Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cartoonist in the Classroom ... and Lunchroom!

Comic Evolution - Cartoonist in the Classroom Presentation by Mike Cope
Screenshot: Comic Evolution - Cartoonist in the Classroom PowerPoint by Mike Cope

This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting Centennial Secondary School in Welland, Ontario, to do some cartooning lessons and discuss the comic creation process with Ms. Douglas's Grade 10 English class. This visit was part of a "Cartoonist in the Classroom" workshop series I'm currently running for the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), whose wonderful Literacy Consultant, Cheryl Caldwell, is an advocate for the study of "graphic texts" in the classroom.

Other recent visits have included a welcoming roomful of over 40 Grade 9 students at Ridgeway Crystal Beach High School, and a gymnasium electrified by over 70 Grade 5 to 8 students at Parliament Oak Public School in Niagara on the Lake. As you can see in the following photo, these workshops have some very sweet rewards ...

Chocolate CD - Welland Centennial Secondary School (DSBN)
A sweet chocolate "Thank You" CD from Welland Centennial Secondary School, District School Board of Niagara (DSBN).

After the workshop, I met up with Welland's amazingly talented syndicated cartoonist, Sandra Bell-Lundy, creator of the popular newspaper comic strip Between Friends (distributed by King Features Syndicate). Most days, I only get to chat electronically with fellow cartoonists, so it was a real treat to enjoy lunch with a friendly colleague who speaks a similar cartoon dialect.

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
A snippet from Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy (used with permission).

Actually, for me, it was more of an honour than a treat, for Sandra's cartooning is at a level that I only hope to aspire to. Not only is her comic strip distributed by one of the world's top syndicates, but Between Friends has also gained national recognition from a series of animated cartoons created for the Canadian Cancer Society. You can find these moving comic strips on the official Thingamaboob website … Funny name, serious message!

And so, I was extremely humbled (and delighted!) when Sandra recently offered to write me a letter of recommendation for membership in the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) -- the professional organization whose members list includes so many cartoonists whose work I admire and strive to learn from.

Sandra has posted her own post-game review of our lunch meeting, but I must stress (once again) that the honour was all mine.

Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy
Between Friends by Sandra Bell-Lundy (Jan. 24, 2010). Used with permission.

Thanks again, Sandra … Steak sandwiches and fries sound good to me anytime!!

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

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