Sunday, November 27, 2011

From the Beginning, Part 3: University and Beyond

Still with me? Onto the most recent chapter of my drawing adventures.

First off, I regret to say I don't have any pictures of my Dairy Queen cake creations. Wish I'd taken a picture! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I became the resident cake artist and was often allowed full afternoons to sit out back drawing with those tubes of coloured gel. People would come in with something in a paper bag and lean in to say, in hushed tones, "Word on the street is that you can draw anything on a cake."

Once I was called in to draw on a big slab cake on my day off. They didn't pay me, but said I could 'order anything on the menu' (cheap so-and-sos). I ordered the biggest meal and made the most gigantic brownie sundae I could eat!

In university, I had a small group of good friends for whom I would often draw large cartoon birthday cards and have the others sign. The cards would always pertain to some inside joke or adventure that I didn't want them to forget --usually with my artistic license, of course. For instance, in the cartoon below, my friend didn't actually get hit by the car; just lightly backed into. But I like my version better.

I was commissioned to design t-shirts for pub crawls and even a stagette. Here are a few of the Ghosts of Pub Crawls Past I dug up. One was for a friend who was in IT. The pub crawl was on St. Paddy's Day, hence the leprechauns sitting on the computer. The second was for my Bachelor of Education class's Pub Crawl Tour (we were the role models of tomorrow, after all; the words "Pub Crawl" were not permitted, while "Pub Tour" apparently gave an illusion of mature, sensible behaviour).

It was always such a delight to see a roomful of people, often whom I didn't know, wearing my design! I had to restrain myself from being nerdy and exclaim "I drew your shirt!" to everyone I met.

After I graduated, I began my career as a substitute teacher. It was definitely an adventure! 6 a.m. calls from a mystery school, teaching a mystery grade and mystery subject. The bright, shiny faces of kids trying to size you up. Definitely not a dull job, and definitely lots of cartoon material. I drew a cartoon named "Sink the Sub" for the Nova Scotia Teachers' magazine, Aviso. It won the "Golden Leaf Award" from the Canadian Educational Press Association, so technically I would be allowed to put "Award-Winning Cartoonist" on my business card!

Here is one of my cartoons on 'subbing':

I was not making much of this up. I must've had 'born yesterday' on my forehead. I did have some good memories, though; one day I was in a hurry getting out the door after getting a last-minute call, and I put my sweater on inside out. A 9-year-old took me aside to point it out, and then reassured me by saying, "don't worry. I do it all the time." Kids are awesome.

Teaching was a great avenue for me to use my drawing skills. I could illustrate songs and spend many an indoor recess drawing things for the kids. I had to Google some of their requests at times. I became a pro at Sonic the Hedgehog and Iron Man.

I also taught cartooning workshops for students in grades 3 to 6. A few wouldn't return after learning the class wasn't about learning to draw Stewie Griffin and Homer Simpson, but overall the classes were usually well-received. If only I could have that kind of rapt attention all the time! Here's a "Cartooning Tips" excerpt from one of my original handouts.

"Holy poop, you're good!" - A satisfied grade 6 cartooning workshop student
I was going to continue onto present day, but I'll leave that for next time. Have a good weekend!

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