Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

NOTES from March 13 meeting; SPEAKER John Martz

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 5:21 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

NOTES from March 13th, 2019 meeting; SPEAKER John Martz

WELCOME: President Sharon Jennings welcomed a large turnout for a chilly March break evening.

Sharon thanked the volunteers in the room tonight: Holly Main, Michele Nidenoff, Cathy Rondina, Theo Heras, Patricia Storms, Bill Swan, Rita Bates, Gillian O’Reilly, Jennifer Maruno, Jennifer Mook-Sang, Rod Murphy, Anne Laurel Carter, Loretta Garbutt and reminded everyone that CANSCAIP has one part-time staff person: Administrative Director Helena Aalto. 


NOTICE of CANSCAIP Annual General Meeting:  Members and Friends of CANSCAIP are invited to attend and vote at our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre.                                       

Helena Aalto noted that the much-anticipated annual Writing for Children Competition is now open. The entry deadline is May 31, 2019. Please see our website for all the details. CANSCAIP had a record-breaking number of entries last year. The competition is so popular because everyone who enters gets feedback from at least the first round of readers. At the end, the finalists/winners go to editors at Annick Press/KidsCan Press/Scholastic for feedback. Pencils sharpened and at the ready!

Packaging Your Imagination 2019 is on Saturday, October 26, and we're back at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. Our morning keynote speaker is Itah Sadu, and Jan Thornhill will give The Claire Mackay Memorial Lecture closing keynote.

Book launches: We’ve had many lately and CANSCAP is very happy to send out an e-blast. We send an initial blast, then a reminder the day before the event. This is a nice service CANSCAIP offers so please take advantage.


Aina Anto, illustrator for The Moon Watched it All, picture book (text by Shelley A. Leedahl) for ages 8-12, Red Deer Press, February 2019. A poetic story about companionship after loneliness, and new connections after loss. 

Ashley Barron, author/illustrator for Love You Head to Toe, Owlkids Books, March 2019. It explores the many ways babies can remind us of baby animals. 

Ashley Barron, illustrator for My Forest is Green, written by Darren LeBeuf, KidsCan Press, April 2019. A young artist finds inspiration in his urban forest and brings the feel of that forest inside his home using whatever art supplies he has on hand. 

Elizabeth MacLeod, Meet Tom Longboat, non-fiction for ages 6 to 10. Scholastic Canada, published January 2019, tells the story of an Onandaga runner who was the world’s top marathoner 100 years ago. Readers find out how he became such a speedy runner, why he gave it all up to serve in World War II and how Ontario celebrates Tom Longboat each year. 

Elizabeth MacLeod and Frieda Wishinsky, How to Become an Accidental Genius, non-fiction for ages 9 to 12, Orca Books, April 2019. Some of the world’s most important discoveries and inventions have been made by accident. The book includes biographies of more than 60 inventors and scientists and is organized into chapters such as “Pay Attention,” “Make Connections” and “Be Persistent” to give tips to kids on how they can become accidental geniuses.

Jennifer Maruno announced that she went to McDonald’s and found Jennifer Mook-Sang’s book Captain Monty Takes the Plunge in her Happy Meal. What a wonderful side to her hamburger!

SPEAKER: John Martz

Patricia Storms introduced speaker (and friend) John Martz. John is a cartoonist and illustrator from Toronto. He worked in graphic design and television before following his true love of books and comics, and has been drawing cartoons and illustrations professionally for fifteen years. John’s career in books is inspired by childhood favourites such as Richard Scarry, Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee, as well as comic strips like Peanuts. John lives in Toronto where he is the Art Director at Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers and Tundra Books. His work has also been in MAD Magazine, and at The Nib.

John told us that he found his way into kids publishing through his love of children’s books. He shared with us his first comic for Canadian Notes and Queries and his early attributes for illustration and ideas where he created a Robertson Davies’ comic. John chose his favourite scene from Fifth Business for the comic.

John calls himself a library nerd, and it was in libraries that he found books about illustrations and comics, which brought him to picture books. Machine Gum comics began as improvisational exercises because he enjoys playing with the form of comics – “you are tricked into following the panels in a different order.”

John’s first picture book was Dear Flyary, KidsCan Press, 2012. A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories play with the readers expectation of how we read comics. (Koyama Press)

In Evie and the Truth About Witches, John used his favourite Frog and Toad story as a starting point of format and size and the amount of text per page. He wanted to tell a ghost story that didn’t have a happy ending. John joined Tundra as their art director after How to Give your Cat a Bath was accepted.

With Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein, written by Linda Bailey, John created the art design in collaboration with Julia Sarda the illustrator. “I wanted the right level of darkness and beauty.”

John took us through the process of designing a new cover when Tundra re-released a 20th anniversary version of Richard Scrimger’s The Nose from Jupiter. John roughed out a new cover by using existing art, then did some mock ups from other illustrators. He ended up with a drawing of a nose as a small space ship with a Martian inside and engine thrusts from the nostrils. Great way to make something old look new again.

John keeps his fingers in many pies and also does political cartoons/Mad magazine/interactive ipad books, type design and has made fonts for other cartoonists along with greeting cards for Hallmark. Then there is that wonderful music video for Jim Guthrie’s song, Monsters.

John Created a video game through @tea.caf, which was exhibited at TIFF KIDS. You can also find some of his fab work at:

Best quote from John: “Art and culture is about empathy and connecting with people. It is more than just art – commerce keeps it moving. They don’t always agree with each other.” He finished with “it’s all in the mix and he is still learning.“

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