We'll start with the May 2018 comic, which was really an image from a drawing/brainstorming session at Of the Wild Preschool in Bridgeland.
This year, a few wonderful artists-in-residence contributed comics to the Ramsay Community newsletter, along with a few of my usual newsletter comics. I posted some of the 2018 comics on this blog, but I didn't get around to posting the rest. So, I'm hoping to amend that now, by putting up the last few missing 2018 comics here. Of course, you can also see them on the Ramsay Community Association website.
We'll start with the May 2018 comic, which was really an image from a drawing/brainstorming session at Of the Wild Preschool in Bridgeland.
The June comic was created by Aria, a youthful comics-artist-residence who's a student at Ramsay School. You can see her investigative inclinations are placing her on the right track for a career in comics journalism!
The July comic was contributed by Calgary artist Nicole Wolf, who's busy right now being the New Central Library's inaugural artist in residence (wow!!!). When I saw that Nicole had written this comic about a "chicken incident," it just seemed like a story well-suited to Ramsay, a neighbourhood with a long history of strong feelings about chickens. And, I loved Nicole's comic, too. Sorry it is a little bit hard to read in this online blog format.
Here is September's comic on "Ramsay at Night."
For the November newsletter, I compiled a few snippets from past Ramsay comics, over a 2-page spread: here they are!
And the last comic, wrapping up the 2018 newsletter comics artist-in-residence series, is a Christmas card by Calgary artist Al Gerritsen. I can't find much of Al's work online, but I did find a blog written by a visitor to his workshop, who posted some pictures of his wonderful work.
And that is the end of this story. Thanks Ramsay newsletter and Ramsay readers! Happy new year and see you in 2019!
Every month (just about), I write a comic for my community newsletter, and when I remember to do it, I post the comics here. I just took a look at my blog, and realized I've missed posting the past few comics. I'll have to remedy this, soon! Especially because a few of the 2018 Ramsay newsletter comics weren't actually by me, but were submitted by a few wonderful artists-in-residence who shared their own neighbourhood stories with Ramsay readers.
I'll post those missing comics sometime soon, but in the meantime, here's the October comic - featuring my friend Andrew. You can read more about Andrew here. See you in the neighbourhood!
It's time to share this month's Ramsay newsletter comic. This year, I've been inviting different artists to contribute a comic to the Ramsay newsletter, to continue the Ramsay comics series about life in my neighbourhood.
Presenting this month's artist-in-residence, Sharon Barrette!
Sharon is an artist based in Parksville, B.C. And this is her first comic!
I asked Sharon if she could send me something about life in her own community in B.C. Sharon paints pictures of the people, animals, and scenes in her life, and I thought she might send me a painting. I was surprised (and delighted) that she tried her hand at a comic. It doesn't show much about the physical setting of her neighbourhood, but instead takes a look at some characters and their interactions. And I love that it has a punchline - in a classic comics style that reminds me of Lynn Johnston's beloved Canadian comic For Better or For Worse.
Maybe you've seen Tom Wujec's talk on How to Make Toast. When people are asked to draw the steps involved in making toast, they come up with many different versions of the story: everything from sowing the wheat, baking the bread, fixing the toaster, smearing the jam, to eating the toast! The way they tell the story, and what they choose to tell about it, gives us some insight into the storyteller's perspective. I'm having fun seeing the different ways my Ramsay newsletter artists-in-residence tell their versions of a one-page neighbourhood story. I'm not surprised that Sharon's comic focuses on the people: she's a sociable person who's sincerely interested in what makes people tick. One of the original founders of the Inglewood Night Market back in 2013 (when she lived in Calgary), she's also a tireless volunteer who's passionate about helping people and enriching her community.
To see her work, you have to go to Parksville - there isn't much to be found online. But here's an article featuring her work for Nanaimo's 2016 Festival of Banners, as seen in the photo above!
Here's her Ramsay comic, "In My Hood."
It's the middle of March, and this month's Ramsay newsletter was delivered to Ramsay neighbourhood mailboxes a while back! I haven't had a chance until now, to post this month's newsletter comic here. This is the second in 2018's newsletter artist in residence series, introduced in last month's blog.
I met Phil at a Bob Dylan concert WAY back in the 1990's. It was only my third show, but he'd already seen Dylan dozens of times! Dylan was at the height of his "Neverending Tour." Fans came from all over the world to see Dylan, but a secondary benefit of coming out to a show was the opportunity to meet other people who shared the passion for the music. It was early internet days, and you couldn't make these kinds of connections online. You'd travel out to the concert venue and hang around early and late in hopes of running into those friends you'd seen before. You got to know the seasons and the hemispheres in which you'd be likely to find certain fans. And you'd have conversations you couldn't have anywhere else.
Ok, so I'm waxing all nostalgic about my days as a Bob Dylan groupie. Suffice to say, one of the friends I made on the road, was Phil, and although a love of Dylan's music was the initial connection between us, we quickly discovered we also shared a love of comics.
Comics Collectors vs. Comics Makers
And as Phil gently nudged me towards some comics education, others (myself included) were nudging Phil to make the shift from a comics reader to a comics maker. One of my favourites among Phil's self-published works is Drawing Crazy Patterns, a narrative about the so-called BobCats - the Dylan fans who met on the road, their paths crossing and diverging again, until the next show. I've been digging through boxes of comics and I couldn't find that particular one (argh, I know I have it somewhere) - but if you really want to see some comics about the Dylan fan scene, you could take a look at this old blog post of mine.
Hi everyone! As you know, if you've ever taken a look at this blog, I've been writing comics about life in my neighbourhood for a while. This year, I'm stepping away to work on a few other things. But I hated to leave the Ramsay newsletter readers without their monthly comic. So I thought I'd ask some creative people to contribute their own comics this year, instead. Hence, the Ramsay Newsletter Artist in Residence Series! (A fancy way of saying you'll be getting some surprise artworks in your monthly newsletter - which may or may not have anything to do with Ramsay!)
Here's the comic Eric kindly contributed to the newsletter, to start off 2018. What will be next? Wait and see! (Or, if you have a great suggestion - send it my way!)
Check out the whole Ramsay Community Newsletter, in all its volunteer-run glory! This month's issue features a story about creative Ramsayite Caitlynn Cummings! (Alas, the online version has not been posted at the time of writing, but stay tuned, it'll get there one of these days. Did I mention volunteer-run?)
Well, it's halfway through December, so I guess I'd better post my monthly Ramsay newsletter comic.
For those who don't know, I've been writing a comic strip for my community newsletter, for most of the last five years. This month's strip tells the story of how the whole thing got started. It's also the LAST ONE in the series. Yes, Wayne (neighbour who always teases me about my idle threats to stop writing the Ramsay comic), it's really the end. After such a long time, the Ramsay newsletter could use a change from my old stories, and I need a change, too. I'm hoping 2018 will be see some new creative projects. Stay tuned!
The comic may be done, but don't stop reading the Ramsay newsletter (which you can find online here, if you're not one of the lucky neighbours who gets this monthly publication in your mailbox). It has been, and continues to be, a cool collection of volunteer contributions, stories about life in the community, and announcements about awesome local businesses, services, and events. At a time when I keep hearing people talking about the failing state of local journalism, the Ramsay newsletter is an example of a local publication that's going strong! Thanks to the volunteers who work to put this together every month!
See you around, everybody!
love from sam
November's been off to such a busy start, I forgot to post my Ramsay newsletter comic for the month! Here you go! It's in three parts because the text is kind of small, and dividing the image up seems to help with the resolution.
If you'd like to listen to Bochum (you know you want to, now), here's a link to the song on Youtube. Enjoy!
See you soon, and keep an eye out for the December Ramsay newsletter comic - I've got something a bit special coming up.
Well, I haven't had much time for blogging this summer, but I'm back now to post this month's Ramsay newsletter comic, and talk about coffee shops while I'm at it!
Without further ado, here's the Ramsay comic, featuring the story of the 3 Sams and some news about a local event that's happening later TODAY! Read fast, and then head over to Caffe Rosso in Ramsay for the birthday celebration!
Learn more about Sam Mendoza's inspiring small business DITRO here.
So that was coffee shop #1. But just as I was posting this, I realized I have another coffee shop story too. One of the reasons I wasn't posting things online earlier this summer is because I took a trip to Germany, and while I was there, I visited the good old Cafe Extrablatt in Mainz.
For the past 10 years, Caffe Rosso in Calgary has been my neighbourhood go-to place for coffee, comraderie, and the place where I sit and get my work done. But before that, it was Cafe Extrablatt.
I used to be a flight attendant on Air Canada's Calgary-Frankfurt route, and every week for years I'd fly to Frankfurt and spend a day in Mainz (just outside Frankfurt) before heading back. On my layovers, I invariably headed to the Cafe Extrablatt to sit and write and draw and try to scheme up ideas for how I'd ever be able to stop flying and make my living doing something creative and artsy. In fact, the image from my blog header is from this old comic I wrote there.
Well, after a while the manager, Farid, noticed me drawing all the time and asked me if I'd draw a restaurant menu on their chalkboard. This turned into a good arrangement for all: chalk drawings for Extrablatt and a free meal for me!
I haven't been to Mainz for about five years, but when I went to Germany this summer with my son, we stayed in Mainz for one night and strolled past the old coffee shop in the main square. Imagine my amazement when I noticed an old chalk drawing menu was still up on their wall!! Here's a picture (courtesy of my son, who missed the top half of the chalkboard - but you get the idea).
I drew that picture in 2002 -- what's it still doing up there!!??
Anyway, I'm raising my coffee cup to both these good old coffee shops, Extrablatt and Rosso, while I drink my coffee this morning. And if you need another cup of coffee, here's an old blog post about my adventures drawing a picture of "a day in the life" at the Coventry Hills Good Earth Coffeehouse here in Calgary. And here's a page about coffee from my old drawing book, too, from back when I lived in Toronto a really long time ago. That's another story.
It's about time for me to post this comic, my April strip for the Ramsay newsletter. April's more than halfway over!
I've been writing about Mayor Nenshi's initiative, 3 Things for Canada. I chose three acts of service that I wanted to do for Canada this year, and of course all of them have something to do with comics. In a previous blog post, I mentioned the first of my 3 Things: I've been working on organizing a panel discussion at the Calgary Comics Expo about Canadian independent comics. That's coming up soon, on April 29th. You can read about it here!
My second thing is something I've been doing for a while already in 2017: writing comics about inspiring things happening in my own community. I'm looking for true stories about people who are helping Canada to be a country to be proud of. This kind of started with my Ramsay comic strip in December 2016 when I wrote about "why we need neighbours," and I'll be looking for opportunities to keep writing about this throughout the year.
When I heard this story from my neighbour Nolene, who works at the Ginger Group, I thought it was just the kind of thing I wanted to write about. She was gracious enough to let me turn it into a comic. Here you go!
The latest comic strip about life in my quiet Calgary neighbourhood appears here, against the backdrop of a rising tide of world events that I'm struggling to keep up with. When I started writing comics about Ramsay, I didn't imagine that politics - local, to say nothing of global - would really ever be a big part of the story. But once again, I'm finding the line between the events on my own street, and the events "out there" in what my dad used to call the Great World, to be indistinguishable. It's all part of the same story.
When I drew this comic a week or two ago, I decided to write about an initiative launched recently by our Mayor Naheed Nenshi as part of Canada's 150th anniversary celebration (otherwise known as our sesquicentennial). You can read about "3 Things for Canada" in the comic strip below (and click on the link to see the website for this project. This is something you'll want to be part of!).
But right now "3 Things for Canada" feels like a small contribution to make, to a country that needs much more. Last night,six people were killed in a terrorist attack at a mosque in Quebec City.
Just prior to this tragic event, I had been heartened to see Canada's politicians, almost without exception, asserting Canada's commitment to a diverse and inclusive society, one that welcomes refugees regardless of faith or ethnicity, in contrast to Donald Trump's recent Executive Order. Here are just a couple of statements I was proud to see:
Today, after the tragic events in Quebec, the work of Canada's leaders becomes even more difficult. And this brings me back to Mayor Nenshi, whose response to the Quebec shootings can be read in full here:
My heart doesn’t break because I am Muslim.
And that brings us to 3 Things for Canada - three acts of service to our nation that can build bridges, heal, celebrate, and reaffirm what it means to be a Canadian today.
First, a little history about how this got started - with 3 Things for Calgary.
I am a graphic recorder based in Calgary. I like local stories. I write comics when I have free time. And I leave eraser shavings everywhere I go.
Looking for a
Some nice things people said about my work:
“If Breitkreuz and Foong [founders of the Calgary Comics & Entertainment Expo] represent the Type-A side of Calgary's self-publishing community, Hester may be the community's right brain.” – Tom Babin, FFWD Magazine
“…A strong graphic style similar to other autobiographically-inclined Canadian cartoonists like Chester Brown and Julie Doucet.” – Gilbert Bouchard, Edmonton Journal
The 23rd Story: an indie comics creator's tales of life in Calgary