Carl Wiens
May 2011
It's the Pictures that got Small

I've been illustrating spots for Vancouver magazine's Panorama section for the past four years. In today's market, that's like a lifetime. Happy to report we are still going strong. It's like a roulette wheel of random topics, with a universal range of subjects covered.
These run at about 1" square, so there is always a premium of distilling images down to their simplest form. It's the kind of discipline that keeps you sharp.

Next on the list is the Art of Rough Housing. Having raised two boys relatively unscathed, I consider myself to be a bit of an authority on the subject. 'Rasling was always a favorite after-dinner activity with the lads when they were toddlers and I always allowed them the priviledge of pinning me for the count. When I was handed this manuscript, I realized there were levels of Rough Housing that I had never considered. These are well-planned, creative physical activities to engage in with your kids.
Too many kids are sheltered to the point of becoming sedentary. This book gets you to move and have fun with your kids. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is held at the Central Library every May. I've been attending with my son Jacob for the past couple of years. It's an incredibly intense pooling of talent. I started out as a cartoonist and walking through this event is humbling and awe-inspiring at the same time.
Chris Ware, Jillian Tamaki ( who did this year's poster), Chester Brown and Michael Cho, to name a few, were amongst the exhibitors this year.
Toronto is a central hub for a lot of independent comic publishers. What I love about this festival is that its focus is on the indies and not the traditional muscle-bound underwear clad superheroes. And hey - it's free, too! This year's festival is a bit crowded, the first floor of the library is undergoing renovations, so the attendance was elbow to elbow.
I ran into Aaron Leighton, drawing on a huge mural with Trio Magnus behind the winding central staircase.

My find of the day was Even the Giants by Jesse Jacobs (Adhouse Books), beautiful and hypnotic drawings. I also had a great time seeing PEC Comix Jam collaborator Niall Eccles and his Character of the Day exhibit, who designed a 3-D poster to commemorate the event.
Last year we went Sunday, it was much less crowded and there was a lot more opportunity to talk with the artists. If you are in Toronto, it is a must-see event.

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