for protecting the original cartoon art (ex. NetTrekkers comics and Reader's Digest gag cartoons) that I bring to the various cartooning workshops I run at local schools and libraries. The kids and adults have always been gentle while handling any of my original samples, but I've been worrying that someone's innocent sticky fingers are going to smudge boogers (you know how adults are!) all over and ruin them.

What I liked about the Artshow brand of presentation books was their padded vinyl cover with snap button closure -- the price was right too!! As you can see above (click to enlarge), this particular size fits 11" x 14" sheets of Strathmore Smooth Bristol board (300 series), just fine.

Each book has 12 sleeves, so that means 24 pages of original cartoon art, but you know what they say about too many eggs in one basket!!

And so, that's what I bought during my recent trip to the art store … How about YOU?

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Congratulations NCS Reuben Awards Winners!

National Cartoonists Society (NCS) Logo/Insignia
Official insignia of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS).

Last night, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) celebrated its 64th Annual Reuben Awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City in New Jersey.

The official winners are listed below, but first, a special thanks to MAD Magazine illustrator, Tom Richmond, and Washington Post writer/artist, Michael Cavna, for their LIVE Twitter updates from the event ... I know of at least one other cartoonist who also enjoyed and appreciated tooning in :)

Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

THE REUBEN AWARD for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year:
Dan Piraro, creator of the syndicated daily panel cartoon Bizarro

Dan Piraro, NCS Reuben Award Winner for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year
Reuben Award Winner, Dan Piraro of Bizarro (image courtesy of NCS).


Seth McFarlane - “Family Guy”

Ronnie del Carmen - Storyboard Artist - “Up”

Tom Richmond

Glenn McCoy

Debbie Tomassi

Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman - “Zits”

Hilary Price - “Rhymes with Orange”

Ray Alma

Dave Whamond - “My Think-A-Ma-Jink”

John Sherffius

Steve Brodner

Paul Pope - “Strange Adventures”

David Mazzucchelli - “Asterios Polyp”

At the time of this writing, sample art from all of the Division Award winners can be found at the NCS website. Once again, congratulations to all of this year's winners and nominees.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Reuben Time!

Reubens on the Hudson (Art by Patrick McDonnell)
"Reubens on the Hudson" (Art by Patrick McDonnell)

This weekend, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) is celebrating its 64th Annual Reuben Awards! It's like the Academy Awards for cartooning, but only better :)

From the NCS website ...

Each year, during the NCS Annual Reuben Awards Weekend, the Society honors the year's outstanding achievements in all walks of the profession.

The recipient of our profession's highest honor, the REUBEN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR is chosen by a secret ballot of the members.

Excellence in the fields of newspaper strips, newspaper panels, TV animation, feature animation, newspaper illustration, gag cartoons, book illustration, greeting cards, comic books, magazine feature/magazine illustration, and editorial cartoons, is honored in the NCS Division Awards, which are chosen by specially-convened juries at the chapter level.

The Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors, as is the Silver T-Square, an award that recognizes outstanding service to the Society and the profession.

The 2009 Reuben Award Nominees (image courtesy of NCS)

The nominees for 2009's Cartoonist of the Year are Stephen Pastis (creator of the syndicated comic strip Pearls Before Swine), Dan Piraro (creator of the syndicated daily panel cartoon Bizarro), and Richard Thompson (creator of the syndicated strip Cul de Sac.

The Reuben Award winner, along with the recipients of each Division Award, will be announced on Saturday night! Having just recently become an official member of the NCS, I wish that I could be there. Hopefully I'll be able to attend the 65th celebration!

At the time of this writing, a complete list of Division Award nominees can be found at

Best of luck to all nominees ... and Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Saturday, April 10, 2010

National Cartoonists Society Member!

The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) - CLICK TO VISIT!
March 30th, 2010

Dear Mike Cope:

It is my pleasure to inform you that your application for Regular membership into the National Cartoonists Society has been unanimously approved by the Membership Committee.


Needless to say, I was extremely delighted to receive the official verdict in yesterday's mail!

If you're a fan of cartooning, but are not familiar with the National Cartoonists Society (or "NCS" as it's commonly referred to), I highly recommend that you visit the official NCS web site at -- I guarantee that you'll recognize more than a few names and faces from cartoon history ...

The History of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS)
The History of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS)

For me, joining the NCS is about formally acknowledging that what I currently do, as a cartoonist, is based on the inspiration and knowledge that so many past and present NCS members have given me from the time that I was first enchanted by the newspaper funnies as a young boy. As technology continues to change the way we work and do business, I think it's very important for "younger" cartoonists, like myself, to never forget their profession's history.

Most importantly, I truly believe in the Primary Purposes of the NCS (at right). And I know that from the first cartooning workshops that I ran for kids back in 1998, above all other personal gains, it's been about helping to encourage interest in cartooning, and (hopefully) inspiring the next generation of cartoonists.

Sincere thanks to my sponsors (Sandra Bell-Lundy, Roy Schneider, and Guy Gilchrist) for writing such encouraging letters of recommendation. And a special thanks to NCS Membership Chariman, Sean Parkes, and the Membership Committee for welcoming me into their ranks.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 Officially Recommended as a Classroom Resource by Curriculum Services Canada

NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 - Officially Recommended by Curriculum Services Canada
NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 Recommended by Curriculum Services Canada

I'm extremely proud to announce that the NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1, which I designed and illustrated for LesPlan Educational Services Ltd., has been officially approved as a recommended classroom resource by Curriculum Services Canada (CSC).

From the CSC Website:

"CSC Evaluation Recommendation:

The NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 is recommended to support curriculum topics in Geography and Language at the Junior level in Canadian schools.


The comic book format of the learning resource is engaging and supports students in accessing the content ..."

Read more on CSC's Website ...

NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 - Recommended Resource page on Curriculum Services Canada
Click on the above image to visit the NetTrekkers Recommended Resource page on Curriculum Services Canada.

About CSC:

"Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) is the Pan-Canadian standards agency for quality assurance in learning products and programs. We are an incorporated, not-for-profit organization that provides services including the development, implementation, evaluation, and accreditation of teaching and learning resources ...

Teachers, administrators, and parents know they can count on the CSC Seal. Resources that receive the CSC Seal meet high standards. The material matches, supports, and complements Pan-Canadian curriculum standards."

Click here to download a brochure for NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 (PDF format).

Or, click on the following images to enlarge ...

Free previews of both the NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook and Teacher's Resource Guide can be downloaded from LesPlan in PDF format.

You're also invited to visit My Selected Portfolio to see some additional page samples from the comics appearing in this book.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Tooned in to MythTickle by Justin Thompson

Mythtickle Book One by Justin Thompson
Tooned in to MythTickle by Justin Thompson

This past week, I was delighted to find two wonderful cartoon treasures waiting in my mailbox. The first was One: The First MythTickle Collection by Justin Thompson (pictured above). The second was the latest issue of Stay Tooned! Magazine, which, as you can also see in the above photo, just so happens to feature an interview with non other than the extremely talented creator of MythTickle, Justin Thompson!

If you're a comic strip fan and have never read MythTickle, do yourself a HUGE favour: head over to Universal Press Syndicate's and take a good look n' read before continuing ...

It's okay, I'll wait ...


... Pretty impressive, eh?

Now, let's take a peak inside One: The First MythTickle Collection (click to enlarge) ...

Mythtickle Book One by Justin Thompson
A peak inside One: The First MythTickle Collection

The glossy, full colour pages immediately attract your eyes. And as you can see above, individual panels of some strips are arranged using a flexible layout, so the book feels refreshing from start to finish.

When I found out that Justin was working on this book, I knew that it would be a delight to hold in one's hands. As you can learn in his Stay Tooned! Magazine interview, Justin is not only an extremely talented cartoonist, but he also works as a designer and illustrator for Creative Associates -- the company formed by the late Charles M. Schulz to handle the licensing of his now legendary comic strip, Peanuts.

As if that wasn't enough, Justin has even worked as a professional Renaissance Festival stuntman -- armour, horse, lance and all! And so, he has a really unique blend of skills and experiences that help make his work what it is.

Mythtickle Book One by Justin Thompson
SPECIAL BONUS! "Yochi: A Samurai Story"

The book concludes with a beautifully written and illustrated 32-page bonus story called, "Yochi: A Samurai Story." The tale is a real delight to read, and I look forward to sharing it with my daughter.

Needless to say, I've been a fan of Justin's work for some time now, and so, I was extremely honoured when he asked if I was interested in offering a blurb for his book.

Mythtickle Book One by Justin Thompson
Some well deserved praise.

But you don't have to just take my word for it. Order a copy directly from Justin, and you'll read praise for MythTickle from so many other cartoonists including: Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Mark Tatulli (Lio! and Heart of the City), and several webcartooning contemporaries.

Most important of all, you can have your copy personalized ...

Mythtickle Book One by Justin Thompson
A cartoon collection signed by the creator ... PRICELESS!

Thanks again, Justin, for inviting me to support this first piece of MythTickle's printed history!

Speaking of supporting printed history ...

If you're a fan of ANY form of cartooning (animation, comic strips, editorial and/or gag cartoons, etc.) and are not a subscriber of Stay Tooned! Magazine, do yourself a HUGE favour and click the following cover of Issue #5 ...

Stay Tooned! Magazine, Edited by John Read
Stay Tooned! Magazine - Issue #5, Edited by John Read

... Tell John, "Mike Cope says Hello!!" :)

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

P.S. John has given me permission to continue using that closer since I've been using it for so long!