Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Dead Dule — 400th Post


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters had to have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the next few weeks I will post the student’s original character and me version that I gave to them.


Villain 02 – Dead Dule


Many of the students wanted to copy popular movies and comics of the time for their ideas. I have no problem with it, I feel that at least they are making the effort and hopefully it inspires some imagination. This student’s villain is obviously modeled after Deadpool, yet he did come up with unique super abilities; super speed & telekinesis.   He was very active in choosing his powers and on many occasions I would hear him debating with others how his character would hold up against another characters.

I took the student’s original drawing and simply drew him in an action pose and coloured him like the popular comic character. The only thing I did not draw in his character, and other characters, were the guns. Unlike swords, knives or bows, guns are very prevalent in our society and with the resent incidents of gun violence I decided to not draw him holding guns. Yet he does have them on his person, a compromise I made with the students.

I showed the student his character and he was happy with it. I hope you enjoy the second character from Heroes VS. Villains – Dead Dule.


Student’s Original – Dead Dule


Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Lord Ominous

Getting and finding inspiration is extremely difficult at the best of times. Yet I have been very fortunate to work with some people who push and inspire me every time I am with them, the students. No matter what I may think of what they may have in store for me, the students throw those plans out the window and make up some new plans.

That was very clear when I did a drawing club with the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills that they bring to the class. Within the class, I helped them to learn how to draw three-dimensional objects but mostly how to draw in the style of popular comic book characters. We drew Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and even some Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse.
They did a wonderful job with their creations and so close to the end of our time together I gave them a final assignment. I asked them what would they like to draw as a group theme? I suggested, superheroes, Greek gods, comic book characters, animals, mythical creatures, etc. They decided to create superheroes, therefore I instructed them to create their own superhero or villain in the comic book style. They actually wanted me to draw their character for them. They would describe it and then I would draw it. I said, “No way. I wanted to see what they could do and how creative they can be when it comes to creating a character from scratch, including their powers.”
They kept on asking me to create their character from them, then I said, “Ok, I will draw their character, however I needed their drawing first as a guide to help me with my drawing.” They said they could just tell me and I said, “No it takes time to draw these characters and I cannot do it with the hour we had.” So they agreed and created their own characters with up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me on creating a wide range of characters.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting some of my finished characters inspired by the students’ imagination and creations.

Villain 01 – Lord Ominous

I decided to start of the creative process with my own character.   I took a character I created from another class when we created a comic book with superheroes and villains. My character is a villain. Not just any villain but the leader of the Legion of Doom; Lord Ominous. I drew him as a cross between an ancient Spartan warrior and Lord Vader from Star Wars. His weapon of choice is a Scottish Claymore, not to mention a pair of Colt 45s.

The students inundated me with questions about him. I showed them the comic book my other class and I created. In it, it shows that he was genetically created from DNA samples taken from the League of Justice (good guys) and the Legion of Doom (bad guys). The Legion of Doom wanted to create a new super villain leader with all their powers to lead them against the good guys. His powers included, accelerated healing, super intelligence and strength, advanced combat skills, telepathy and telekinesis. They asked why did he need weapons if he had super powers? I told them, “He’s a super villain and he does not play by the rules. He will take any advantage he can to win. Also it makes him look menacing.” Which they thought it did.

I hope you enjoy the first character from Heroes VS. Villains – Lord Ominous.

Comic Strips: Double The Fun


The latest instalment of The Craziest Things has been sent out and with it a wish that many have had at least once in their lives.

Many of us do not have an identical twin but sometimes we wish we did. We’d imagine tricking our parents or others with simple little jokes or trying to double our chances of getting more stuff. The Weasly twins from the Harry Potter series, played by James Phelps and Oliver Phelps, stir up our imagination on what mischief we can get into if we had a twin to back us up. At the school we have several identical twins yet I have never had an opportunity to draw them into my comic strip until know.

Quit simply it’s a scenario that many of us without an identical twin would love to have. Well, at least once in a while. Yet if you look closely there is something that does differentiate the twins from each other besides the colour of their shirts.  I wonder if you can spot it.  

I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; Double The Fun.

Art Inspiration: Take A Risk Or Not To Take A Risk



‘We have to take risks with art. If we don’t, it all becomes a bit boring.’ Julie Walters


I am currently teaching a drawing club at the school for the afterschool students who are interested. I began with the basics of drawing and I even taught them how to write with cursive and calligraphy letters. However, they are interested in drawing superheroes and cartoon characters so I began teaching them how. Yet interestingly I found that when I was showing them how to draw some superheroes, I noticed that my drawings were more on the conservative side.

A colleague pointed it out to me when I drew Wonder Woman for a lesson. I drew her skinny, with small breasts and hips. I already know that but I did not realize that I sub-consciously did it. I redrew the character the way I would for myself and there was a bit of a difference. I made her curvier, with larger breasts and hips. Mind you the first attempt took me 20 – 30 minutes to create where the second took me about 60 minutes. You can see the difference in the images below.
Yet the interesting thing was that I would normally draw Wonder Woman version 2 for myself, but I think because I was drawing it for the students I did version 1. Perhaps it’s because in the past whenever I would draw the female form, many people (female colleagues) thought that what I drew was too provocative. However I would not draw them the same way  they would in comic books but more like version 2, therefore I felt that I was being judged too harshly.
I could have taught the students how to draw version 2, yet I guess I just did not want to hear the “whining” from those people, so I just drew the female character of Wonder Woman like version 1. In the end the students were the ones that suffered because I played it safe.
Art is not about playing it safe, it’s about taking risks. I love taking risks with art, it makes me feel alive and one with my true self. However this has made me do some deep thinking; we usually take risks when we feel safe. Answering a question in class knowing we won’t be made fun of if we get it wrong. Trying out for a team knowing we won’t be laughed at if we don’t make the play.  Safe from ridicule and judgment.  I wonder what does it mean when I draw version 1 instead of version 2. I guess actions do speak louder than words.

Here’s to taking risks.

Comic Strips: Global Excuses



With the New Year comes the latest edition of the monthly newsletter and with it the February instalment of The Craziest Things.

Every child, they want to wear has become an even more prevalent. Showing ones’ individual style has become an obsession with people and it has trickled down to children as well. Students in the fourth and fifth grade are beginning to assert their own preference or style even at this early age. Some even use external forces to make their point.

In Toronto Canada, we have seen some mild winters in the past few years. This has not been unnoticed by the students. On many occasions I have reminded students to wear their hats and mittens and even their jackets. Yet I know once my head is turned, off the jacket comes, therefore I don’t bother any more. I have adapted the belief that Mother Nature is a much better teacher on what to wear then I will ever be. Some times Mother Nature throws a curve ball at the students and they take full advantage.  

I hope you enjoy my attempt at political satire of, The Craziest Things; Global Excuses.


Friday Two Cents: I Found My Why



This past week I have been looking into myself, to do a lot of self-reflecting and a constant question that kept coming back was, ‘Why do I do what I do?’ You see I am a certified teacher and I have been looking for a teaching position for about a year and a half. I have been to a few interviews and I have been told, by a school board, that I am on the list to get onto the occasional teaching list but nothing has happened. I have not been able to get a straight answer from them and I have been questioning why I should be part of an organization that puts little value into new ideas or people. That is why I have been looking to other school boards to see if I can find a fit.

Yet many of the school boards have the same beliefs as many others. They want to support the students, help them grow, fulfil their potential, etc. But what makes one different from the other. Then I started to think that it was not the boards but myself that is different. What do I offer? How do I teach or connect to people? Why do I want to teach? Then this idea of why kept coming back to me. Why? Why should I continue with this field? Why do I want to teach? Why am I doing all this? Why do I do what I do?


The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle

I continued to reflect about this question of why when I remembered about an idea that Simon Sinek talked about, he calls it ‘The Golden Circle’. It has three circles within one another; what is the outside circle, how is the middle and why is at the centre. He talked about how many companies and people do things starting from the outside in, where the real innovative companies and people start from the inside out. This started me thinking, so I broke it down.


What   – what is it you do? What is it you want to do?

How    – how do you do it? How do you do what you do?

Why    – what is your purpose, what is your cause?


The first two were easy to figure out; what – I am a teacher; how – I have a different teaching style than many. I teach through play, through interacting with students. Yet why was a bit more difficult to pin point. Then it hit me while I was preparing a permission form for a drawing club I would be offering.
I started thinking about why was I doing this club. Its extra work, and I have to prepare many different things on top of my regular responsibilities. So why I do it? Then it hit me, art is my passion; I love it. Creating something from nothing brings me joy beyond compare. Then I found my WHY; teaching is my passion, my cause is helping others discover something new. That’s my WHY.
Yet that is only the beginning. Now that I have discovered this why, I have to put things into practice. I need to present myself from the centre circle out. I need to start with my why. I know it won’t be easy putting it into practice; it is a matter of disciple and courage.   But at least I found my why, and that’s a good start.

Art Inspiration: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures


I recently was able to experience a wondrous exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It is a testament to human ingenuity and the human spirit. The exhibit featured gothic miniature prayer beads made of boxwood called, Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures.

These amazing pieces of art were hand crafted beads created in the 16th century using simple tools that depicted scenes from Christianity. Many would depict the crucifixion of Jesus and other stories from his life and the bible. However the most spectacular aspect of these miniatures is that they can fit in the palm of your hand and yet show such detail that is would boggle your mind. I cannot successfully put into words the shear level of workmanship and detail put into these beautiful pieces of art. Thankfully I was able to take some photos of some of the miniatures.


Warning: these pieces can all fit in your hands and were created 500 years ago out of wood that was as hard as marble, using simple tools. Prepared to be amazed.    


If you get an opportunity to see these pieces I strongly suggest you make the effort. The other aspect of the exhibit is that they have a virtual reality (VR) section where you can take a VR tour inside one of these miniatures. It was remarkable. You are able to see every detail that the artist put into every millimetre of these pieces. From the outside of the bead, to the many layers within. The exhibit is at the AGO in Toronto until January 22, 2017 and them it goes on tour to New York and then Amsterdam. Below is a link to the AGO Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures site if you would like to know more.


AGO Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures

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